The moment we have all been waiting for is here! The GUAP Gala 2023 theme is out. Last year’s theme Fairytales and Folklore was perfect for the first ever gala. It brought glitz and glam, royalty and hood-tale inspired looks to the beautiful halls of the Natural History Museum, transforming it into a magical world of storytelling via extravagant gowns, sharp suits and kaftans. It was a truly beautiful sight, setting the bar high for this year’s attendees.
This year, the GUAP team wanted the theme to reflect the world as it is today, and still give lots of room for imagination and creativity. Introducing: Cosmic Dreams. The theme was announced with a short film; a young woman is getting glammed up to meet someone. From an apparently ordinary scene – a living room, a hairdresser, a client – emerges something else. All is not as it seems. There are silver fingertips and lilac eyes, and a growing eerie sci-fi-esque feeling.
The designers worn by the models were on theme too, from recent graduate Viitolina’s otherworldly silhouettes to Jú Moransa’s dress, inspired by the experience of a woman navigating the chaos of Western society. There was also a nod to last year’s theme with Anciela, a brand with latin roots that celebrates folklore. But what exactly does Cosmic Dreams mean as the gala theme?
It is no secret that the climate crisis is well and truly upon us. With ever increasing natural disasters, the earth is becoming less and less inhabitable by the day. At the same time, major advancements are being made in technology, with things such as AI and virtual reality. This, coupled with the terrible damage humans have wrought on Earth so far means that life without Earth, or at least without Earth as we know it now, is being considered more often and more seriously. Will we perhaps all live in bunkers underground with virtual reality as our only source of entertainment and interaction? Will we ever live on another planet? What awaits us in the future – a utopian dream or dystopian nightmare?
This isn’t all though. There are also lots of other phenomena Cosmic Dreams evokes, some of which are nodded to in the film. Planets and astrology, sustainability, waste and pollution, parallel and alternate universes, Afrofuturism, dreams, fantasies, desires and aspirations, aliens and otherlife, science, tech, and robotics, and so much more.
So much to think about! I personally will be counting down the days until the gala is here and we can all feast our eyes on the outfits, and how the theme is explored through the event itself, from decorations to performances. Who would you like to see at the gala and what designers would you like to see worn on the red carpet? What did you think of the announcement film? Tweet us at @guapmag and let us know.
Creative Direction, Casting + Fashion: Rashida Taylor @shida__
Director: Ibrahim Kamara @ibrahimkamara
1st AD: Anna Oguoma-Richards @annaorichs
Producer: Sayo Olukoga @sayo.olu
DOP: Sam E.H. Hooper @samehhooperdop
1st AC: Kitt Sullivan @kitt_sullivan
2nd AC: Conor Aldis @connor.aldis
Gaffer: Joe Nkadi @lightingbyjoe
Fashion Assistant: Ayo Asani @ayoasani
Photographer: Taiye Omokore @klatphotography
Photographer: Mahamed Mahamud @mahamed.dcm
Set Design: Shania-Mae Wright @shaniam00
Set Design Assistant: Kelis Graham @kreativekelis
Hairstylist and model: Kreszend Eva Sackey @kreszendsackey
Makeup: Kayla Selway @afrolion_mua
Models: Orezime Esseh @omenaesseh Greg Ezekiel @zuwxa
Brands worn: @viitolinadesign @jumoransa @navoradesigns @tamarkeburia @anciela_london