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Lessons in Style and Life from the Congo

Photo by Hector Mediavilla/Picturetank

 

La Societé des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes, or Society of Elegant Persons, began as an act of civil disobedience in the Congo, embracing a distinctly Congolese sense of style that adopted European clothes and transformed and surpassed them.  Today these gentleman don their extravagant garb to inspire the people around them and express a sense of self in uncertain times.  No longer traveling the dusty streets of Brazzaville by rickshaw as their forefathers once did, the “Sape” graciously salute neighbors as they walk.  Occasionally gathering for a friendly competition of the best dressed the Sape strut to enthusiastic crowds enjoying the simple pleasure of good company in a great suit.  More than a model of style the Sapeur are a model for living.  “When’s there’s peace, there’s Sape, and when there’s peace there’s life.”

This beautifully shot movie was created by Guinness. While it doesn’t do much to delve into the historical roots of Sape, or how the Sapeurs connect to the current situation in Brazzaville, it does a great job of capturing the men’s magnificent style. Sapeurs are having a bit of moment right now- may we also suggest checking out the equally classy sounds of Congolese rumba as an apt accompaniment?

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