This designer started selling on Etsy to dressing Queen-B.
When Beyoncé arrived at Swiss Beatz’s Dreamweavers exhibition at the UTA Artist Space in Beverly Hills on Friday, she made a striking fashion statement. In an ankara print blazer and trousers worn with matching chapeau, Mrs. Carter looked the part of well-dressed art enthusiast, and yet her dramatic look wasn’t sourced from the runway. In the last month or so, the superstar has had some pretty impressive fashion moments—she’s worn Dries van Noten menswear, singlehandedly revived the skort, and pulled out old school Louis Vuitton to dazzling effect. Though her latest look has a surprising provenance: Etsy.
Beyoncé and her stylist Zerina Ackers handpicked Nigerian designer Ena Udemba and her label Ena Gancio from the online arts and craft platform to create a custom suit. Preparations began in late 2018 when Ackers reached out with the request. It is undoubtedly Udemba’s most high profile commission to date, though the Abuja based designer knew she would rise to the occasion. “The creation had to be unique, something for her alone. I needed to be ‘there’ with her. Have you ever been responsible for a queen? The biggest queen on earth! I felt responsible,” she shared via email. “I felt anxious and at the same time determined to be successful.”
Comprised of four pieces, the ensemble took nearly 36 hours to construct, and Udemba was intent on perfection. A second-generation stylist, the 34-year-old designer understands the importance of considering each detail. Every element was chosen for a specific purpose; the size of the cone-shaped hat was deliberately exaggerated to highlight its importance, while the sides of the jacket were cinched in to “fit the female form.” Wide leg pants were “designed to give an elegant leg-lengthening effect” and enhanced by towering heels. The final touch, a patterned belt that accentuated the waist, tied each element together for head-to-toe coordination.
The end result was an outfit that continued Beyoncé’s commitment to working with African talent while adding an eye-catching new facet to her wardrobe. She shared her appreciation for the look on Instagram with a series of updates. For Udemba, who got her Masters in Public Health at Cambridge University and considered a completely different path before deciding to pursue her fashion dreams, collaborating with Beyoncé was a dream come true. “I think she was satisfied, and that makes me feel happy,” she said before referencing another member of music royalty. “Ask Pharrell. I think he sang a song about how I felt.”
First Seen on Vogue.com