Bola Adamolekun’s Gele hut is a fusion of nods to Africa, womanhood, fashion and architecture. We know what a hut is. But what is “(a) gele”?
Well it is often said that a “woman’s crowning glory is her hair” or something to that effect. However if you are a African woman you have an alternative of your “gele” (or head-tie) if you so choose to beautifully crown head. Geles are Africa’s (and if you like fashion’s) answer to origami and show extreme creative prowess. It also draws parallels with the Indian sari.
Your gele, just like your hairstyle is a form of individual expression for you as a woman. Tongues were set wagging when Princess Beatrice appeared at the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in what is now referred to as “Princess Beatrice’s ridiculous Royal Wedding hat”. I struggle to see what the fuss was all about. It is a big shame there were no smart African women present to grace the occasion, then the poison tongues of the fashion press and blogosphere would have had something to really wag their about!
With her piece, the Gele Hut, Adamolekun splices fashion with architecture. Her sculpture and pottery is informed by fantasy. This is fantasy in all its forms be it western childhood fairy tales or the exuberance of the African romance with colour and expression. With the Gele Hut she echoes the pace set by that man known as “the architect of fashion”. Gianfranco Ferre famously used a training and background in architecture to inform his fashion.