AFRICA FASHION FOCUS: JENKE AHMED TAILLY
If you are familiar with A list stars like Beyoncé, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Solangé and Ciara, you may also be familiar with Jenke Ahmed Tailly, who has been instrumental in shaping their style, over the last couple of years. However, many may wonder who Jenke Ahmed Tailly is and why he has received such recognition. This piece reveals more about this leading stylist.
Jenke Ahmed Tailly is an Ivorian/ Senegalese fashion stylist, consultant and creative director based in New York and Paris. He started out as a retailer at Chanel and Barneys, then tried out modelling for a while, before giving it up to become a marketing director and fashion editor. This paved the way for a career as a stylist.
He got his big break when he styled Beyoncé for the 90th anniversary issue of France’s most prestigious fashion publication, L’Officiel, which was published in March 2011. According to reports, he insisted on styling a black woman for the cover because the magazine had only featured two black women in 90 years. He finally selected Beyoncé as the ideal choice to represent and honour the African woman.
Beyoncé was highly impressed with his ideas and after the shoot, immediately offered him the position of creative director on her team, a role he took on for the next three years. He even went ahead to work on her hugely successful album 4, before parting ways to focus on freelancing. Over the years, he has created a signature style and cited the source of his inspiration while speaking to fashion model Iman Abulmajid. “I wander a lot, walk a lot, with my eyes and all senses wide awake…I get my inspiration literally from everywhere”.
Over time, he took on one of America’s most stylish couples Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, adding them to his growing list of clients, hardly ever taking credit, until recently when he stepped into the spotlight.
He landed the role of creative director for L’Officiel’s September 2016 issue, the Gang of Africa campaign featuring Ciara, Maria Borges, Iman, Ajak Deng among others. The theme Black Beauty Matters, was an appreciation of the beauty of black women all over the world and the colour of their skin, as well as the creative cultural force that has been the continent of Africa. According to Tailly in a recent interview:
“Africa has been such an immense source of inspiration for years to many of the greatest artists in history. Picasso, Le Corbusier, Seydou Keita, Cocteau, Brancusi, Poiret, Saint Laurent, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Wole Soyinka, Azzedine Alaia, Miuccia Prada etc. All of these masters’ stylizations of features really resonate with Africa. As a son of the mother land along with the blessing of God, I strongly feel it is my role to show the immense and diverse beauty of Africa in a different way by focusing on a specific culture, country, region etc.”
In a relatively short time, Tailly has already been successful in leaving a lasting imprint on the world of fashion and continues to turn global attention to the African continent.
Images: www.beyoncé.com, www.gettyimages.com, www.thesource.com
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