Creations by Senegalese designer and Dakar Fashion Week organiser Adama Paris during show outside Dakar, Senegal. Credit - Finbarr O’Reilly
Senegal bursts with color, from the bubblegum pink algae that dye Lake Retba to the blue and yellow mini buses, car rapides, that navigate Dakar’s stylish streetscapes. So it’s no wonder Africa’s westernmost capital city is also a blossoming fashion capital. Arrive on Delta’s direct route from New York, then weave your way through the fabric of a city defined by its modern architecture and contemporary craftspeople.
It’s already old news that Chanel hosted its first runway show in Africa last December at the picturesque former Palais de Justice. In fact: Chanel never left. In January, the French luxury house opened a new exhibition space, le19M Dakar, within the Theodore Monod African Art Museum. The free gallery offers local artisans the opportunity to dye and weave new works on site to display alongside the museum’s permanent collection. The gift shop is curated by one of the city’s most influential entrepreneurs, L’Artisane designer Khadija Ba, who’s also behind nearby concept shop Le Sandaga–an homage to the city’s famed Sandaga Market. L’Artisane is part of a new wave of Dakar womenswear labels getting worldwide acclaim (and dressing celebrities—Naomi Campbell is a fan). If there’s not enough room in your suitcase, pick up a steamer trunk and make the voyage home aboard one of Viking’s transatlantic cruise ships.
Chic travelers can stay at the waterfront Radisson Blu Dakar Sea Plaza, located in the Fann district on the Cape Verde Peninsula. And before you go, catch a glimpse of Black Rock Senegal, founded by Kehinde Wiley, the artist behind Barack Obama’s presidential portrait. Wiley’s waterfront home hosts public talks and screenings by artists in residence, such as recently Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sophia Nahli Allison.