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Photographers Hector Mediavilla and Baudouin Mouanda at Musée Dapper in Paris: L’univers de la SAPE.

Their canon of saints reads: Pierre Cardin, Roberto Cavalli, Dior, Fendi, Ferré, Gaultier, Gucci, Jourdan, Miyake, Prada, Saint Laurent, Versace, Yamamoto. A typical ballad runs: “Listen my love. On our wedding day/The label will be Torrente/The label will be Giorgio Armani/The label will be Daniel Hechter/The label for the shoes will be J. M. Weston.” Brussels, their shopping mecca, is referred to in Congolese as Lola, meaning paradise.
These are sapeurs, acolytes of a 25-year-old movement called la SAPE—La Societé des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes (aka Kitendi, the religion of the cloth)—that revolves around the possession of the most expensive, most luxurious, most extravagant fashion in the world. Followers of SAPE wear $10,000 jackets and $500 shoes, but these mostly young Congolese men otherwise barely eke out a living in the rubble of Kinshasa and Brazzaville or the ghettos of Paris and Brussels, washing dishes or washing bodies, and sometimes selling their own.” -Anna Weinberg

October 15, 2009 - July 11, 2010
L’univers de la SAPE at Musée Dapper [1]
35 bis Rue Paul Valéry
75016 Paris
tel: 01.45.00.91.75
Metro: Victor Hugo, Charles de Gaulle - Etoile
RER: Charles de Gaulle - Etoile

M, Wed-Sun: 11am-7pm
Closed on Tuesday