Inside Style Panelist Mo Handahu’s latest clutch collection launch in Halifax

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By the time Style Panel‘s Mo Handahu hit her sweet sixteen in 1998, she knew two things: she couldn’t live without colour and she would grow up to be great. Last month, with the launch of her Summer 2012 Clutch Culture collection at Halifax’s chic FRED, the young designer made darn certain the packed house would agree with her.

Handahu started the evening with a collection that more than nodded to that pivotal year in the 29-year-old designer’s life. As Lauryn Hill’s “That Thing” filled the white, airy venue, models flooded the runway in printed mini dresses, neon-armed wayfarers, punchy shoulder-slung blazers and bright pumps—all second to Handahu’s bold (and beautiful) clutches. The “1998” collection, made up of oversized pieces in streamlined shapes and unapologetic patterns, aren’t for the meek: if you have to ask, “what could I wear that with?” Handahu admits her clutches just aren’t for you. Her second shown collection (because a quest for greatness might as well involve two home runs) made a different connection to the designer’s past. With “Wild Hearts,” the Zimbabwe-born designer’s heritage was pulled to centre stage with a series of elegant handbags in deep and intricate African prints.

When the designer took to the runway at the end of the night, alongside two of her tribal-painted models, the guests came to their feet without hesitation in a loud and heartfelt standing O. That greatness Handahu was after? Well, let’s just call it achieved.