3 Tips When Dressing For A Creative & Commercial Job


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Over a month ago, I left Berlin to work in the marketing communications department of a Nigerian company.  Apart from dealing with the usual hullabaloo that arises when moving continents, I was faced with a recurring female-prone problem-  What The Dickens To Wear.

In Berlin, my freelance fashion lifestyle means I can wear pretty much wear what I want; so entering a job and country where Fashion-wise: I had to mind my Ps  and Qs had me a bit on edge.  Especially, as the bulk of my wardrobe is in London, Berlin and Lagos…

I also had the challenge of working out how to play the balancing game when working for a job that was neither wholly corporate nor entirely creative.  One day I am working in a relaxed environment with the graphic designer on images and design, the next I’m acting as an ambassador for the brand at various events where a degree of formality is required.   Hmmm, how to marry the two worlds in a harmonious stylish union?

Fast forward the weeks and I think I have it sussed out, and I wanted to share my tips for the women out there who have had the same predicament.

3 Tips When Dressing For Your Creative & Commercial Job

1) Invest in a ‘stand out’ tailored garment

???????????????????????????????For me, this is a  blazer.  Blazers with interesting details like structured, patterned lapels, statement buttons et al, tend to lack the stuffiness of their older more corporate ‘Suit Jacket Sister’.

Topping my casual outfits with a blazer instantly takes my ensemble down a more chic route, which then allows me to relax my outfit with statement accessories as seen below.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????2) Play The Balancing Game With Accessories

ifb20Statement accessories are my everything but when I am doing this job, I can’t go as balls out with my jewellery as I normally do.  However because my job isn’t strictly an office nine to five, I can wear the odd one or two statement pieces, which I balance out with more ‘low profile’ accessory pieces.  I also ensure that my statement accessories are eye-catching but sophisticated, so I still look professional.

For instance, my vintage snake belt does have that Look At Me factor, but my more subtle nude toned footwear helps to tame my look.


3) Coordinate Your Colour Scheme With Care

???????????????????????????????The monochromatic effect of black and white has the power to tame otherwise seemingly edgy/racy fabrics like leather and lace, as seen above.

??????????????????????????????? If I do want to wear a print garment with a bold pop of colour, counterbalancing it with a somber hue like black helps to reign the outfit in.

???????????????????????????????And there we have it! Do you have any more tips to add?  Have you discovered more stylish winning formulae for nailing it with your job outfits?  Do tell, I’d love to know!

Short Afro Heroes



How could I have neglected my Short Afro Heroes?  With not a moment to lose, here are the ladies with short Afro hair, inspiring me to no end.

1. Make It Pop



2. Dancing On Air



3. Conversation-Starter Neck Candy



4. Vivid Blue

sa45. Sunglasses To Cruise In



6. Eazy Breezy Style



It’s hard for me to pick my favourite, though I do have my Wow shot: the image of the girl leaping in the air.  Isn’t it magnificent that she has such an immaculate extension and yet keeps such a calm face?  Her hair style may not be the funkiest and does not scream, ‘Look At Me!!’- but what she can do…her talent… that’s what stays in mind.

Who gets your vote?


Why Are There Not More Black African Editors Sitting At The Top Of Leading African Fashion Publications?



Why are there not more black African editors sitting at the top of leading African fashion publications?

Now that’s a loaded question. Let me make some important clarifications here:

1)When I say sitting at the top, I mean: Editor in Chiefs and Senior Editors.

2) The sector of Africa I am focusing on is Nigeria.

3) In this context, leading African fashion publications refers to magazines whose pages reflect high international fashion (of both African based and internationally based African designers).  I am also referring to magazines that sell internationally and whose content, circulation and printing standards sit comfortably next to high circulation international magazines like Glamour, Elle, iD, Nylon and the like.

So my fellow Nigerians this cuts out magazines like Genevieve, Style Mania, FAB and the like.  That being said, props to them.

4) My opinions are strictly based on what I have seen and experienced in my ten year career working across the African and international fashion editorial scene.  If you have the facts and figures to contradict what I have to say below.  I am more than interested to read them and learn.

5) I am specifically referring to the African/Nigerian fashion editorial sector.

