CENTRESTAGE: Wambui Mukenyi’s grand fashion launch on a plane

Celebrated Kenyan fashion designer and wedding connoisseur Wambui Mukenyi has unveiled her latest luxury bridal line, dubbed “Wambui Mukenyi Luxe”.

The event, unlike most others witnessed locally, happened on a “runway” 20,000 feet above sea level. The launch is apparently the first ever of its kind in Eastern, Western and Central Africa. The launch was an exclusive, invite-only affair and in partnership with Moët & Chandon.

Among invited guests were NTV‘s Kobi Kihara, model Pinky Ghelani, stylist Connie Aluoch, Couture‘s Olive Gachara, Kris Senanu and K24‘s Anjlee Gadhvi. They were served with free flowing champagne during the flight to Malindi and the experience extended to Diamonds Dream of Africa Beach Resort over an exquisite lunch.

“Well synchronised event, creative chic designs, great crowd and brilliant execution,” said Senanu, an entrepreneur and investor in the TV programme Lion’s Den.

16 BRIDAL GOWNS

According to Ms Mukenyi, Kenya is ready for luxury fashion. “Growing demand and support from our customers is the main reason we unveiled Wambui Mukenyi Luxe, ” she said, adding, “The miles-high launch was to signify the leaps that the brand is making. From Kenya to the world, by bringing the best of Kenya to the rest of the world. Making great strides together with partners who believe in us, like Moët & Chandon, and our consumers who trust us to take the journey together.”

Every collection showed the designer’s love for luxurious fabric, while at the same time instilling her African heritage to produce timeless, feminine pieces. The dresses, in particularly, stand out because of the statement they make. They have a contemporary and elegant edge perfect for today’s modern woman that needs to be unique without making too much effort.

During the unveiling, 16 bridal pieces were showcased. The first catwalk was in the plane, which saw the models display the four designs. The collection featured elegant and trendy pieces, each of them an easy fit with the power to make an ordinary woman feel and look stylish.

On landing in Malindi, the models took turns to showcase the rest of the designer’s work on the beach. Wambui admitted that it was not easy and that she wanted to do something that has not been done here before; to test unchartered waters. “This was a good experience. I showcased the new designs that are definitely going to take wedding gowns to the next level.”

SAMANTHA’S BRIDAL SHOW

“The feminine gowns are carefully made with every bride in mind. This is showcased by the daring, strapless necklines, complemented by delicately boned bodices that are reminiscent of Victorian corsetry,” she said.

The shy and soft-spoken mother of one has an eye for detail, perfect designs, fabric choices and silhouettes, while at the same time guaranteeing her clients’ style and confidence on their big day. She embraces both classic and new styles, which are effortlessly eye catching and capture many a bride’s fantasies.

Founded in 2009, the Wambui Mukenyi label is the brainchild of the self-taught designer. She joined fashion company JF Fashions as a finance intern, but her destiny twirled on the wheel of fortune, resting on fashion and design.

Ms Wambui began by making custom-made pieces for her clients in 2009, before she branched out to wedding gowns and ready-to-wear clothes full of creativity and style. Her big break came later in the year when her products were used by the cast of Shuga, a drama series themed on love, sex and money. Since then, demand for her label has been soaring. Her pieces have been featured in prestigious fashion magazines in Kenya.

In 2012, Wambui participated in Samantha’s Bridal Show and The Hub of Africa Fashion Week. She described the fashion week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as a learning experience. In the same year, she collaborated with media personality Janet Mbugua to launch the Janet Collection, which boasts 20 designs.

Together they came up with designs that Ms Mbugua would be able to wear while travelling and for other formal occasions. Ms Wambui helped bring the combined ideas to life. Asked what is next for her, she said: “All we can say is, this is just the beginning. Stay with us, grow with us, and you shall see what awaits”.

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