Yvonne Chinele Nwosu
By Azuka Ogujiuba
Yvonne Chinele Nwosu is a fearless, fierce and fun-loving designer. Nwosu was born in France and speaks French fluently. No wonder the European culture strings along in her works. She has modernized the iro and buba which she calls iro Vonne and her new collections, the Black Mamba, are making waves. Azuka Ogujiuba writes
How did your journey into Vonne Couture begin?
Vonne Couture officially began in December 2009. My label was a product of my passion for fashion. It was something I had always wanted to do and so in 2009 I found a way to transform something that was fun for me into a business.
If you were not a designer, what would you have gone into?
I would have been a Model. My first stint in fashion was through modeling. I competed in the Face of Africa Competition in 1998/99 and I made it into the top 10 list. From there, I went on to do other modeling jobs with several brands like coca-cola etc.
What fashion event have you participated in, that holds fond memories for you?
Both Arise Fashion shows hold the fondest memories for me. I was able to experience the pressure and thrills of my job as a designer and also showcase the creativity of the Vonne brand.
What is the biggest challenge of being a designer in Nigeria?
First, the electricity problem, running generators all day long and burning diesel are very expensive. Also there is the challenge of getting fabrics in Nigeria. Our choices here are limited.
If you were the President of Nigeria, what is the first thing you will do to give citizens a better life?
I will make sure that there is constant power supply, so that young entrepreneurs can do their businesses well and not get frustrated.
What inspires your creativity?
My everyday life inspires my creativity; being on the go constantly inspires me. I never know the time or place inspiration hits me.
What inspired Black Mamba collections?
I got the inspiration for the Black Mamba Collections from a movie titled “Snakes on a Plane”; I was struck by the deadly beauty of the Black Mamba snake. It held a certain fascination for me and so I decided to infuse it into my next collection.
You modernized the Iro and Buba. What influenced this?
The idea of the “Iro Vonne” was to make every woman look young and trendy even in traditional attire. So, I switched up the traditional Iro and buba and gave it the Vonne factor.
For you as a designer, is it easier to design a dress from the scratch or adapt one from the runway?
For me, it is easier to design from scratch, as long as the inspiration for that particular outfit flows. Most times, I can get as much as five outfits from one idea.
Which international celebrity would you love to design for?
I don’t mind putting my clothes on all celebrities.
What is your most memorable fashion moment?
Everyday to me is a fashion show. I love doing dress ups. Everyday is a fashion moment for me.
What is your favourite body part on a guy?
Lips and eyes.
What is the most important thing your parents taught you?
My parents taught me “respect”.
Do you wear any tattoo. If yes, what does it symbolise?
Yes, I have two tattoos. The first is a cherub and it symbolises the love I have for my daughter. The second is my star sign symbol “Leo” and it symbolises my strength and resilience.
What are the fashion accessories you can’t live without?
What are the five items you will take an island for a get-away?
My sunglasses, my lip gloss, a bottle of water, a tank top and my bum shorts.
What are your favorite designer labels?
I really don’t have a favourite fashion label. I would wear any brand that expresses my style at that moment.
Where is your favourite hanging out spot?
My home, it is where l find peace.
What songs do you listen to always that have become your personal anthem?
I especially love Frank Ocean’s “Lonny Breaux” collections. The two songs in this collection that have become my personal anthem are “Blasted” and “Sucker for Love”
What is you BlackBerry ringtone presently?
I don’t use a ringtone. My phone is always on ‘silent’ mode
What are your vital beauty products?
My Pro-active beauty line
What are your views about cosmetic surgery and will you ever attempt it if you feel you have to retain looking young and sexy?
I am not pro-cosmetic surgery. I want to age gracefully. I don’t think cosmetic surgery is something I would do in an attempt to look younger.
Who is a sexy siren to you?
Are you a car freak? What is you dream car?
I am not a car freak. I’m for anything with four wheels that can get me to my destination
Where were you born?
I was born in Paris
How do you feel about yourself. Who is Yvonne Nwosu?
I am who I am unapologetically. I do not follow the rules; I invent them. I am ambitious, driven and family oriented.
Do what people think about you make you flip or have a sleepless night?
No, I know enough not to care about what people think of me. I sleep easy every night because the only person’s opinion that matters is God
What is the most memorable thing a man has said to you?
Where have you been all my life?
What are the four things that attract you to a man?
His physique, his mannerisms…gosh he has to be damn cute and he has to be clean.
What do you think of women who lie about their age?
I think they have given in to the societal pressure to be young and I find it very sad.
Which woman living dead or alive, would you describe as having the ideal body?
You are a single mother. Does your status in anyway affect your life?
Not at all
Do you have any regrets being a single mother?
What does motherhood mean to you?
It means having a part of me that I can nurture and guide just the way my mother took care of me.
Do you get up in the morning and feel good about your body and personality all the time?
How old are you now?
I am ageless because even when am 60, l will feel and look this way.
Tell us about your educational background?
I attended the University of Lagos where I studied English for a year before moving on to Middlesex University to study Business Administration
What does love mean to you?
Love to me means kindness, undying loyalty and respect.
The first time you fell in love, what was the most stupid thing you did?
I’ve never fallen in love.