Highsnobiety
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Logo of Champion
Champion

From the hours of 8 pm to 12:30 am, the gentle whisper of looped shakers hugs the courtyard at La Caserne in a warm embrace. Deep and resonant, the visceral thrum of the African log drum anchors the crowd to the steady bassline. A cocktail of timbres—deep house, jazz, and Kwaito—marry in a union of rhythm on the dance floor. Beneath mellow piano chords and sultry synths lie airy vocals forging a grandeur festival of sound, each pulse of Amapiano sinking party-goers deeper into joie de vivre. 

Highsnobiety, Highsnobiety

Behind the tantalizing beat is Champion, who enlisted friends at La Sunday—the Côte d’Ivorian-born music collective—to close out the Not In Paris series with a Fête de la Musqiue function. Bringing their Abidjan flair to Paris Fashion Week, La Sunday dished up the finest sensory feast of diaspora soundscapes. 

When Jeune Lio, Black Charles and crew (Fayçal Lazraq + Aurore Aoussi) started the West African music collective back in 2018, there were no day parties of such caliber in Côte d'Ivoire. The group envisioned hosting soirées that mirrored the vibrant energy of Parisian fêtes, bottling up the euphoria that comes with dancing to the pulse of the drums as the sun sets on a Sunday afternoon. It seemed La Sunday had exactly what the Ivory Coast needed, growing from an intimate 100-person “get-together” to a full-blown 10,000 attendees months later.

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Fast-forward six years, and they’re in Paris, manning the Champion stage in an open-air quadrangle of the former Château-Landon fire station, mixing tracks under a constellation of string lights as the sun dips below the skyline on fashion and music’s biggest day.

Amidst the delicate sway of bodies, sneakers squeak, and heeled boots click against the cement floors of the aged industrial building. Pops of neon yellow long-sleeved jerseys worn by a select few command attention from the teeming crowd. Designed by the classic American athleisure icon Champion, the front reads “Abidjan” and the back “225,” a nod to La Sunday’s home country’s area code. “Rue Princesse,” a call out to the Ivorian city's most beloved avenue, is sprawled across the back of another—both jerseys—a beacon of camaraderie, capturing the essence of the music collective’s fervent African identity. 

Highsnobiety, Highsnobiety

Behind the throne of the DJ decks, under the undulating shadow and staccato flicker of lights, stands the maestro of music and mood. Onstage, Jeune Lio commands the audience like a conductor of an orchestra, dishing the La Sunday sound special, made from the freshest ingredients: the infectious rhythms, energetic beats, and soulful melodies of afrobeats, rap, R&B, dancehall, and beyond. 

Lio sported his favorite piece from the collection. The vibrant hues of green, yellow, and red spell out “Abidjan over everything,” La Sunday’s very own mot d’ordre, the phrase standing out in the dusk light as he performed his set.

“I always listen to music to put me in the right mood,” Lio exclaims. A foolproof pre-event ritual, which saw him blast a triad of tunes from his portfolio of Nigerian musicians before reaching the gala later that eve. 

Alongside Lio, La Sunday friends and family take the podium, the finest Côte d'Ivoire and the region has to offer, including Phil est Mignon, a young, bright-eyed DJ who Lio describes as Abidjan’s “Next big thing.” But the Ivorian collective isn’t just exclusively Francophone Africa; they represent the entire continent, the sprawling diaspora, and Black people as a whole. Take DJ Beenouch; she’s a Senegalese DJ and co-founder of FOOL MOON; the rich colors of the flag unfurling in the electric air as it's flung, each fling in sync with the tempo.

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A voice onstage, next to the DJ, echoed into the abyss of the open-air dance floor, sending the audience into a frenzy. “WHEN I SAY AMA, YOU SAY PIANO,” he shrieked into the handheld mic, the crowd awaiting the commands of the MC. “AMA,” the speakers hollered. “PIANO” the onlookers bellowed back, erupting into a chaotic choreography of dance. 

“The MC is the heartbeat of our culture in Ivory Coast,” Lio explains, his voice brimming with pride. “It’s how we bring that vibrant Ivorian party spirit here.” The evening’s master of ceremonies is Ivorian–native Karel, who acts as the lifeline of the party, his presence alone keeping the bacchanal alive.

Music is the glue to the diaspora, the vessel that hosts these diasporic voyages across cultures. For Lio, “music is Africa’s soft power,” with the sounds of afrobeats and amapiano becoming pillars of African ethos and the largest cultural export of the region to the world. Champion and La Sunday’s fêtes de la Musique celebration is a passionate love letter to this, capturing the vibrant spirit of Ivorian culture and transplanting it into the heart of Paris. And so, in the words of La Sunday, “Abidjan over everything.”

Discover more from the Champion x Highsnobiety x La Sunday NIP collection here.

  • PhotographyAbdi Alasow
  • Creative DirectorNikki Mirsaeid
  • Creative LeadBrandon Bostic
  • Senior EditorCzar Van Gaal
  • Associate EditorJason Meggyesy
  • VP of ProductionKatie Karole
  • Talent Business ManagerElise Sullivan
  • Account DirectorJohanna Gerhardt
  • Account Managers Jasmine Hill & Dana Davitt
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