These images are from two series of postcards produced between 1900 and 1910 by the photographer F.W.H Arkhurst in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast. Arkhurst, a member of the Nzima ethnic group born in the Gold Coast , was a timber exporter who lived in Assinie and later in Grand Bassam. His studio photographs capture perfectly the then fashionable style of women’s dress along the African coast from the Niger Delta to the Ivory Coast as families grew prosperous from trading opportunities in the expanding colonial economies. Hair was swept high and adorned with gold jewellery or wrapped in cloth, tailored dress was of imported cotton prints, often with a shawl or wrap of locally woven fabrics.
This is just a small selection of the photos. Click here and here for the full, amazing gallery. It’s so amazing to see how beautifully these women styled their natural hair. As a culture we need to get back to this! Ladies, what are your thoughts?