Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Dapper Men Of The Congo

Les Sapeurs is their name and fashion is their game where colour has no shame. These are a group of Congolese men who love to dress like a million bucks — even though they live in povertyTheir tradition has been around for a long time and you may very well know of them.  Right now I'm a little obsessed with them which prompted me to post this little article. Please be sure to watch the 5 minute Guinness documentary at the bottom of this post. 
These uber stylish men became quite well known around the world after the Guinness documentary was released in 2014. The term sapeurs comes from the original French name for the club the men belong to: Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes (SAPE), which translates loosely as the Society of Elegant Persons of the Congo.
The tradition began in the 1920s, when the Republic of Congo was still a French colony. Many Congolese people were fascinated with French sophistication and decided to emulate the styles. They adapted it and slowly made it into something of their own where colour and accessories are two rules that must be adopted. And as you can see, they certainly have made style something of their own. 
In present day Brazzaville, les sapeurs spend big money on looking smart and dapper. They spend thousands of dollars on designer outfits and shoes. YSL, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Kenzo are only some of the designers they cherish. Crocodile skin shoes, gold cuff links, hand crafted belt buckles are only a few of accessories they spend their savings on. These men are normal civilians: from carpenters, taxi drivers, policemen to street vendors and miners who live in one of the poorest countries on earth, with more than half of the population living below the poverty line and the average yearly income is $4500.   
However it's their passion, a way of expressing their character and individuality, and most make sacrifices to purchase these special pieces. They believe they won't have a future elsewhere and are therefore making the most of their life amongst the poverty stricken streets. They want to shine in such harsh environments and when they gather together on the streets, in bars or in their own little private gatherings they have a wonderful time. I don't blame them.
They are an extraordinary, peaceful group of men who just want to live life and have fun.  We in the western world could certainly learn a thing or two from them. 

Please watch this gorgeous 5 minute documentary. 

See you soon

Gessica X

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Ron Isaacs' Art of Illusion

It is hard to believe that the sculptures you see below are made of plywood. The fashion + flowery art pieces are the creations of Ron Isaacs, the American artist who has had a 30+ year passion for making these intricate three dimensional wall hangings.

From a far, they look like starched dresses and painted leaves. Take a closer look, you will see the fabric, leaves and branches are carefully constructed pieces made from Finnish birch plywood. Combining Trompe L'oeil painting with intricate wood assembly, his aim is to have you question what you are really seeing. 
I am still fascinated by the old simple idea of resemblance, the very first idea of art after tools and shelter: That an object made of one material can take on the outward appearance and therefore some of the "reality" of another,” explains Isaacs.
His three primary recurring subjects over the years are vintage clothing for the way they continue the life of the past into the present; plant materials in the form of sticks, leaves and flowers; and found objects. He goes on to say "they combine in appropriate or surprising juxtapositions, sometimes purely as a visual poem of sorts and sometimes as an image with real psychological resonance."
I am still in awe at how real these pieces look. So much fabulous talent out there in this wonderful world and I am happy to share some of it with you. I hope you enjoyed. See you next time.
Gessica X

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Bohemian Decor

A bohemian at heart, my love of all things boho does not just stop at fashion. It extends to decor, furniture, colours, accessories, fabrics, nature...anything really that seem to have the free-spirited feel about it. 
Bohemian decor can be elegant, shabby chic, OTT baroque, or rustic. There are no rules yet there are rules to boho decor if that makes any sense?. The main rule for me is 'mismatching' items. The no rule for me is injecting my 'own personal' style: whether it's colour or minimal colour, crochet, fur, candles, flowers, intricately carved or painted items, shells, macrame, plants, gold, vintage or new furniture, art, wall hangings etc etc. 
As I like a variety of bohemian styles, from the pure white look, to rustic and through to the bold and colourful gypsy style, I decided to share with you what my favourite bohemian inspirations are.  Enjoy :-)

The Neutral Effect

Rustic & Natural

Bold & Bright


Dodie Rosekrans in her Venetian Palazzo Brandolini

As you have seen here, you can veer into a few directions with bohemian style. You can create the looks cheaply or if you have the money, you can buy a Palazzo and do it the rich way! 
Either way, have fun if you are in the middle of a bohemian decor overhaul. 
See you next time. 
Love Gessica X

Friday, 15 May 2015

Jimmy Choo Meets Jimmy Choo

WARNING to all dog & handbag lovers, your bank account may take a big dip after reading this. 

With 238,000 Instagram followers, Brazilian artist Rafael Mantesso has certainly captured some attention, or should I say his pooch has. A bull terrier named Jimmy Choo (yes after the famous shoe and accessories designer).
Following a divorce that left him with nothing but blank white walls and the company of his dog Jimmy Choo, Mantesso went about filling the walls with illustrations using Jimmy as his muse for the drawings. He turned his personal misfortune into something comical and fun. Drawings such as Jimmy singing, having a  shower, playing DJ decks, sleeping, playing dress-ups and much more have made it on his walls. 
He photographed them and posted them on Instagram. When they started gaining worldwide attention, Jimmy Choo (the designer) came across the images and couldn't resist collaborating with the artist and dog for his Pre-Fall 2015 collection. 
In a brand statement Ms Choo said "All of a sudden, I had friends from all over the world forwarding me links to Rafael's enchanting work featuring his loveable English bull terrier, Jimmy Choo. I was instantly charmed by the way he animated his captivating dog into his artwork, I had never seen anything like it! His work is so playful, clever and witty, and we struck up an immediate friendship on line. I just knew that I had to incorporate his work into a collection". 

The collection sees Mantesso's designs on bags, purses, clutches and iPhone cases. The theme revolves around a day in the life of a Jimmy the dog, leading an extravagant lifestyle. 
And just for fun, Choo designed a dog collar.....
To celebrate this fun collection, Choo released an animated film created by London based animator Jo Ratcliffe, that tells the story of a day in the life of celebrity pooch Jimmy Choo. Watch this fabulous short video below....

 So cute, So much fun. 
Rafael Mantesso and Jimmy

What a clever, talented man. For the lonely out in the world, this is an inspiration: to know that time on your hands and a sad heart can be a good thing. I wonder if Jimmy the dog knows he is famous and Mantesso's wife is kicking herself :-))

Until next time
Ciao for now
Gessica X

P.S. Just a reminder, to read my articles on fashion styling please follow my blog stylebygessica