“Girl From Ipanema” set the scene at the start of Nigeria-born, London-raised, and New York-based designer Teniola “Tia” Adeola’s fall 2020 runway show, her official solo debut at New York Fashion Week, a model walked down the runway at Spring Studios wearing a cerulean blue, ruffled and ruched gown, a bold cutout exposing a slim oval of skin spanning all the way from clavicle to navel. It’s a much more refined take on the type of garment that Adeola first garnered attention for: the tulle, ruffled, and sheer over-the-shoulder tops that bring Adeola’s keen interest in Renaissance-era shapes and garments to the Instagram set. “I like the challenge of working with sheer pieces,” Adeola says following the show. “It’s widely considered tacky or too much, but there’s a fine line between that and having them be empowering wearable art that celebrates the female form, which has been really important throughout classical art history.”
Adeola first started making tulle pieces out of her Parsons dorm room under the name Slashed by Tia, and fashion-conscious celebrities took note—Gigi Hadid wore one a tangerine-colored one a few years back, and the likes of SZA and Kali Uchis have since followed suit. With her new collection, though, the 22-year-old Adeola’s expanded her sheer, sexy universe. There were ruffle-edged satin trousers for men (given her inclusive vision for the brand, Adeola figured it was time to throw some menswear into the mix), miniskirts and gauzy robes printed with Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, and delicate hand-embroidered gowns, like the very last look of the collection, a standout piece that took Adeola 10 full days straight to create.
Adeola’s changed her brand name to reflect this more ambitious, expanded vision for her designs. “This collection was my first big step in terms of elevating the fabric sourcing itself,” Adeola says. She sourced them all from Dubai and New York, and she worked with local artisans in Lagos, Nigeria, to learn different ways of creating garments. “Honestly, this brand now feels more true to me, less like a playful concept I was still working on formulating.” She kept her nickname Tia, though, as opposed to using her full birth name, Teniola, “as a nod to what I created and all the girls who have supported me this whole time,” she says. “It still has a lot of the fun and celebratory signatures that made Slashed by Tia so special at the time, and I wanted to keep that part of the brand that has my customers feeling empowered, bold, and so beautiful and celebrated in this new iteration of it.