For an African model of Iman Bowie’s clout, there haven’t been that many editorials inspired by her inimitable style and presence. Rising to the heights of fashion in the late 70’s at the tail end of the twiggy craze, Iman made it fashionable to be a model of colour, changing many designers’ perception of silhouette. A polyglot, fluent in five languages including Arabic and her native Somali, Iman was a contravention of all the model stereotypes. Today she still is.
To Jennifer Nnamani, the creative force behind the Beau Monde Society (french for the beautiful world) Iman is a muse.
“As a young Nigerian girl, I first encountered Iman in Michael Jackson’s Remember the time music film,” Nnamani said in an interview with Okay Africa. “Her poise was magical and, since then, she has enamored me.”
Nnamani isn’t just a passive admirer of Iman’s work, for three years she worked on an editorial she calls ‘I.M.A.N‘, drawing inspiration from the model’s catalogue. She recreates some of Iman’s iconic editorials, taking care to match the details as closely as possible while retaining a sense of originality. With pieces from afro fashion brand Demestiks New York (who have dressed Beyonce), KAHKTI and Lumier by Bariano and a model Gale who bears an uncanny resemble to the muse for the shoot, Nnamani assembled a team late 2015 and shot her masterpiece in downtown New York.
The result is eighteen images that distill the essence of Iman and encapsulate what made and has kept her so successful in a industry notorious for its fickleness, vulnerable, yet assertive; the photos are fascinating. Nnamani is certainly one to watch.
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