So why do I ask this question?  It’s a question, I’ve wanted to ask for years actually, but what triggered me to put this topic on blast, was my experience when travelling to Port Harcourt using Arik airlines (a leading Nigerian flight brand, that flies internationally). Arik airlines have an ‘award-winning’ inflight magazine called, ‘Wings’.  As well as flight related content, Wings also reports on music, lifestyle, social events and fashion (unsurprisingly, the focus here is African fashion). Fabulous.  On one of my previous trips, I noticed the editor of the fashion section was the same lady who was the Oga Kpata Kpata editor of ARISE.  She’s based in London, she is Caucasian.  I smiled when I saw this, as I could understand Arik’s Content Marketing strategy.

Due to her years heading ARISE’s (arguably, the best independent high fashion magazine to come out of Nigeria/Africa) editorial department, this lady became one of the leading ambassadors of African fashion. Consequently, it gives Arik credibility and relevance if she writes for Arik.  But by my fourth trip and fourth time of picking up four different editions of Wings and seeing this lady’s name attached to the fashion editorial sections, I began to get confused and irritated.  At this point, I must say that: if someone does the research, it may come to pass that this lady has not written all the fashion articles in Wings.  However, like I said, I am basing this article on my experiences and it so happens that with the sporadic Arik flights I have taken: hers is the name I’ve seen.

Are you telling me that Wings cannot source professional and successful black African/Nigerian fashion editors for its predominantly black African/Nigerian customers/readers?  In general, is it not possible to rotate the fashion editors more regularly?  In fact, here is a thought, why can’t Wings open the doors for aspiring Nigerian/African fashion editors and hold a fashion writing competition and the winner gets to write X amount of times for Wings? Wouldn’t that be a great way to support and promote our L-O-C-A-L editorial talent?

By the way, all these questions I extend to Mr Nduka (man behind ARISE) as well regarding his choice of Senior Editor. Oh that and, ‘Hey Mr Nduka, your defunct ARISE still owes me Editorial Fees!!!’

At this point, I would like to make clear that I’m not a ‘hater’ of the lady who writes for Wings.  She writes perfectly well and is clearly an expert within the African fashion field. Kudos.  My issue is not with her but with ‘us’ (Nigerians).  Why?  Well for many reasons, one of them being: the African/Nigerian fashion market-as growing as it may be- is seriously lacking behind the more established fashion capitals of the world.  This means that there are much fewer opportunities for African fashion creatives who want to work in the African fashion market, let alone the Nigerian market. Don’t believe me?  Well, does Nigeria have its own Fashionmonitor.com (a leading digital provider of media, PR, brand contacts, news& events)yet?  Exactly.  So what this means is, as there are much fewer editorial job opportunities for us within the African/Nigerian Fashion market, it does matter A GREAT DEAL: who these few editorial positions go out to.

Maybe I can answer my own question here, I head the Marketing Comms department in a Nigerian-based international school and I was recently told that the lady who supplies the cooked snacks for the children for its ‘Tuck Shop’, is an expat.  Why? Majority of the Nigerian parents (and their children) believe this will make the food tastier/better. In my opinion, for the most part, we (Nigerians) have this colonial mentality that (to put it crudely) ‘White Is Right’, and it goes far beyond the fashion industry and nestles quite comfortable in the education sector too.

I believe, I have said enough for now on this matter.  Now I would like to hear from you on the topic…

Party Dress Codes: Fashionable or Fascist?


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I’m in Nigeria now folks.  Before I travelled to Port-Harcourt to head the Marketing Comms dpt I work for, I had a brief spell in Lagos.  Whilst I was there, my parents informed me about a 60th birthday party of some Bigwig friend of theirs and I was told to come with. I was more than happy to tag along as I love those types of Nigerian parties- all the pomp & grandeur (screaming, ‘LOOK WHAT I GOT!!), food, dancing, the yanga (!!!)…

When I was told the party began at 6pm, as I do with most events, I began to plan my evening outfit in my head, down to the last-minute detail.  In my head I saw myself swaying around in my new Peekaboo Vintage ‘Sunset Pleat’ skirt.  And then through my stylish fog, I was brought crashing down to earth when I heard my dad say,’…and the dress code is white and blue.’

