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.
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 is incomplete without one. Men always wear caps but they have to remove them when they enter a house of worship.
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.
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
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.