African Inspiration: Le Sapeurs
This week I am being interviewed on my use of color in interior design. So I’m trying to figure out why I use color and my conclusion is that its just natural. I am just simply drawn to a certain range of colors. While doing some research recently I came across a book called "The Gentlemen of Bacongo" by Daniele Tamagni. Immediately, I was drawn to simply everything about the images but mostly the vibrant colors. I started reading about the men featured in this book and about their fashions.
With the arrival of the French and Belgians to the Congo at the beginning of the 20th century, they introduced the locals to Parisian elegance. The local youth workers were so impressed by the fashion, especially after G.A. Matsoula returned back from Paris sporting some seriously insane French outfits. He was so admired for his authentic French fashion and is considered the first Grand Sapeur.
The Sapeurs belong to Le SAPE which stands for the Société des Ambianceurs et Personnes Élégants. "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, todays sapeurs see themselves as artists. 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 to return to Bacongo as lords of elegance. Designer brands of suits and accessories are of the utmost importance to Sapeurs - Pierre Cardin, Roberto Cavalli, Dior, Fendi, Gaultier, Gucci, Issey Miyake, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Versace, Yohji Yamamoto are their patron saints. Unlike some U.S. 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."