Lola Oladunjoye, one of the participating designers, had that impression. “Sotheby’s is so old,” she said. “It’s almost part of empire, like Dickens and the royal family. Hats off to them for being forward-thinking and creating this platform.” (The house was founded in London in 1744.) An English-born designer of Nigerian descent, Ms. Oladunjoye is now based in Paris and continues to work as a lawyer while she expands her Lola Fenhirst brand.
Two necklaces and a ring from her Sybil series are her contributions to the exhibition, items she said represented her design aesthetic. Their unifying features are scalloped frames wound with gold filament, and their pairing of rounded and taut lines “is a metaphor for two cultures and how they interweave and intersect,” she said. “It’s very rich, very celebratory, which is a part of my traditional Yoruba cultural background. Wearing gold in unsubdued ways is part of the culture. I wanted to put my spin on it.”
The collective aspect of “Brilliant and Black” appealed to Ms. Oladunjoye. “Diversity and inclusion are two sides of the same coin,” she said. “Diversity is about having more people who look like me active in the business, and inclusion is how you get there and stay there. It’s really important that one person doesn’t break through every 10 years, feels isolated and leaves.”