High Fashion During Wartime

Italian photographer Daniele Tamagni has a new book, Gentlemen of Bacongo, that delves into the lives of sapeurs, fantastically well-dressed Congolese men who live in both Kinshasa and Paris. The hook is that, despite living under the weight of catastrophic civil war in the Congo, these men — and only men — attire themselves in exquisite clothes, shoes and accessories.

The result is often dazzling.

I wonder why there aren’t women who are part of this expensive subset. After all, the Congo is much like West Africa in the sense that lush, high-quality and elaborately-styled fabrics and jewelry are the norm for both men and women. The division may hint at the skewed male-female relations in Congo. But I completely reject the idea that there’s anything “strange” about these Congolese men dressing well. Fashion is not limited to the Western world. Nor is it limited to people who have wealth or who are not living during wartime, as these photos brilliantly illustrate.

Photos via Jezebel.com

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