One Christmas, a couple of years ago, I tore the wrapping to discover a swath of brightly coloured checked cloth. This, I was told, was a kikoy, a traditional Swahili garment that is… well, that’s the trick, it’s anything you may need: from a loincloth to a bag, to a dress or even a beach towel. The ultimate in terms of transformability, way before infinity scarves and stretchy tube tops ever came on the map.
Simone et Georges, a duo yet to number half a century between the two of them, put the kikoy on the fashion map in the past year. Upon graduation, these two enterprising souls – real names Marianne and Jean-Baptiste Leenart – didn’t really feel like settling down to the cushy yet not-quite-exciting-enough careers they’d studied for. Throwing ideas back and forth, the siblings finally settled on this bright swatch of memory of their childhoods in East Africa. By giving it not only a smart update – the Simone & Georges kikoy features a side made out of toweling and a discreet pocket for things that needn’t go splash when you do, making it the perfect beach companion – but also by insisting upon ecological, sustainable and fair practices from their suppliers, they’ve managed to create the coolest -or is it hottest- item of the summer months.
Coming in a range of happy colours (personal fave: bright pink), what’s not to love about these smart alternatives to the towel and sarong combination? With a range that now includes totes, toweling capes for the little ones and other accessories, they can be found in the city’s best department stores around Paris and also in boutiques in swank resorts. A hit to be sure: The past weekend on the beaches of Biarritz, my bright pink S&G kikoy wasn’t alone on the beach.