I have long been a fan of Mille Collines. Their designs have a clean, modern appeal, with simplistic yet carefully shaped garments that have a sophisticated-meets-carefree feel. I’ve been drooling over their runway shows and statement pieces for ages, but I’ve recently been introduced to their Essentials line, an equally desirable collection of comfortable pieces for everyday wear, combined with striking details like print inserts and liners, applique patterns and statement jewellery.
Mille Collines is created between three countries: Rwanda where the workshop in Kigali creates most of their fashion items and signature sisal and pewter jewellery, Kenya where their leather goods are crafted and craftsmen and -women do the beading, and South Africa where they have found new partner workshops to create the label’s knits.
Their designs speak to women who love to look stylish and feminine, but still be comfortable. The lines are fluid, the fit comfortable and feminine, and the look urban and cool yet unmistakably African.
“Our Essentials line has grown into our biggest range. It speaks to the everyday comfort and versatility of our clients and has its roots in the origin of the Mille Collines aesthetic: clean shapes with statement African wax fabrics, applique, motifs or accessories,” says Mille.
The fabrics are comfortable, breathable pure cotton yarns, jersey and viscose –fabrics that are easy to care for but that won’t lose their shape.
While the fabrics may have been chosen partly for their practical nature, the garments themselves are designed for the woman who is not afraid to be herself in a changing world.
“With all our collections we celebrate the woman of Africa, the woman who juggles work and family, and who has a passion for her community and uses her strength for change. Tailored suits, refined silhouettes, 3D beading and elegant eveningwear reflect her many sides,’ says Mille.
Because of this you’re bound to find a piece within your price range, with garments ranging from R400 to R1800.
The Mille Collines team consists of designer Namnyak Odupoy, the latest addition to the Mille Collines team. Raised on Masai land, she left to pursue a career in fashion. Today she works with Mille to select fabrics, colours and applique. Collines is the creative director and conceptualises the collections. Mille’s role is to decide what will work for their clients and to ensure that they do not stray from the Mille Collines character and ethos. Together they were shortlisted for the designer of the year award in the Kenya Fashion Awards in September this year
You can purchase the collection at millecollinesafrica.com