Those who know the city of Finfine and designer Ramadhan Mohamed were probably able to see both personalities in “Warm Nights at Finfine.” For me, a newcomer to both, Mohamed’s 25-piece collection certainly made me want to become more acquainted.
In her opening speech, Mohamed didn’t talk much about how her hometown of Finfine (the capital of Oromia in Ethiopia, pronounced, more or less, as fIn-fIn-‘nei) specifically inspired her. Indeed, we learn just a bit more from the promotional video from Fashion Week MN (FWMN): Before moving to St. Paul in her tweens, she fell in love with fashion at age 8 or 9, reveling in its expression and the glamor it could take on in the city’s Nikka wedding ceremonies.
Perhaps Mohamed was inspired by the city’s many facets; her collection was certainly made for many different occasions. The men first walked out with sheathed daggers and sarong wraps, eventually ending with mono-colored suits. The women had an array of looks, including baggy, high-cowl neck sweater dresses; two-piece ensembles, the occasional petticoat skirt; and three elegant ball gowns fit for royalty.
Across her look were mustards, pottery-clay beiges, and ruby shades of warmth, and depending on the piece, fabric would move in some distant grasslands wind or envelop the wearer in a cozy knit to protect against the blustery autumn. While Mohamed skipped prints on her fabrics, she chose to accentuate sleeves and dusters with beautiful trim and bodices with beadwork and appliques.
Outside of the show, the night was also a success, featuring henna art by SY Henna, food and drink by Taste of Africa and Maddy & Maizie popcorn, a traditional dance performance by the Oromo Youth Association of Minnesota, and event production by Samantha Chalstrom. VIP rows had swag gifts—including gourmet popcorn and facial products—and reserved seats with attendees’ names written in gold on large leaves. And, of course, the Holden Room itself was beautiful in its minimalism, with the hanging lights guiding the runway from its start against a nuanced backdrop by Mike Amofa.