Go back to article: From the White Man’s Grave to the White Man’s Home? Experiencing ‘Tropical Africa’ at the 1924–25 British Empire Exhibition

Video 1

Film still from Contrasts in Black and White at Wembley

Famous fashion designer, Paul Poiret is depicted inspecting and appraising West African women’s hairstyles. The video compares contemporary European and West African fashions, declaring that ‘whether they’re dusky beauties from Africa or Europe’s modern maids – all have the same love of fine clothes’. Poiret’s presence here likely signifies curatorial intentions to sell a vision of an industrious, fashionable Africa. Contrasts in Black and White at Wembley (British Pathé, 1924)