Ok, I must say it’s taken me this long to write this, and for a number of reasons. To start with, I still cannot believe that she’s dead; is death that ‘simple’? And that’s for lack of a better qualifier. Secondly, I read the outpouring of love and the fondest, most vivid memories from her sisters (@pdbraide, @IjeomaOgud, @Funmilola, etc) on Twitter, larger than life tributes on Facebook and I wondered if I was even ‘qualified’ to say goodbye to this fabulous lady I had the privilege of meeting only once. Yes, once, and there was the promise of many more meetings in the future. Death, shame on you.
Matter of fact, the day I heard she was dead, I promise I was going to ask our mutual friend to ‘bully’ her into sending me the designs to choose from for my new dress. Perhaps it was also for that selfish reason I refused to associate Remi Lagos with the #Remitothelight hashtag that @IjeomaOgud started.
How did we meet?
On the 8th of September this year I’d gone to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport to pick Ace. It was threatening to rain so I called and said to please hurry out so I could speed and put both the rain and traffic behind us only to hear, ‘I’ll be a few minutes please, we have to drop a friend at the Hilton and she’s waiting on her luggage’. I said ok, swallowed, and waited.
They came, my friend and this lady with her hair neatly unpacked, resplendent in a black kaftan. I introduced myself and she said, ‘my name is Remi’! We got in the car, and we were not even out of the airport when it started to rain. More like it started to pour, thunder, and the lightning was just out of this world.
Now my friend had offered to drive but as ‘Louisa Hamilton’, I refused. Anyone who knows me knows I have a mortal fear of sudden/sharp sounds (among a good number of things I am afraid of). It is the reason I cannot be around balloons, and I never enjoyed hide and seek (still don’t). I remember taking my hands off the wheel to cover my face (or ears) severally on that drive, the scolding from Ace that earned me, but most importantly, the way Remi didn’t even behave like it was raining, we were not even halfway home, and we’d been stuck in traffic for about an hour already!
When somehow it slipped that she was ‘the’ Remi Lagos, I couldn’t stop squealing! Yes, I took my hands off the wheel again. Fortunately the traffic was ‘bumper to bumper’ (literally) so no big issue there (even though Ace didn’t think so). I mean, I’d been hearing of Remi Lagos since I was a child! I didn’t believe she’d look that young and pretty (sans makeup), especially when I found out how old she was later.
I had on Wande Coal’s ‘Mushin to Mohits’ CD, and apart from being a very funny, lively, and boisterous lady (we had this hilarious conversation about metrosexuals – how to spot them, and a particular friend of hers who would arrive at a party separate from his girlfriend just so his chic wouldn’t steal his ‘shine’), she loves(d) Wande Coal! I repeated the Bumper to Bumper track severally, and it was fun singing the second verse together, especially the ‘fight like Chinese – kpishan’ bit! Lol!
By the time we finally got into town we’d become friends! We’d also exchanged numbers because she wanted me to work a social media strategy for her brand, building from London. And of course, Ace said she should make me a dress!
We exchanged these later that night….
We spoke the next day, after her devotion meeting, and even though I came back to London a few days after, we spoke again, and things were on course. And then out of the blues I hear she’s no more, less than 60 days after we met.
Death, shame on you.
I remember her laughter in my head, I see the twinkle in her eyes as she laughed; Remi if you made such an impression in less than 3 hours, then I will never grasp the depths of grief of the people who were really close to you, the ones you left behind.
Rest in peace Remi Lagos
Rest in peace Remi Osholake.
- Popular designer Remi Lagos has passed away (faithonavba.wordpress.com)
- Rest in Peace Designer, Oluremi Osholake popularly known as Remi Lagos (fashionati.wordpress.com)
- Popular Designer Remi Osholake of Remi Lagos has passed away (belloibrahim.wordpress.com)
- Fashion designer Remi Lagos dies aged 51 (thenigerianoracle.com)