DANGEROUS & CAPTIVATING, THE REGAL MAGIC OF THE IVORIAN KING CROCODILE LEGEND COMES ALIVE IN BRASS, SILVER & VERMEIL BODY ADORNMENTS RANGING FROM SUBTLE TO STRIKING.

Now based full-time in Abidjan, OHIRI creative director Akebehi Kpolo looked to Côte d’Ivoire’s folklore to inspire the third installment in a trilogy of collections: Outlines, a gift for the legendary King Crocodile.

“In Akan animist Culture, the crocodile is a complex and mysterious animal. Depending on his posture, he represents something. I have selected 3 representations of the crocodile. Alone, he is a symbol of adaptability because it lives both in water and on land. Siamese crocodiles symbolise unity in diversity. Two crocodiles biting the other’s tail are a symbol of dualism, particularly of male and female gender symmetry.”

— AKÉBÉHI KPOLO

The core design element of its key pieces, the guiding line, is the silhouette of a half-submerged crocodile. A vivid blue lapis lazuli stone is set as its ominous, roving eye, dangerous & captivating. Striking pieces like the Crocodile King crossbody necklace capture the regal magic that comes alive in their stories, while subtle pieces like the paw-shaped lip ring quietly hint at the tales’ dark edge. The brass-accented woven bag, OHIRI’s first foray into accessories, is modeled after a traditional Akan stool and speaks directly to the legend by representing one of the gifts left on the water bank.

“The whole collection is an offering I would like to make to the King Crocodile. In my imagination, I gave him the collection and he sent me his messenger to check the pieces. It seemed logical to me to also pay a tribute to the city of Yamoussoukro, forgotten capital of the Côte d’Ivoire, yet so rich in history and culture.”

[Yamoussoukro is the birthplace of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the first president of Côte d’Ivoire, and is home to an artificial lake filled with the region’s magnificent crocodiles.]

“Everything in this city constantly reminds of the presence of the (king) crocodile, so invisible and so present at the same time.”

CREDITS

Photographer: AKOH
Creative Director: AKEBEHI KPOLO
Art Director: AKOH
Assistant photographer: SAMUEL ADJO
Muses: MAWA DIARASSOUBA and ABDEL DOUMBIA
Stylist: AKEBEHI KPOLO
Stylist Assistants : LAURA BIHL and SARAH BOZON
Costume Designer : LAURA BIHL