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article imageImages of elegance and style in Yoruba Nigerian fashion culture Special

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By JohnThomas Didymus     Mar 26, 2012 in Lifestyle
Lagos - Any foreigner, especially from the West, visiting Nigeria will be struck by the richness and elegance of Nigerian fashion culture. The Yoruba of southwest Nigeria are particularly noted among Nigeria's ethnic groups for their exquisite fashion taste.
The Yoruba typically celebrate their marriages, birthdays, even funerals in grand, opulent style. And in the 1970s, following the Nigerian Civil War, in the era of the so-called "oil boom," during which Nigeria was awash with petro-dollars and the Nigerian currency was at par with the British pound sterling, Yoruba Nigerians astonished other major groups with their propensity to magnificent displays of elegant and lavish style in their regular weekend parties.
Couple resplendent in native designs
Couple resplendent in native designs
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Digital Journal reporter attended the 70th birthday bash of a close relative, Professor S. Olukayode Ajayi on Sunday, and noted that among professional middle-class Yoruba Nigerians, vestiges of the past linger, betraying nostalgic recollections of the glory of the "oil boom" of the 1970s.
During the early 1970s, the neighbours of the Yoruba to the southeast, the Igbo ethnic group, still recovering from the ravages of the Civil War, and awestruck by the grandiose displays of opulence in Lagos, nicknamed the Yoruba Owambe, implying the same as when the African-American group Jagged Edge asked in their song:" "Where The Party At?"
Adults are expected to appear at major social events, such as weddings and funerals, in rich, flowing native designs. At such occasions, European-style clothing are considered drab, frugal and tasteless, and appropriate only for children.
A Yoruba woman confident in her style. Note her headdress  it is called a  gele.  A woman s dressing...
A Yoruba woman confident in her style. Note her headdress, it is called a "gele." A woman's dressing is incomplete without one. Men always wear caps but they have to remove them when they enter a house of worship.
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Nigerian man in white agbada lace. His wife is dressed in a different color. The mismatch would be c...
Nigerian man in white agbada lace. His wife is dressed in a different color. The mismatch would be considered a grevious faux pax if they were the celebrants at the occasion
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Most other ethnic groups will freely admit that the Yoruba are the major influence in Nigerian fashion, cultural and social trends.
Celebrant at church service  in green lace agbada. Note the volume of the robe.His partner dresses t...
Celebrant at church service, in green lace agbada. Note the volume of the robe.His partner dresses to match in "iro and buba" with a matching strip of cloth the "iborun." The "reception party" followed the solemn church service.
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Nigerian boy in shirt and bowtie
Nigerian boy in shirt and bowtie
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This young man thinks he is cool
This young man thinks he is cool
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Note the lady in the foreground with her back turned to the camera. That is quite an expensive piece...
Note the lady in the foreground with her back turned to the camera. That is quite an expensive piece of material she is wearing, if you've cultivated the "eye" to recognize the relative quality of materials
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Nigerians insist on a live band at social events
Nigerians insist on a live band at social events
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The post-Civil War oil-boom is now history, and the grandiosely opulent displays of the early to mid 1970s will probably never be reenacted on a similar scale, save in exclusive circles of the super-rich who still regularly throw parties that outdo even the worst examples of profligacy of the 1970s.
A mosaic of native designs and colors. The man third from left is wearing a simple  sokoto and buba ...
A mosaic of native designs and colors. The man third from left is wearing a simple "sokoto and buba" the underpiece of a full "agbada" robe
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Bountiful harvest of gifts for the celebrant.
Bountiful harvest of gifts for the celebrant.
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