Erm, Ehh-Squeeze me? I am all for fun dress themes, helllloooo, I love clothes, but let me stress here: I love dress codes that work with my style and personal tastes.  In my 20s, I would have freaked out about not having the right white or blue attire for the shindig, but the beautiful thing about age is you realise that, really: life is too short for dress codes.  Yes, you can quote me.

???????????????????????????????Fast forward the night into the actual party where I walked in, head held a little higher than usual, wearing my black and orange ensemble; I entered a white and blue decorated room swarming with men dressed (rather predictably) in white sokoto’s (trousers), male buba’s (tops) and various coloured fila’s (small hats).  The bulk of women wore kaftans and iro (wrappers) & buba’s.  For me, one lady stood out, she bore a charming pixie cut, minimum jewellery, natural makeup and draped herself in an exquisite white chiffon gown with asymmetrical detailing. She was an expat, of course.  Why do I say of course?  After you’ve been to a string of Naija Bigwig parties, you’ll quickly recognise that for ‘us’ here, ‘More Is (Mos Def) More’.

But here is the thing the wife of the host of the party wore a black and silver gown whilst her daughters wore black evening dresses!! Again, I ask- Erm, Ehh-Squeeze me?

Seeing the hosts give such a blatant Fuck You to their own dress code did make me feel a whole lot better, but I couldn’t help but think why they had bothered to set a dress code at all. It also got me thinking about dress codes in general and their origins.

On this site, the author states that, ‘… the massive uniformization of populations began in the early nineteenth century as workers and students were disciplined to meet the demands of capitalism, industrialization, and national state formation.’

Hmmm, interesting…but back to parties, when it comes to dress codes or themes: I much prefer ones that use adjectives (the more inappropriate the better!), borrow from Pop Culture or use particular stylish era’s (PS 20s, 70s and 80s themed parties, give me life.)  I love these kinds of parties because the options are endless and you can really put your personal stamp on things.

But hey, that’s just me.  Now back to you the reader.  What do you think of party dress codes? Do you roll your eyes when you scroll down an invitation that bears the words- ‘Dress Code’ or do your eyes gleam with joy? Do you find them fun or dictatorial? What’s the best party dress code you’ve had so far and what’s been the worst?

Do tell, I’d love to hear your opinions on the topic!


My 8th Feature In The ‘Independent Fashion Bloggers’ Weekly Roundup


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Live Life

There’s nothing like the Day of the Dead and All Hallow’s Eve that gets you thinking about, well, death… but in a festive way. The all-out do everything you want to do, be everything you want to be, no matter how fantasical or insane. Then there are the people who lived the fullest, who touched our lives, made life for a lot of people better. This week as the fashion industry mourns the passing of Oscar de la Renta, we just have to stop and think for a second. How are we going to make our lives the most well-lived we can?

Links à al Mode: October 23rd

Want to be featured in Links à la Mode?

1. Read the clarified rules and submit your links on this page: Links à la Mode.
2. If your link was selected and you need this week’s code, visit this page: Links à la Mode Code.

Tips When Styling An Emerging Musician


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Tneeya5I recently photographed and styled the lovely Cameroonian-born, Berlin-based musician T’Neeya for OE Stories magazine.

Tneeya1I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to style musicians throughout my career and I particularly enjoy working with emerging musicians like T’Neeya, who are still on that visual journey of finding out what kind of look they want to portray to their audience.

From my experience along the years, here are some tips for stylists who want to style emerging musicians for various projects e.g. editorials, live performances and so on.

1) Remember a musician is not a model, so when pulling pieces for him/her, a stylist really has to be aware of the musician’s personal preferences.  This is especially the case for an emerging musician who may not have the confidence or exposure yet to be very experimental when it comes to his or her look.  For example, before the Shoot Date with T’Neeya, I met up with her for lunch and it was then I discovered that some of her favourite fashion preferences were black, minimal statement jewellery and sunglasses.  So during my press pick-ups, I made sure I pulled pieces with this in mind.

