When I took ibu garments to a gathering of editors and stylists in New York, Wambui’s jacket stole the show. The fashion forward of Manhattan swooned over the deep colors in rich waxed cotton, then kept coming back to the flattering fit, the hand-sewn details, the price.

When I took ibu garments to a gathering of editors and stylists in New York, Wambui’s jacket stole the show. The fashion forward of Manhattan swooned over the deep colors in rich waxed cotton, then kept coming back to the flattering fit, the hand-sewn details, the price. This would be at least $1500 at Barney’s!” they murmured appreciatively, taking turns trying it on.) Crisp and fresh and uber-chic in scarlet, aubergine, cobalt, Wambui made a splash in the big city, and she wasn’t even there.

Wambui was in Dar Es Salaam, the creative and fashion capital of Tanzania, sewing up a whole new line for her Trunk Show at ibu next week. Though a native of Kenya, Wambui (whose name roughly rhymes with Drambuie) and husband, Kip, a dealer in African antiques, and their daughter, Kaya, make Tanzania home. When I first met her tall, willowy self, I immediately asked her to model for ibu - so stunning she is. After a day beguiling the camera, Wambui then surprised me with a glimpse of what else she could do. Couture jackets. And I say couture because each pattern and stitch, covered button and pocket slit, is sewn by her hands in a wholly original way. I was knocked out.

When I use the words Global Glamour to describe ibu, as I often do, I think of Wambui’s world: New York and Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam dazzling Hollywood (as she most certainly did), or the little glam Kaya charming the socks off of Charleston. Global Glamour is the best of all creative minds finding inspiration in one another, marrying colors and playing off patterns and embracing the exciting combustion of eclectic worlds.
(Pictured: Little Kaya in ibu’s baby turban and bloomers and elephant.)