Monday, March 29, 2010

Afrolista: Julia Sarr-Jamois Channels The Men of Style "Le Sapeurs"

If you haven't seen or read Daniele Tamagni's book, Gentlemen of Bakongo then you really need to add this magnificent and beautifully photographed book to your collection of fashion books.

Julia Sarr-Jamois and Sir Paul Smith

JuliaSarr-Jamois and Rahma Muhamed on the cover of D la Repubblica Magazine
Fashion's newest "It Girl" Julia-Sarr Jamois and Rahma Mahamed pay homage to the Sapeurs in an editorial that was shot by Sir Paul Smith for D-Magazine which was inspired by the images from Gentlemen of Bakongo by Daniele Tamagni.

"Le Sapeurs"
Here's a little history of Le Sapeurs: The arrival of the French and Belgians to the Congo at the beginning of the 20th Century brought along the myth of Parisian elegance among the Congolese youth working for the colonialists. In 1922, G. A. Matsoua was the first-ever Congolese to return from Paris fully clad as an authentic French gentleman, which caused great uproar and much admiration amongst his fellow countrymen. He was the first Grand Sapeur.

Julia and Rahma Mahamed
The Sapeurs today belong to 'Le SAPE' (Societe des Smbianceurs et des PErsonnes Elegantes) (The Society for the Advancement of People of Elegance) - one of the world's most exclusive clubs. Members have their own code of honour, codes of professional conduct and strict notions of morality. It is a world within a world within a city. Respected and admired in their communities, today's Sapeurs see themselves as artists.

"Fellow Sapeur- Rapper Baloji

Each one has his own repertoire of gestures that distinguishes him from the others. They are also after their own great dream: to travel to Paris and return to Bakongo as lords of elegance. Designer brands of suit and accessories are of the utmost importance to Sapeurs - Pierre Cardin, Roberto Cavalli, Dior, Fendi, Gaultier, Gucci, Issy Miyake, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Versace, Yohji Yamamoto - are their patron saints. Unlike some US hip-hop gangs who are dressed in similar fine threads, there is no bloodshed here - here your clothes do all the fighting for you, otherwise you are not fit to be called a Sapeur.
(Source:The publisher)

Julia and Rahma

To learn more about Congolese rapper, Baloji click here.   
Thanks to Tamu McPherson of All The Pretty Birds for the link.
(All Photos:D la Repubblica Magazine.)


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