Tneeya8Tneeya112)  Research is key; especially when working with an emerging musician.  Reason being, more often than not, they have not worked out what exact look they are going for and often need some guidance.  This is where a stylist comes in and you become more of a brand/image consultant.  In order to give the best advice here, I have found it really helpful to collect a bundle of inspiring shots of musicians and models along the years.  And when I have First Time meetings with musicians, I often bring this collage with me to use as a reference point.


Tneeya17cBe creative when pulling pieces together for the shoot.  When working with an emerging musician, press offices are often not to so keen to lend pieces/best pieces.  However, if you have built strong relationships with specific Account Managers, you will find that they are happy to lend because they know that you are a stylist who often gives them good press.  But what if your musician is not a Press Size?  In this cases, it is best to use the strongest pieces from the musician’s wardrobe and mix them in with items from your ‘Stylist Cupboard’.  Also bear in mind that some Press Pieces are ‘Size Friendly’ e.g. bags, jewellery and shoes- so you can still work in some great ‘In Season’ press pieces into your project, if your musician is not a standard model size.

If you look at the Credits below, you will see that with this OE editorial, I used both Press pieces as well as a selection from T’Neeya’s wardrobe.


Tneeya17bFinally, T’Neeya is in the process of putting her first album together and describes her sound as ‘AfroPopSoul’.

Check out what she’s up to on: facebook.com/tneeya1 

Tneeya23Tneeya18Look One
Black top: Musician’s own
Printed leggings: JULIAANDBEN
Double horn necklace in gold and black: Ecole Boutique
Black biker gloves: Ecole Boutique
Spider cuff in nude and black: Ecole Boutique
Dark grey sunglasses: VAVA
Shoes: Musician’s own
Look Two
Dramatica necklace in black and gold (worn as headpiece): Ecole Boutique
Dark oversized waistcoat: Isabell De Hillerin
Springbok horn pendant in black and gold: Ecole Boutique
Valentina slipover in black knit and leather: JULIAANDBEN
Gloves and cuff: Same as before
Black Shoes: Musician’s own
Look Three
Black suede and leather T shirt dress: JULIAANDBEN
Suzee black patent bag: Ethel Vaughn
Black & gold necklace rope & pearls: Ecole Boutique
Yellow sunglasses: VAVA
Gloves and cuff: Same as before
Black and gold boots: Musician’s own





Graffiti and Florals


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On Monday, I had a meeting with the Founder of FA254, the company that aims to ‘rebrand Africa’ via luxury and design.  The sun was shining and at the end of September, we Berliners were given a glimpse of the summer days gone by, so I chose to wear this outfit.

rosesFor the first time in I believe E.V.E.R, I’m pretty much wearing a High Street brand from head to toe: My red blouse and 50s A line floral skirt are both from H&M.  To stop looking like a H&M campaign, the belt is a vintage beauty from my friend’s vintage label: Just Landed.

The jacket is from my FAVOURITE vintage store for jackets: Humana.  This store is a godsend: I found an amazing ankle length Lambswool jacket that was going for  30 Euros!!

The jacket I’m wearing has floral applique which I love.  Sadly you can’t see this detailing as clearly as I would have liked.  Reason being, to get these pictures I had to pounce on various passer by’s and felt it would be too narcissistic having interrupted their day, to hold them up further by making them photograph me in various angles.  Aahhhh the perils of a blogger…




Bobby Kolade Talks About His Involvment With, ‘Africa Designers For Tomorrow’


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Not content with putting the final touches on his online store and designing his new collection, Berlin-based designer Bobby Kolade has added to his ever-growing accomplishments: being on the final jury panel of the latest African fashion initiative: Africa Designers For Tomorrow (ADFT).

What is the ADFT I hear you say?  A competition set up by Waridi Schrobsdorff- a former Kenyan top model, based in Berlin.  Under her company-FA254- ADFT plans to give emerging African designers, ‘a door to the European market’.

Waridi Schrobsdorff

Founder, Waridi Schrobsdorff

I caught up with Bobby Kolade to learn more about his involvement with the project.

MFSL: So how did you get involved with ADFT?

BK: A couple of months ago, I got an email from Waridi and in it she explained the project and asked me to be part of the final jury panel. I was very interested in the concept and things went from there.

MFSL: What do you feel sets this competition apart from all the many African fashion designer competitions?

