This book provides a fascinating insight to the vibrant street style of the 'Sapeurs', the elegant and immaculately dressed dandies from the heart of the Congo.
The Sapeurs today belong to 'La SAPE' (Societe des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes) - 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.
Designer brands of suits and accessories are important to sapeurs, and they work hard to save as much money as they can to dedicate to the most beautiful suits and accessories they can find. But their amazing style is also based on strict rules of elegance, beauty and harmony of colours. They dress to impress, whilst also being ambassadors of etiquette, peace and music, as well as the essence of style. The result is a unique and inspiring style, that has captured the imagination of people all over the world - the sapeurs are now truly the kings of elegance.
Introduction written by Paul Smith, one of the world's most renowned and influential menswear designers. The cover image was also chosen for Paul Smith's London Fashion Week show invitation for September 09.
Preface written by Paul Goodwin - Cross Cultural Curator, Tate Gallery, London
The exhibition 'Gentlemen of Bacongo' was held at the London Newcastle Project Space, London, as part of Photomonth November 2009. It then travelled to the Prince Claus Foundation in The Netherlands for six months.