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Prêt-À-Poundo: Tai Chunn Presents Elie Kuame Couture [NYFW]

Fashion expert Tai Chunn with MVC Foundation presents Elie Kuame Couture during New York Fashion Week.


*Elie Kuame Couture - Black Fashion Week Paris (Photography: Nicolas Romain)

Ivorian/Lebanese designer Elie Kuame has never been the type to back down from the challenge of bringing together contradictory styles. Kuame has designed incredible pieces over the years that combine his distinct, stylish signature with creativity. His creations show a unique ability to assemble materials that worlds apart from one another  like lace, leather, silk, gazal, crepe, fur pearl, tree bark, precious stones, and many others.

*Elie Kuame Couture — BFW Paris                                                        *Designer Elie Kuame — BFW Paris (Photography: Nicolas Romain)

Born in Belgium and raised in the Ivory Coast, Kuame rapidly developed a contemplative gaze on women in his family, particularly his mother. He claims he was fascinated by feminine grace, elegance and beauty. In 2006, while he was living in France, Kuame merged his artistic talents with his passion and founded his own line Elie Kuame Couture. Since then, he's dedicated his designs to enhance women's beauty with elegant, stunning, striking, and breathtaking attires. Elie Kuame crafted his art in France, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, China, and has demonstrated his talent in Gabon, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and French West Indies.

*Source: Joe Kohen/Getty Images North America

His New York Fashion Week event was organized by fashion expert Tai Chunn for the Monique Vanessa Chunn Foundation for Cerebral Brain Aneurysm Research. In 1997, Chunn founded the MVC Foundation in honor of his sister who suddenly died from a cerebral brain aneurysm. Since then, the foundation has become one of the leading runway production companies in the fashion industry.

"I have had two loves my entire life: fashion & sister," stated Tai Chunn, "I used to sew outfits from the sleeves of our old clothes and help my sister create cheers for her cheerleading squad (she was captain of course). We shared many secrets and dreams; it's only suitable that I combine both loves during the legendary NYFW! MVC Foundation is a homage to my sister Monique Vanessa Chunn and Elie Kuame is what kept me in fashion for over 20 years! He has that twinkle in the eye of a young designer that gives you that grumble in the pit of your stomach. What keeps me honest is being able to give back to the world the love my sister gave to everyone she you touched in her short time on this earth."

*Source: Joe Kohen/Getty Images North America

*Source: Joe Kohen/Getty Images North America

*Source: Joe Kohen/Getty Images North America

*Source: Joe Kohen/Getty Images North America

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7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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