Elle Decoration (South Africa) - - SHORTLIST -

His chil­dren, the colour navy, the African con­ti­nent and work­ing with silk are just a few of the things that make this tal­ented Gabonese fashion de­signer’s heart sing

Try­ing to achieve ex­cel­lence and leave a legacy is what drives Ella, a Gabon- and France-based de­signer who made his fashion de­but at last year’s New York Fashion Week: Men’s with his epony­mous la­bel’s Spring/Sum­mer 2018 Her­itage col­lec­tion.

‘My mother had a fashion store in Li­bre­ville, Gabon, and as I got older, I be­came less im­pul­sive with my pur­chases and started look­ing for unique clothes with in­ter­est­ing el­e­ments,’ he says. ‘I was drawn to ev­ery­thing in de­sign, from lo­gos and ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns to ar­chi­tec­ture and in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tion. I de­vel­oped an at­ten­tion to de­tail that I later com­bined with my love of fashion.’

When Ella felt he wasn’t be­ing rep­re­sented in the world of lux­ury cloth­ing, he de­signed a cap­sule sports­wear col­lec­tion with the brand Only Made in Gabon, which in­cluded ref­er­ences to the coun­try and his cul­ture.

It was in­cred­i­bly well re­ceived and, af­ter learn­ing more about the pro­duc­tion process , he launched Teddy Ondo Ella, a menswear la­bel with a proudly African her­itage.

‘For me, fashion is a means of ex­pres­sion, a way of as­sert­ing one’s per­son­al­ity,’ he says. ‘Our con­ti­nent’s full of cre­ative wealth, but suf­fers from a lack of rep­re­sen­ta­tion around the world. With my work, I hope to high­light the cul­ture of my coun­try and Africa in gen­eral.’

1. The Fiat Tagliero build­ing in As­mara, Eritrea

De­signed by Giuseppe Pet­tazzi in 1938, this is my favourite piece of ar­chi­tec­ture. It’s a Fu­tur­ist-style petrol sta­tion full of his­tory whose de­sign is a great de­par­ture from the stan­dard Art Deco style that de­fined many build­ings of that pe­riod in this part of Africa.

2. A paint­ing by JeanMichel Basquiat

If money were no ob­ject, I’d love to own a work by this Amer­i­can artist.

3. Spring/Sum­mer 2018 Her­itage Col­lec­tion by Teddy Ondo Ella

My aim with this first col­lec­tion was to show­case my pas­sion for fashion and high­light my cul­ture and her­itage. I cre­ated colour­ful prints with sub­tle ref­er­ences, such as rat­tan pat­terns, which are in­flu­enced by rat­tan fur­ni­ture made in Gabon. I be­lieve the way to make cre­ations last is by pass­ing on mes­sages and pro­mot­ing my cul­ture.

4. Sir David Ad­jaye, Jay-Z and Pres­i­dent Nana Akufo-Addo

These three men are my dream din­ner­party guests, as well as Diddy, Jerry Rawl­ings and Aliko Dan­gote. I’d love to have a con­ver­sa­tion with them about how to achieve ex­cel­lence in life.

5. The aba­cos suit

This is my brand’s sig­na­ture gar­ment. The orig­i­nal was cre­ated in the ’70s and democra­tised by then-Pres­i­dent Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire (now the DRC). The aba­cos was a way of re­tain­ing a suit’s au­then­tic­ity while de­nounc­ing colo­nial­ism be­cause al­though it takes its codes from the clas­sic suit, it’s worn without a tie and is some­times short-sleeved. I re­vis­ited the piece, mak­ing it younger and more con­tem­po­rary so that it can be­come an es­sen­tial part of a man’s wardrobe.

6. La Colle Noire by Chris­tian Noir

This is my favourite scent.

7. My par­ents’ teach­ings

The lessons I learnt from my par­ents played a huge role in shap­ing my life. By teach­ing me to make the right choices, they pre­vented me from go­ing astray and helped me be­come the man I am to­day.

@ted­dyon­doel­la_brand @ted­dyfrom­gabon ted­dyon­doella.com ‘Dos Cabezas’, 1982, by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Fiat Tagliero build­ing

right and be­low left Teddy Ondo Ella Spring/Sum­mer 2018, NewYork Fashion Week: Men’s

above Mobutu Sese Seko be­low and right Ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign for Ella’s Spring/Sum­mer 2018 Her­itage col­lec­tion

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