To a steady African beat and the sound of a pounding monsoon rain, the Edun label founded by U2's Bono and wife Ali Hewson presented a mix of breezy, delicate florals and edgy laser-cut silks studded with metal grommets at New York Fashion Week.
Bright color — a trend during spring previews — lit up the runway Sunday in a dark, cavernous warehouse across from the Hudson River. The show included some hand dying in indigo using a technique from Mali on a flared jacket made of recycled hemp.
There were reds, a deep clay to a light salmon, in African-inspired prints, a touch of tangerine in a parachute romper and solids in a range of whites, from silvery to bright.
A diamond print was featured on slouch trousers paired with a matching halter. The print was carried over to several other looks, including a silk scarfdress with matching jersey leggings.
Organic white mesh for a jumpsuit had shorts laser cut in a fluttery petal shape. That detailing, along with the round metal trim, were all over the runway in short dresses, loose shorts, halter tops and trousers.
The company, founded in 2005, produces some of its clothes in Africa. With the help of artisan nuns in Kenya known as the "crochet sisters," the line includes their black, hand-knotted skirt and fitted dress trimmed in leather.
Rocker black was also present in a neoprene shirt with leather straps and crocheted short-shorts.
Hewson told The Associated Press before the show that Edun's latest collection is "kind of innocent but tough" as she tries to bring an "ethical" and steady, sustainable manufacturing industry to Africa.
That's where she and Bono are headed next week to mark Desmond Tutu's 79th birthday, then on to Mozambique. Africa always offers her a creative charge, Hewson said.
"For me, every time I go there you get much more than you can ever give," she said. "It's just the energy of the people and their sexiness and desire to work. It's just always a shot of adrenaline when you go there."
Hewson turned over the creative reins of Edun three years ago to Sharon Wachoub but remains closely involved.
The celebrity-saturated crowd included Sting, Bono bandmate the Edge, singers Corinne Bailey Rae and Courtney Love, and models Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington. Some had the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on their minds.
How do we mourn? "We have to embrace it and go on," said Sting, who lost a friend when the World Trade Center towers came down. "What else can we do?"
Hewson said this isn't the first time Edun has shown a new collection on 9/11. She considers it a tribute to the "spirit of New York City, the resilience of New York City, and the spirit of America that still keeps pushing forward for a better future for everyone."