Sustainable Berber Fashion Reclaimed and Reimagined
The debut collection from Bophonysse (pronounced Bofonis) launches in spring 2021 and draws on visionary designer Badra’s Berber and Algerian heritage, translating traditional North African fashions into luxurious, sustainable, couture evening and bridal wear. The collection, entitled Coral Clear, is available to view in a short film by Harvey Marcus. The film was recently grantred the Best Costume design award from Cannes Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival, Art Stream, and others. It was also nominated as Best Fashion Lookbook at the London Fashion Film festival. It is set to the poem Coral Clear by ‘The Asubonteng’ Evon Adjei, which acts as a mission statement for this new British design house, calling out to women who are searching for a means of expressing their individuality.
The film begins with a hooded silver cape being removed revealing the bridal look, which represents the dying coral of the Mediterranean coming to life. The collection is made up of 26 garments in vivid silks, bejewelled with bright beads and adorned with hand-painted symbolic images honouring the timely themes of women and nature.
The sustainable, slow fashion collection takes inspiration from the natural world, most notably red Mediterranean coral which is under threat, using it to represent the grandeur of women and reflecting the vivid colours and boldness in nature. The coral is echoed in headdresses, jewellery and patterns in the range. Flowers, especially the design and shape of tulips, are also celebrated. Yellow is the key colour, which symbolises the sun and life in North African culture.
Yves Saint Laurent famously found the Berber women inspirational, but seeing their fashions re-imagined by a designer of Berber heritage is truly empowering. The Berber women are known throughout the world for their stunning jewellery which represents their independence while portraying their beauty and strength. Their spirit is perfectly encapsulated within this collection. Bophonysse’s butterfly-like logo is inspired by the Berber letter Yaz and represents freedom, which is the meaning of Amazigh, another name for the Berber people. The name Bophonysse is a reimagining of Sophonisba, the North African noblewoman who defied the Romans.
The pieces elegantly fuse cultures with experimental glamour and a hint of Afrofuturism,
creating something new, fresh and inspiring.