The costumes of Ade Bakare in ‘Ayinla’ the movie – THISDAYLIVE
BY Azuka Ogujiuba
It’s no longer news that Ade Bakare designed the costumes for famed director Tunde Kelani’s (“TK”) film Ayinla. The former Ogun State Arts and Culture Commissioner, Ms. Yewande Amusan, with whom Ade had collaborated on Adire projects for Ogun State, facilitated the introduction. According to Bakare, it was a few years ago:
“Tunde Kelani told me he was working on a film about the late apala singer, Ayinla Omowura. Yewande felt it would be a perfect vehicle for my designs, knowing my love of African textiles, especially Adireand my scrupulous attention to detail,” Bakare said.
Following this, Bakare continued his research on the late singer, in order to deepen his understanding of the apala exponent. A friend who, by the way, was also involved in the project, Jide Bello, sent Ade a biography of the late singer.
He said: “Filming was supposed to start in December 2021, but I had started designing the costumes much earlier, I felt that if I were to start in December, I wouldn’t be able to deliver the clothes to my satisfaction. All of Ayinla’s clothes were ready before filming started, we didn’t even have the lead actor’s measurements at the time, but I had seen photos of Lateef Adedimeji who played Ayinla, so I decided to go ahead.
“We started with mood boards because it was a period film set in the 1970s/80s. to shoes and accessories. The research revealed a lot of interesting details that we tried to capture in the film.
Bakare majored in history at the University of Lagos before returning to study fashion design in Manchester, UK. Studying the story made it easier for him to compile the research details and implement them for the film, Ayinla. The biopic is full of details depicting Ayinla’s rich clothing involving expensive fabrics such as brocade damasks and even lace, all of which signify her wealth at that time. Ade used wonyosi lace which was very popular in the 80s – a fabric which was even banned from being imported into Nigeria by the government due to its exorbitant cost.
In the Centenary Hall scene recreating Ayinla’s performance, Bakare designed Lateef Adedimeji’s wonyosi lace costume with loose flower petals, hence the lace’s name – “sprinkled with flowers” – like salt on the food. According to Ade, designing for a movie is a lot of work:
Bakare said, “I was blessed with a very good wardrobe team, especially my assistant, Ade Adedamola, who I had collaborated with on the famous Nigerian DSTV series, Battleground. It was Damola who came to see us in our Lagos boutique to dress up for the character of Adora played by Shaffy Bello. So when I was looking for an assistant, I turned to Damola who immediately agreed, read the script and we worked out a plan for the clothes – which ones would be made and which ones would be loaned or purchased.
“Most of the clothes for the main characters were made by us – Jayes and Danshiki tops, safari suits for Ajala, Ayo Vaughan and Bayowa and 70s-inspired dresses for Deborah. This was how we could get an exact overview of what we wanted to achieve. we undertook many trips to Abeokuta, Ibadan and Ijebu-Ode in search of vintage fabrics asò oké and adiré. We visited markets such as kparò (exchange or barter) markets where clothes are exchanged for household items.”
TV personality Funmi Iyanda, who coincidentally was in town filming her series, Public Eye, accompanied Bakare on one of his trips to Ijebu-Ode. “It was so much fun that we ended up visiting other parts of this huge market which sold everything from clothes to exotic reptiles.”
Looking at Ayinla, you will notice the adire in various forms. Bakare received a book on adire from the late mother of famed Nike Ogunlesi from Ruff ‘N Tumble, the children’s clothing line. She had a fashion brand called Betty O and used a lot of adire in her collections. Of this book, Ade said he noticed that at that time, “adiré had a lot of symbolic drawings”.
Bakare further explains: “I was given a fabric book from the Italian silk house Taroni and came across a design that looked African; the lady, Omolola Bejide, with whom I collaborated to design these modern versions of the adire, said it was called órògbó (bitter cola).
“Other designs that we also used in the film were inspired by the encouragement of the First Lady of Kwara State, Erelu Mrs Folake Abdul Razaq. She gave me a cocoa pod ornament and asked to design a fabric with this pattern. You can see all of these designs in the film. I wanted to introduce both the old and new adirédesigns to a younger generation and they have become so popular in our collections that I had to copyright them with the Copyright Commission in Lagos.
“There is a documentary coming out about Ayinla’s costume making. A friend in the UK, Funmi Akinyele, insisted that I do this in order to capture the process of making costumes for films, especially costumes that contain rich historical details.
This film will be available for viewing on YouTube later this year. It was set up by Bola Bello with whom Ade collaborated on the film “A Place in The Stars”, directed by Steve Gukas. Bola was also the production designer for “Ayinla”.
So what should we expect from Ade Bakare next in the world of cinema? Ade said TK was very impressed with Ayinla’s costumes and approached him to work on another film project which will be shown in America later this year. said Ade. “I am truly blessed and honored to work on such projects in Nigeria.”