Sapeurs: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congo

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British photographer Tariq Zaidi presents a fashion subculture of Kinshasa & Brazzaville: La Sape, Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes (Society of Ambiance-Makers & Elegant People). Most followers, known as ‘sapeurs’ or ‘sapeuses’ have ordinary day jobs as taxi drivers, tailors and gardeners, but as soon as they clock off they transform themselves into debonair dandies. Sashaying through the streets they are treated like rock stars, turning heads, bringing joie de vivre to their communities and defying their circumstances. Traditionally passed down through the male line, many Congolese women and their children have recently begun donning designer suits. As Papa Wemba, the Congolese singer and fashion icon who popularized La Sape, once said: "White people invented the clothes, but we make an art of it."

Author/Artist/Designer

Tariq Zaidi

Pages

144

Dimensions

19.69cm x 1.91cm x 27.94cm

ISBN

9783868289732

Product code

163041

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About the Exhibition
Fashioning Masculinities

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear

At a moment of unprecedented creativity in men's fashion and reflection on gender, we will explore how designers, tailors and artists – and their clients and sitters – have constructed and performed masculinity, and unpicked it at the seams.