Afro-diasporic magazine and media platform Air Afrique is back. Through an exclusive partnership with Italian luxury brand Bottega Veneta, the brand made its official return in Paris on June 23, 2023.
Conceived by a young collective in Paris, and inspired by magazines of the 20th century, the moniker was birthed from the pan-African airline of the same name. Co-owned by several African nations, including: Senegal, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger, Congo, and Chad—the airline was operational between 1961 and 2002.
“We want to revive the African transcendence that Air Afrique represented. Our mission is to preserve this heritage, to put Air Afrique back in the cultural conversation, and to build on their example of cultural engagement,” says co-creative director Lamine Diaoune.
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“Air Afrique was more than an airline. It was a cultural platform. We want to share the Air Afrique archive and create our own archive—to capture this moment of change in Black awareness and expression,” adds co-creative director Djiby Kebe
The brand will release a limited-edition series of blankets by Franco-Sudanese designer, Abdel El Tayeb, a designer in the Bottega Veneta studio. Specially commissioned by Matthieu Blazy to mark the relaunch, each blanket is a unique composition of the finest wool, silver leather, and shearling from the Bottega Veneta archive.
Under his personal label, El Tayeb combines Sudanese craftsmanship with Western tailoring in an aesthetic that mixes couture and ease. The label aspires to create a space for Afro-descendants to express their multicultural identity. The Air Afrique Afro-futuristic blanket designs are inspired by the vibrant patterns of the traditional toub dress worn by El Tayeb’s mother.