The latest installment of Kemi Adetiba’s ‘King of Boys’ showed Nigerians and the world watching what happens when fantastic storytelling and directing meets great costume designing. Magic, that’s what.
Besides the award-winning display of artistry by the cast of the movie, what stood out for most fans were the costume designs. It had fans skimming through the end credits just to know the name behind the designs of their favourite looks.
The release of the movie series ushered in a barrage of much deserved praises for celebrity designer and CEO of Tiannah’s Empire, Toyin Lawani who designed and styled most of the best pieces worn by the actors on set.
Born March 1st 1982 in Ekiti State to a politician father and an entrepreneurial mother, Toyin Lawani showed her talent for entrepreneurship at a young age, following in her mother’s footsteps.
She attended Opral Benson Beauty Training Institute in Lagos and also obtained a diploma at Los Angeles Fashion School where she properly began her fashion journey.
Toyin’s daring and bold fashion choices and designs established her as a fashion risk taker and icon amongst her peers in the industry. Over the years, she has styled several influential celebrities both local and international. She has grown to be one of the top leading designers in the country and has designed outfits for celebrities like Banky W, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Keri Hilson, Ciara amongst others.
Speaking with Netng on her inspiration for the designs on ‘King of Boys’, Toyin notes her study of the main character, Eniola Salami.
“The Inspiration for my styling on King of Boys was from my artistic point of view of the character – Eniola Salami. Powerful, classy and tough”
Although she got called in late to style several characters of the show including Sola Sobowale, Charly Boy, RMD and Ojagba, Toyin knew she had to bring her A game.
With just two weeks to prepare and quite a number of outfits to design in such little time, Toyin had to revisit some of her old creations and take a few ideas from it. She mixed it with fashion forward ideas, sketched, illustrated and went through approval and colour charts before the real work could commence.
Toyin Lawani had to use what little time she had to embrace the characters, read and dissect every script to help come up with creations that fit right into each scene. She had to create designs that expressed Eniola Salami’s tough and royal presence in the movie, by taking inspiration from her Rich Aunty Vibes Collection and mixing it up with royal avant-garde pieces. Speaking with Netng on her work synergy with Kemi Adetiba and the team, Toyin tells Netng
“totally enjoyed working with Kemi Adetiba and her team. Extremely professional and well detailed, you gotta give it to her. I know I’m also a director but Kemi knows her onions.”
It took Toyin two weeks to create the whole wardrobe for Eniola salami, RMD, Charly Boy and Ojagba. She also styled Toni Tones’ outfit when what the actress originally had wasn’t working and they eventually had to outsource the costume to an Aso Oke company on set.
One of Toyin’s memorable pieces while working on the project was the lion head robe she created for Charly Boy, made with real human hair. The designer continued to pour encomiums on Kemi Adetiba who let her do her thing.
“I’m glad Kemi let me do my thing, she said I want you to be Tiannah, the queen of creativity, bring your craziness I won’t stop you, you have no boundaries”.
Working on the project wasn’t a seamless and easy affair as people would think. Toyin had a prior project she was also working on at the same time. To be able to deliver her best on both projects, she had to split her Tiannah’s Empire team of 20 in two, to each work on different locations.
The back and forth between both projects was overwhelming for the designer but she prevailed.
In the end, Toyin created a total of 40 outfits for the character Eniola Salami. Though not all were used, she is proud of the work they put in.