What to wear in the Society of Ambianceurs and Elegant People?
A few months ago I posted some images from the Guardian magazine of the Gentlemen of the Bacongo. A selection of some very dapper looking men from the Congo, complete with spectacles, canes, bowler hats, and two-tone brogues in tow. The stunning, colour-rich photos, as it turned out, were by a Spanish photographer, Hector Mediavilla. The Guardian’s Guide now spotlighted on another photographer, Congo native, Baudouin Mouanda, who captures the eccentrically-attired men in their more natural poses.
And with more images, comes some more insight into these fashionable Bacogonese – The Sapeurs, as members of SAPE, The Society of Ambianceurs and Elegant People (or for me and you, The Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People), originate back to the French invasion of the Congo, when the myth of Parisian elegance was brought alive after the return of one Congonese man, Grenard André Matsoua, from Paris, in full grand French attire. Matsoua’s formalwear brought with him, not only respect and admiration but also the term, the First Grand Sapeur. Since then, young sapeurs have continued dressing in a manner of supreme elegance, and acting in a refined manner, seeing themselves as artists, adding a touch of glamour to their humble environments.
I think these might be, probably the most coolest men I have ever seen…and, The Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People, the finest name I have ever heard…