BK: Well this competition is mainly for Eastern Africans. It also has a formidable panel which includes Christiane Arp (Chief Editor of German Vogue), Melissa Drier (German Correspondent, Women’s Wear Daily) and Nina Puez (eBay Director Fashion and Lifestyle). Furthermore, the fact that the winner’s collection will be put into production by Ebay is something that rarely happens at fashion competitions.

MFSL: What will your role be when you fly over to Nairobi in November?

BK: The ADFT event will be from the 3rd to 8th November and my role will be to talk to the designers and share my experience in the industry. More like an exchange program. I’ll also be talking about building a coherent collection.
  I’ll also be using my design experience to advise the designers, and of course select the winner of the competition.

ADFT in Kenya

ADFT in Kenya

MFSL: What have you done as ‘jury’ so far?

BK: In order to get to the final selection, a pre-selection was made in Kenya. That pre-selection was then transported to Berlin. The Jury panel then had one day to look through all the collections and make the final selection.

MFSL: That sounds like so much fun!

BK: Actually, it was a lot of fun. I got into it really quickly, and it was very interesting to look at the various designer’s collections and portfolios.

MFSL: What is the most common mistake you saw designers make?

BK: A few of the designers fell into the trap of making one strong piece and then losing focus.

MFSL: What was the ‘X Factor’ you were searching for when whittling down the designers?

BK: I was looking for something contemporary and fresh: something that is ‘African’ without being overtly traditional or trying too hard to look ‘African’.

MFSL: What are you looking forward to most about going to Nairobi for the event?

BK: Meeting the designers, being in the sun in November, seeing more of the Kitenge… I’m also really curious to find out what it means to be a fashion designer in Nairobi.

MFSL: What does that mean? Because there are loads of working designers in Nairobi.

BK: I mean how and do they produce? Are there a decent amount of African-based customers buying their pieces? I am also curious to find out what materials they work with, how they work and so on. I grew up in Uganda but at that time fashion was really not in the equation for me, so I have no idea about this.

MFSL: And what everyone wants to know: what does the winner get in this competition?

BK: There are going to be three category winners (Apparel, Accessories, Home Decoration). Each of the category winners will have the opportunity to develop and produce their product on an e-commerce international platform (Ebay, Urbanara and Monoqi). The winner’s collection will be presented during Berlin Fashion Week 2015. Also he/she will have the opportunity to produce their pieces with internationally renowned fashion companies.

MFSL: Who is sponsoring the event?

BK: One of the sponsors is eBay Fashion, who is the exclusive distributing partner of the apparel category winner.

MFSL: OMG, that’s huge, that shows Waridi has great business acumen: Thank God!! I am so fed up of all these bloody ‘African Fashion’ competitions popping up everywhere and half of them have no proper business plan in place. So there is this great and glitzy fashion show, and then the designers are left high and dry with no buyers, production assistance, business plan etc.

BK: Yes, Waridi really pulls it off here. I can’t wait to go!

MFSL: It’s going to be great! I’m looking forward to you coming back and giving us the scoop.

To learn more about ADFT, click here.

For more details on Bobby Kolade, click here.

Bobby Kolade '39' Collection. Harling & Darsell Photography

Bobby Kolade ’39′ Collection. Harling & Darsell Photography


Breaking The Silence Concert: Giving Berlin-based African Women A Voice


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On Friday, 19th September I attended the Break The Silence concert at Bohannon Soul Club.  The event was put together to raise money for the web series being created by The Centre, which will focus on telling the various stories about the lives and loves of African women based in Berlin.  The scripted drama series will be written by Naomi Beukes-Meyer. Needless to say, I am beyond curious about how this turns out.

Kicking of the night was the lively and animated singer, Dana Shanti:

???????????????????????????????I loved his beat boxing:

004005Then came Brussels-based Shishani Vranckx. Visually, she really reminded me of a 90s Halle Berry with longer hair.

???????????????????????????????Don’t be deceived by her petite and seemingly demure appearance (as I was), this gal can saaAAANG and was great at working the crowd. By the middle of her set, I was almost falling on the stage because the crowd got so amped up, they were pushing me to get closer to her. But I loved the energy!

