Who is BB ?
"I was born on the 24th of March 1992, I'm French and from Toulouse but I also grew up in a small Spanish village near Montpellier. The eponymous brand name is not easy to remember but I will explain its origin!
My family name, spelled Berkane, comes from my grandfather who was born in Oran. This is also a Moroccan town on the border with Algeria. He was a painter, opera singer and fashion designer in Oran and in France. I owe my passions for drawing and dressmaking to him. Ever since I knew how to hold a pencil, I have been drawing.
I have created a happy, peaceful and protective bubble for myself. I find my balance there and I live it today like a meditation."
What's your background ?
"I studied in Paris to learn more about pattern making (my father always told me "you can draw but you can't sew!"). So I went to the Institut Superieur des Arts Appliqués and specialised in pattern making. I then worked for Antik Batik for a while. Then I left for New Delhi where I worked for the Master of Indian Haute Couture Manish Arora. Brands with ethnic inspirations where colour and embroidery work are revered!"
Why Bali ?
"I couldn't find my place in France and I wanted to explore other cultures: especially Hinduism which has always fascinated me! At 22, I went to work for Manish Arora in Delhi. It was a great experience in human terms and I was completely free artistically. However, I had more difficulty with the oppressive daily life when you are 1. blonde 2. European and 3. young. So much so that it forged and strengthened me!
At the same time, I had an offer from a brand in Bali. I didn't hesitate for a second, I did my business and a month later I was there. I immediately fell in love with the island. Literally a world apart. It was obvious, a burst of light, I was finally in my place. I could never leave it!"
Where your inspirations come from ?
"My main inspiration comes from ethnic groups from all countries and from old folk textiles. The Samburus, Masai, Kogi or even the Gypsy Cobras in India, I love the marked features and the looks of these tribal women. I am interested in their traditions, their history and their issues. Of course Bali alone is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. The devotion of the inhabitants to Hinduism, the sacred rituals, the offerings covered with flowers and perfumed incense permeate our daily life. I am also very sensitive to the beauty of Balinese women, they have a childish, naive face and their smile is generous.
And the cherry on the cake, my mother has always inspired me, she wears a lot of colours and has a gypsy side that I love :)"
Can you describe your work...
"I work on large format paper with pencils, Japanese markers, watercolour, pen and Indian ink. The faces I draw are from vintage photographs I find in archives, I do a lot of research for a collection. Then I reinterpret them to create an eclectic universe with what comes to my mind. For example: a Berber woman with a watermelon necklace and a 1950s gingham turban. They are generally ethnic tribes with a hard story, I try to give them a bright, joyful and colourful life.
I don't want to follow trends or anything like that. Our collections are timeless and do not follow the fashion trends or the seasonal Pantone because they are the result of a real artistic process."