Fatou Kebe is the young Parisian designer behind the lingerie line «fatou fatal». Kebe immigrated to France at the age of two in 1979. She pursued her degree in philosophy and law. After graduating, she worked as secretarial support to Managing Directors at various companies. By 2005, she grew tired of the discrimination she perceived in some parts of French society and decided to start her own company.
Kebe draws on her familiarity with French Civil Code, accounting, and other rules of business to begin «fatou fatal». She secured a grant from the Seine Saint Denis government and starts her lingerie dreams on only €8500. Through hard work and a bit of luck, Kebe is selected to join other artists and creators in residence at Ateliers de Paris. The workshops are part of the former property owned by Jean Paul Gaultier on Faubourg Saint-Antoine road.
I think it is incredibly hard to find a unique voice or hand in lingerie. The garments have been around for a very long time and although there are frequent improvements in materials and process, many designs are indistinguishable from other designs. Kebe provides a gust of fresh ideas in the lingerie space. Her vision is equal parts jewelry and seduction. Many women of African origin wear a pearl waist necklace known as “djaldjali”. In these cultures, the djaldjali is irresistible. It accentuates the hips and adorns the body with delicate stones and beads.
Kebe, originally from Senegal, is quite familiar with the djaldjali. In her country, it is often called a “bine-bine”. Kebe isn’t simply participating in cultural arbitrage. Her jewelry based lingerie includes real pearls, Swarovski crystals, fluorescent beads, shells, onyx, quartz, and other semi precious stones. The product is even sold in boxes that look much more like necklaces than the ubiquitous gift bags favoured by so many brands.
You can find Fatou for sale in Germany at Matadora Dessous and in France from French Lingerie Shop. The company told me, “We are looking for distributors to retail «fatou fatal» all over United States.” Currently, the 2006, 2007, and 2008 collections are for sale. The company said, “In June our new collection will be available on our website + an everyday wear collection.” Pricing for the collection is not for the timid. Sets range from €350-€995
Here is Kebe in an interview with 20 Minutes in France:
More pictures from the collection:
Pictures courtesy of «fatou fatal»