AFRIDA . Avec Plaisir — Experience Fashion as a Symbiosis of African and European Culture
I would like to introduce you to the fashion label AFRIDA — Avec Plaisir. Designer Annastasya Frida Coulibaly used her two forenames to compose the label’s name AFRIDA. It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that it’s spelling is close to the name of her home continent, Africa. Coulibaly, who creates beautiful feminine, extravagant and timeless designs, was born in Ivory Coast, West Africa, before she came to Germany as a young child. She was educated in Germany and studied psychology, when she realised that her heart belonged to fashion and creation. She chose to learn the tools of the trade by training to become a dressmaker in Frankfurt am Main. Her first official collection featured glamorous, tight fitting dresses made of black and gold glittering elastic fabrics paired with see-through materials and cutouts. However, the main bulk of her collection was made of African wax prints, with bright, striking colours. Mini skirts, trousers and tight fitting tops catered to the female body and boasting with broad all-over patterns and luminous colours.
For a time she worked from Frankfurt with a seamstress in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Her desire was to create handmade, high-quality pieces, but under fair conditions for her partners. In 2018 Coulibaly finally moved her label completely to her ancestral home and has since formed her base in Abidjan.
Flowing, light fabrics in pastel colours have recently dominated her creations. Dresses with ruffles and bows perfectly highlight the female form. The two-piece outfits of skirts or trousers with tops are featured with frills and remarkable details, too. All pieces are stylish and elegant, but still go hand in hand with a playfulness that seems to be intrinsic in AFRIDA’s collections. Furthermore, the brand presents an array of headbands. These can have either subtle pastel colours or the typical bright colours and bold patterns of associated with African wax prints. Coulibaly’s designs are a symbiosis of various cultural influences, merging European and African styles, and thus forming unique, striking as well as extravagant creations.
One of my favourite pieces of the new collection is a champagne coloured dress. The satin fabric falls gently around the body’s silhouette. The neckline is pleated and forms a V-neckline due to the overlay of the fabric. The waist and hips are accentuated by a ruched, figure-hugging midsection. The skirt of the dress is floor-length and falls soft along the body. It is a perfect example of the elegance of AFRIDA’s pieces, which do not seem to be bound to specific trends or time.
Another favourite is a bright yellow dress that seems to be the epitome of a summer outfit. Its light fabric falls in folds from the waist down, where it is tied with a bow. The mid-length sleeves end in a wide puff, adding a certain cuteness to the dress.
A further, rather striking two-part outfit is a combination of a pink high-waisted skirt with a white off-shoulder crop top. The skirt with it’s dazzling colour has prominent ruffles around the edges, which is reminiscent of Spanish Flamenco attire. For the top the designer chose a lace pattern material, which is again playfully framed with frills around the neckline and sleeves.
Annastasya Frida Coulibaly mostly models for the designs herself. This has been part of her routine starting from the beginning of her career. As she knows every aspect of her pieces in detail, she is aware of how to best present them in order to accentuate their unique qualities.
Recently she has started to engage in a new sector with AFRIDA — Home. I am excited to see what this new part of her business will bring forth.
Thank you Annastasya Frida Coulibaly @afridaavecplaisir for allowing me to present your label.
For more information about the fashion label check out her Facebook and Instagram pages: @afridaavecplaisir
Photos: Courtesy of Annastasya Frida Coulibaly