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OPINION | PAPER TRAILS: Little Rock fashion designer to honor late father with New York runway show

by Sean Clancy | September 3, 2023 at 3:09 a.m.

FASHION WEEK RETURN The work of Little Rock designer Korto Momolu will be on the runway Saturday as part of the EPN Fashion Week show at New York City's Leman Ballroom.

The new show, entitled "Ink and Ivory: A Tale of Joy and Pain," is Momolu's first at New York Fashion Week since 2019; it's also a tribute to her father, Clarence K. Momolu, who passed away in July.

"It's going to be a celebration of his life," she said last week. "It's more than just a fashion show, it's a celebration of my dad for supporting my career. Without him there would be no me."

Momolu says her palette for the show will have darks but also colors and see-through fabrics.

"It tells the story of joy and pain. Sometimes joy can come from darkness; once you see through the darkness you also see the light, the colors, the golds and oranges and all of the beautiful things that make my heart happy."

The show will also feature drummers and a song that was sung during her father's funeral at his village in Liberia, she said.

EPN Fashion Week (the EPN stands for Entrepreneurs and Professionals Network) was founded by Maggie and Hubert Charles Delany. Designer Malan Breton, who was part of last year's event, is a Momolu fan and introduced her to the couple.

"She is one of the most gifted designers I have seen come up in the fashion industry," he said in a news release. "Her creations tell a story, one of journey, culture, and her sense of the human form, with brilliant use of color, drape, construction, and cut. The beauty she emulates shows through her creations."

Momolu, a native of Liberia and mother of two, has designed clothing for celebrities such as Mary Steenburgen, Jill Scott and Miss Universe Leila Lopes. She also designed uniforms for front-line staff at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. Momolu's career took off after she finished second on Season Five of Bravo's "Project Runway." She returned to the program this year as part of Season 20's "Project Runway All Stars," making it through the first 10 episodes before being eliminated in the 11th.

For those who can't make it to Fashion Week, Momolu says plans are in the works to show the new collection as well as highlights from her career in Little Rock in November.

A MASTERFUL CHEF Little Rock's Jennifer Maune is among the final nine contestants on the Fox cooking competition "MasterChef." Maune finished in the top three in last week's episode, "Kelsey's Stadium Food," impressing judges Gordon Ramsey, Aarón Sánchez, and Joe Bastianich with her Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich with Blackberry BBQ Sauce and Tangy Slaw.

She is now one step closer to the $250,000 grand prize. "MasterChef" airs Wednesday at 7 p.m.


Print Headline: LR chef, designer in spotlight


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