From her workshop in Marrakesh, Amine Bendriouich speaks with a deep and assured voice. At the end of the phone, we can hear deep breaths. Maybe on a shisha? One imagines it in a sofa, enveloped by volutes of smoke, caressing its mustache handlebars.
At 34, this extravagant creator has established himself as a key figure in trendy Morocco. Its AB-CB label, for “Amine Bendriouich Couture & Bullshit” launched in 2012, is prized by artists from around the world.
“I dressed Keziah Jones, The Grass People, Massilia Sound System, Izia, Will Smith, Alicia Keys, JR, and even Madonna, who celebrated her sixtieth birthday in Marrakesh! I am regularly asked by my clients for events like Burning Man, the AMFAR Gala, or the Prince Albert of Monaco Gala”.
The couturier Jean-Charles de Castelbajac loves it. Last September, the American version of the magazine “Vogue” ranked among the 100 most influential creative of the moment.
Deconstruct orientalist clichés
Originally from Marrakesh, Amine Bendriouich is a graduate of the ESMOD Tunis school. He has won many awards, including the OpenMyMed prize from the Mediterranean House of Fashion Crafts in Marseille last year. He imagines unisex lines (especially dresses, skirts and tunics) very pop.
“Part of my production is in Casablanca. My cashmere and silk sweaters, as well as tailoring special orders are made in Italy. I work a lot with natural materials like silk, wool and cotton”.
But above all, the AB-CB collections are part of a militant approach: the deconstruction – often with humor – of orientalist stereotypes. “I do not do kaftans, as the West expects from a Moroccan designer, but that does not prevent me from promoting the heritage of my country by using know-how like embroidery techniques and weaving, leather work or trimmings”.
The Berberliner of the Medina
The result?Tracksuits and bombers adorned with embroidery in hand, and traditional outfits illuminated by futuristic neon lights.
Amine Bendriouich lived for a few years in Berlin. There was opened a showroom maliciously called Berberliner. And his collection “Ich bin ein Berberliner” was a huge box! He then worked in Casablanca before returning to Marrakesh two years ago.
In his current shop in the heart of the Medina, “Welcome to the Kingdom”, his collections are presented alongside avant-garde African design creations. With his friends, he also organizes exhibitions and free parties with DJs on a roof of the Medina. He is about to open a second address, and an online store.
“My journey proves that one can succeed and live on what fascinates us, even if one has grown up in a country belonging to what the West scornfully describes as third world”.