“How is our très cher Couvent ?” Is the sort of question Emmanuelle Picon is used to hearing by now. As the inheritor of this jewel...
For two and a half years, this small and colourful shop has brightened the 9th arrondissement. Keur Pigalle invites us to revisit Senegalese and African crafts. Alfi Brun is the mastermind behind the joyful and vibrant brand. Traditional wax fabrics from West Africa become household linens, blankets and upholstered stools lighting everything up producing a festival of colour.
Keur, 39 rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle – 75009 Paris
Alfi, what is your background and what made you start your brand?
I was born and grew up in Senegal, in a popular district of Dakar. In addition to school, I helped my mother who worked in the markets. Then I arrived in France, fifteen years ago and have worked in ready-to-wear. Along with the birth of my son came the need to embark upon my own brand. I wanted to showcase Sengalese artisanal craft without falling into the cliches. My interests lie in weaving a link between my Sengalese heritage and western and French culture.
What is the spirit of Keur?
Joy, colour and simplicity. Even if what we are doing is very coloured, it remains simplistic in that it’s without detail or fuss. Often people adore wax fabrics but don’t necessarily know how to apply them in a complementary way with the various patterns and colours. Thus, I wanted to work the wax but in an additional way so that individually you can bring in small personal touches. The wax we source from Africa. The fabrics there are plentiful. The hardest part is finding the right one as there are so many to choose from. I also work with Melody Bashet who is a longtime friend of mine and a talented designer and artist. It is she who is responsible for the design of the shop and we decide together the concept and motives for each collection. Then everything we produce is handmade in limitation.
Le wax, on nage dedans en Afrique. Ces tissus là, il y en a partout. Le plus dur est de trouver le bon motif. Je travaille d’ailleurs avec Mélodie Baschet, qui est une amie de longue date et une artiste designer talentueuse. C’est elle qui s’occupe de la conception de la boutique et nous faisons ensemble les choix de motifs pour les collections. Ensuite tout est fait à la main et en séries limitées.
What inspires you?
This many sound simple but it is my mother who inspires me the most. I worked with her when I was younger which was not easy but she taught me human values and what is important for me to find my own sense of self in order to create a brand. Keur means “home” in Wolof, which is actually my mother tongue. All the pieces we create are made in Senegal and in the district where I grew up.
Any upcoming projects?
My biggest wish is to expand ourselves further and to explore and distribute other types of African art.
Credits : Eve Campestrini @thesocialitefamily