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Imane Ayissi Couture Spring – Summer 2022 “Foufoullou”

Foufoullou

“Foufoullou” means both “mixed” and “together” in the Ewondo language of Cameroon. These words convey both the essence of my work, the renewed joy of bringing cultures together, and a dream of today. The past two years have been challenging for everyone. In Cameroon, particularly, people are divided, while tensions are rising elsewhere. Around the world, exchanges and claims are becoming more intense. Haute Couture is a theater stage where the mood of the times can be questioned and the harmony of dreams celebrated.

This season, I have chosen to collide two worlds: that of the “slogan” garment and that of celebration. Borrowing from West African textile cultures, with their meaningful printed cloths, and the culture of message T-shirts, now applied to Haute Couture, the former loudly proclaims the need to come together. Facing the great challenges of our time, including ecology and the current pandemic, it’s urgent to unite and imagine new ways of living and defining new common goods. Being together also means wanting to meet, to dance together, after the successive lockdowns that kept us apart, with the closure of cultural and festive places or pandemic-related restrictions that isolated us. Because fashion has neither customs nor borders, I summoned the traditional festivals of Central and West Africa, the spirit of the masks, their raphia fiber costumes, their promising profiles to make them dance in Paris on the stage of a re-invented Palace. In this ceremony to re-enchant our world, between ritual and parade, sequins flirt with Ghana’s kente, Cameroon’s dyed bazins with electric-colored silks, and lime green Calais lace with Nigeria’s adire dyes.

This collection features a play between the generosity of square cuts, inspired by the boubou, the amplitude and volume associated with social status in Africa, and the energy of Western tailoring, with structured cuts that reshape the body. And as always, the work of African artisans (the dyers of Nigeria, weavers of Ghana and Cameroon, raphia from Madagascar), the excellence of French and Italian suppliers with silks (taffeta, satin, reverse satin crepe, fluid crepe, organza) or lace, the authenticity of ecological materials (a fluid bamboo jersey) and the handiwork (embroideries or applied raphia, strand by strand) carried out in Imane’s workshop.