???????????????????????????????Shishani sang about the many issues that plague our continent- Poverty, Corruption, Discrimination, and delivered her lyrics with genuine heartfelt passion.

???????????????????????????????Needless to say the camera loves her…

???????????????????????????????After Shishani came T’Neeya, and I really enjoyed her set.  Some of her songs were delivered in what sounded to me like, Cameroonian pidgin English, which is very similar to Nigerian pidgin English, so it was great to be in Berlin and hear love songs crooned using the words, ‘Nah you…’ T’Neeya’s voice has that old soul flavour enriched with experience, if it could drip it would fall slowly like warm golden honey…when she sings her love songs, you feel what she’s saying in your gut…

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????As you well know, I am a huuUUGE 80s fan and I went crazy when T’Neeya did a catchy cover of the 80s hit ‘We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off‘, song by the dearly departed Jermaine Stewart.  To me its one of the greatest pop songs ever written and I tip my hat to T’Neeya for giving it its due Props!

During T’Neeya’s performance, she pointed to me and said, ‘I love this girl here dancing…!’ Yah!!

???????????????????????????????After grooving to T’Neeya’s tunes, I had to take a breather so I don’t have shots from the next singer, Carmel Zoum. But if you read my blog, you’ll know I featured her in my last post, so you know that she lights up the stage for sure.

I had such a fun evening that night and at the end of the event I felt a real sense of pride. Reason being, it was one of those nights were you plan to go an event with friends, and then one by one the cancellation texts/calls come in. But the thing is, strange as it may be for some to hear this: I love having nights out alone.

I know that as long as I have great music, my two feet and my camera:  I won’t be alone in any sense of the word.  For instance, on this night I danced with the crowd, spoke to the singers, had chats with the people I took pictures of…and I love the freedom of doing what I want, when I want.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Loooved his hat and general style:

???????????????????????????????I wore my 50s inspired H & M skirt with one of my favourite vests: 80s ‘True Blue’ Madonna Rocked!

056To everyone who played a part in making this concert what it was, Big Thanks for a super night!


‘She Wants To Move…’


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‘I love to dance…‘: these are the first words uttered by Sarah Jessica Parker’s character at the beginning of the legendary 80s dance flick, ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’.  I remember watching this film as a child and relating strongly to those words.  Fast forward the years, and I still feel very passionately about dancing, I’m not a professional dancer by any means, but it’s the one thing I do that makes me feel the most alive, free, happy, confident…I’m not a dancer but I love to move.

I had a fantastic dance session recently at the Africa Music Convention (AMC) during Berlin Music Week 2014. AMC is a project led by the Partnership with Africa Foundation, as part of the COMENGA programme with financial support from the Federal Ministry for Economics Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The AMC consisted of two evenings of music curated by Andi & Hannes Teichmann and Zuri Maria Daiß. I attended the concert on the 2nd evening, and one my highlights of the night was watching the performance by musician, Carmel Zoum.

Carmel Zoum

Carmel Zoum

1200px-0034 I settled on this outfit which is mainly made up of a bustier and two long scarves: one I fashioned into a turban, the second I turned into a makeshift skirt.  I adore the bright shade of green and vibrant butterfly print on my ‘skirt’, every time I wear it, my mood is instantly uplifted.

1200px-00771200px-0101Another one of the highlights of the night was meeting the petite and funky, Giuliana Savari.  I can always spot a fellow groover: someone who feels the music from her soul right down to the tippy toes on her feet.

1200px-0279On a side note, Giuliana’s crop top, toned abs, skinnies and short blonde hair get-up reminded me of a 90s Gwen Stefani: a look I really like, and that brings back great memories from the decade of ‘Girl Power’:



Giuliana also designs clothes, which includes making customised pieces for musicians under the catchy name Miss Schleckeis.

Music and dance connects people and I love how these pictures show how much fun we had.

1200px-05721200px-03281200px-05881200px-02771200px-0278Finally, a big thanks to photographer, Philipp Primus who captured the energy of the night so well. These pictures bring a big smile to my face…they were totally unplanned, and yet reflect perfectly some of my biggest passions: Music, Dance, Style…showing off, Haha!

You can see more of Philipp’s work here.



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