Unless you've been hiding under a rock, it's been difficult to escape the promotional campaign for The House of Boateng, which debuts tomorrow on Sundance. Ozwald Boateng's collections are fabulously successful in Britain and Europe and he hopes to make a splash on this side of the pond. Back in 1998, Boateng first tried to conquer American design his collection tanked. This time around, he has much better marketing: The eight-episode reality show—which, incidentally, the Sundance Channel has called a "documentary."
reality-show documentary will drive the resulting sales, it will be interesting to watch the American reaction to The House of Boateng because the goal is to get (primarily) straight men excited about fashion. One early review found the show bland and quipped "a lack of estrogen may also sap Boateng of its necessary chemistry and personality.
However, the British-Ghanaian designer is ridiculously talented and, being a straight, black British man is a rare species in the fashion world. In addition to his own label, Boateng is also the first-ever creative director for menswear at Givenchy, the fashion house that launched Audrey Hepburn and is well known for its crisp lines and clean-silhouette dresses.
Boateng's non-traditional background may work in his favor. The new Flaunt features a ten page fashion editorial devoted to Boateng's Givenchy collection, and, a very flattering profile. "His mission is to build a collection and an image around his own sense of traditional English style, but for today's customer—not a French customer, but an international one."
That aspect has surely comes across stateside where even rapper such as Nas sing his praises. "Usher was telling me he had [a clothing project] that had a lot to do with me," Boateng says. "For me my style is very distinct and represents a measure of tradition, but also in the same breath it’s very modern. So, I’m very happy that anyone appreciates that style."
The House of Boateng (Sundance)
5 Questions with Ozwald Boateng (BV/AOL)
Project Retail (GQ)