Best Place to Buy African Clothing - 2001
Vitalis Onu recoils at flowing, overelaborate garments that prompt onlookers to query, "Who's that prince?" For Onu, the creator of the fashion line Citalis, the key is graceful simplicity. That principle is evident throughout the native Nigerian's vibrant showroom in an office building on Richmond near Hillcroft. The racks overflow with robes, caftans and woko suits made of silk, linen and other materials in a variety of shimmering colors. Each piece bears Citalis's stunningly elegant embroidery work. A lovely dark gray caftan comes with swirls of blue stitching down the front. A checkered silk robe features olive-green squares set against a pea-green background. Citalis offers men's and women's wares, custom-made and off-the-rack. Prices for blouses with matching skirts, and for men's outfits, range from $200 to $350. The store also offers velvet hats decorated with lace. While distinctively African, Onu's designs include crossover lines for American buyers. His wares can be found in stores like Festari for Men in the Galleria area. A tall, elegant man dressed in a gleaming black woko suit, Onu summarizes the exacting standard to which he holds himself: "If I can't wear my clothing, I can't sell it."