Fulaba Founder, Haby Barry visited Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire in October 2022 and creative directed a photo shoot at the iconic Hôtel Ivoire in the Cocody neighborhood of Abidjan. Haby recalls tales of Hôtel Ivoire that her mother shared of the 5-star hotel, which was the vision of Côte D’Ivoire’s first President Houphoüet-Boigny (in office from 1960-1993) and built in 1963 by Israeli architect and developer, Moshe Mayer. The building designers were Heinz Fenchel, German-Israeli architect and Israeli architect, Tommy Leiterdorf.
The design of Hôtel Ivoire is unique and it stands as a landmark of the region. In fact, it was the most prestigious and modern building on the continent at the time of its unveiling. “The auditorium of the conference centre has been described as an edifice that resembles a tortoise (see below image). Apparently, Houphoüet-Boigny’s intention here was to reassure his people that, while the nation’s progress may be slow, it is also steady.”
Mely in Fulaba’s gold dipped Fulani earrings-large version and gold dipped Tukulor necklace, ring and cuff bracelet. Dress by Djarabi.petitecherie
Dignitaries, heads of states and celebrities from all over the world have stayed at Hôtel Ivoire including Michael Jackson, who visited in February of 1992 as part of a goodwill tour of Africa. The property is now Sofitel Abidjan Hôtel Ivoire as Sofitel acquired the building in 2011 after Côte D’Ivoire experienced political unrest in the late 90s into early 2000s and civil war in 2003-2008 and again in 2011. The hotel was closed for two years “for a major renovation conducted by the Lebanese architect Pierre Fakhoury.”
“Many now see the iconic hotel as a building that combines innovation, modernity and history in a refined decor.” Fulaba Founder, Haby Barry and photographer, Keren Lasme also saw this and felt the architecture along with the natural scenery of the Hôtel Ivoire property would make for an excellent backdrop to capture the essence of “African High Culture” featuring clothing from local designers including Olooh and African Fashion Love (featured in top image with button-up shirt and skirt respectively) as well as Ysand in addition to the exquisitely handcrafted African jewelry by Fulaba to adorn the Ivorian native model, Mely.
Check out Fulaba’s Instagram page to see the best photos and reels from the shoot.