The whole idea for the A Leap of Style summer collection started with a garden party, so it was only fitting to launch its latest styles on a mild Sunday afternoon in the manicured yard of the Gite Gallery.
Accompanied by the jazzy sounds of Leybon, models emerged at the top of a back staircase and continued around the impromptu L-shaped runway, clad in relaxed, flowing silhouettes that exuded classic summer comfort refined and enlivened by designer Karissa Lindsay's use of colorful, graphic prints inspired by traditional African textiles.
"Something I'm learning is that I'm really attracted to bold, colorful prints. A lot of people are inspired by contemporary African prints, but they do it in neutrals. I'm inspired by the colors," says Lindsay. "Right after I launched my last collection I had a vision of a garden party outside, which led me to asking, 'What would someone wear?' 'Which celebrities would be influencers?' I jumped backwards to the '50s with Dorothy Dandridge and Katherine Hepburn and their menswear-style pieces."
Alongside dresses with a spectrum of hemlines, Lindsay's pants in particular were a hit, designed with the loose shape of a palazzo pant combined with the structure of a trouser at the waistline.
Following her successful Kickstarter campaign last year, Lindsay included three outfits in her show that were co-designed with backers who pledged at least $1,000, from a yellow silk blazer design to a flowing maxi dress that showcased another vibrant print lacing up the open back.
"We love the fact that Karissa uses fabrics from the motherland," said gallery owner Lloyd Gite on why the label and the gallery were a natural fit for the event. Lindsay says she strives to source for fabrics from Africa as much as possible, but that many of the textiles that we think of as African are actually printed in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands.
"I get that there's a history there between things that are made in Europe and sold in Africa and sometimes I don't want to play into that," says Lindsay.