Saturday, 7 March 2015

First Ladies of Ghana - Has style changed over time?

“At long last, the battle has ended! And thus Ghana, your beloved country is free forever...” This famous speech by Nkrumah did not only give us our freedom as a country but also marked the beginning of an era- The Ghanaian First Lady and her fashion sense.
Fathia Nkrumah truly represented the era of the fifties, where women dress smartly and good grooming and tailored looks were prized. Wearing gloves with ones attire was appreciated and most importantly making sure that the dress you wore brought out your ‘figure 8’. Fathia Nkrumah did achieve these requirements on every occasion. Of course she represented Ghana well by wearing our signature Kaba and Slit pieces sewn from Kente fabrics. Her attires sometimes matched the wrap pieces of her husband Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
In between the first and the fourth republic, there was a lot of political instability. There is very little said about Mildred Ankrah, Christine Afrifa, Nana Afua Frema, Adeline Nana Yeboakua Ofori-Atta, Faustina Acheampong, Emily Akuffo and Fulera Liman mostly because of the short lived reigns of their husbands.
With Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings being the first lady of this new republic there is indeed no doubt that she set a mark in the way the first ladies of Ghana and in fact Ghanaian women should dress. Her signature head wraps can never be forgotten - she was seen with head wraps when accompanying her husband at functions and even when she had to carry out a projects of her own. With her love for vibrant colours, she always captured a room with her appearance. She often wore Kaba and slits that showed off the curves of this petite first lady. Her accessories were always made of gold; perhaps this was her way of telling the world that she was the first lady of a country that was rich in that natural resource. Nana is still recognised as one of the leading women in Ghanaian Fashion and till date is always invited to prestigious events associated with Fashion.
The ‘Gentle Giant’s’ wife Madam Theresa Kuffuor was well recognised for her ‘third piece’ a folded cloth that she draped on her hand or shoulder. There is hardly any picture of Madam Theresa without a third piece. For one thing, our mother Theresa knew how to pick colours that did complement her complexion. One of her most unforgettable dresses was the three-piece Kaba and Slit she wore to the dinner at the White House when George Walker Bush was president of the United States. The Kente pattern really did complement the style of her dress. Mama Theresa loved to flaunt her beautiful grey streaked hair which touched her shoulders. There were days that she would wrap it or even pin up her hair into a beautiful bun. Her accessories did complement her style- she was mostly seen in jewellery made with traditional beads.
If there is one thing we notice about Naadu Mills, it’s the way her style of dressing always drew attention to her jewellery. Her choice of colourful prints; from our batik to our traditional kente always brought out her beautiful skin tone. Her beautiful neckline was always adorned with statement jewellery that matched her attire.
Madam Lordina Mahama truly represents the diversity in today’s Ghanaian fashion. Mixing colours with patterns, one can only admire how she pulls that off every time. It comes as no shock that on a presidential visit to England, Queen Elizabeth did nothing but to admire her style of dressing when they met her at the Buckingham Palace. Our present first lady sure knows how to change her looks with the different hairstyles we always see her in giving her that youthful look with the beautiful smile she always flashes us. We really are eager to see what she would wear for this year’s Independence Day. Long live Ghanaian Fashion! Long live Ghana!