We love: Gentlemen of the Bakongo

Gentleman of the bacongo
As part of the day job I am responsible for forecasting colour for the fashion industry (and no I am not going to tell you what colour to wear in two years time, it’s entirely up to you) This means I am always on look out for inspiring colours, whether its the colour of someones front door, or the way Dot Cotton’s (from UK soap Eastenders, for our non UK readers) hair colour perfectly co-ordinated with her outfit and the phone she was holding, on TV the other night. Teen daughter said, ‘you are so weird mum, only you would notice that!

Books are a fabulous source of inspiration and I am always on the look out for old and new books with interesting colour combinations. One of my current favourites is Gentlemen of the Bakongo, which features the well dressed dapper gentlemen of Brazzaville in the Congo.

The arrival of the French and Belgiuns to the Congo at the begining of the 20th Century, brought the style and elegance of Paris to the Congolese 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 (The society for the Advancement of People of Elegance). Members have their own code of honour, codes of professional conduct and strict notions of morality. Respected and admired in their communities, today’s sapeurs see themselves as artists.

They are spectaculary well dressed and their unique colour sense and dandy style wouldn’t look out of place walking down Saville Row.

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