Whether it’s Azzedine Alaia, or Elie Saab, Arabs have long been making their mark in the fashion world. In the realm of fashion photography, it’s the Yemeni-American Ibi Ibrahim who is making a splash. The Brooklyn-based artist just teamed up with Balmain for their latest campaign.
For context, Olivier Rousteing, creative director of the luxury label since 2011, called on Ibrahim to give life to his latest collection giving him almost carte-blanche. The result? A series of 12 black and white shots of his friends, in the comfort of his own house, that Ibrahim personified as the Maison’s newest line of resort wear.
“I wanted to celebrate the Balmain pieces while creating something personal and intimate that reflected my own craft,” he tells us. “In working with my friends, I would invite them to my home; a place they have been to and seen before. The notion of familiarity helped my friends become vulnerable in front of my camera.”
As you sift through the series, you’d expect the concept lingering behind it to be easy in both understanding and execution. However, the reality sits at the opposite of that. Here, Ibrahim explores the meaning of home and belonging in each one of their nooks and corners. Speaking from the immigrant perspective, the photographer explores a realm that many can relate to, but that too many out there can’t tangibly comprehend.
“As I look at the photographs now, I see in everyone that look of longing for home. Even though we’re Americans, we’re New Yorkers; there is another home that lives within us. Sadly, homes we can’t reach so easily as a result of ongoing war and conflict”
“Home is constant in my practice and I continue to explore it nowadays through the immigrant experience. I felt a sense of pride this time around, in exploring home through those stunning Balmain pieces and being able to bring my friends to the centre of the conversation. How often do you see an Iraqi, a Syrian and a Yemeni standing beautifully in those designs and being featured in such large platforms; in this case on Balmain’s platforms”
Granting Rousteing collection with new depth to his already mesmerizing collection of textiles and sun-soaked silhouettes, Ibrahim’s delivery for Balmain’s commission did not miss and served meaningful shots that would make any one of us want to think and probe our relationship to our very own homes.