Balenciaga’s after-party at Paris Fashion Week featured two acts hailing from the Middle East and North Africa region — Omar Souleyman and Taxi Kebab.
The invite-only event took place after designer Demna showcased Balenciaga’s spring/summer 2023 collection, which made headlines as it took place in a warehouse submerged in a mudslide, where models walked on a runway made of muck and sludge.
Aligned with Demna’s avant-garde sensibility, which has made Balenciaga one of the most sought-after fashion labels in the world, it’s no surprise that Souleyman, the Syrian singer whose material spans multiple genres, was one of the acts chosen.
Souleyman, who has built a large cult following over the years, brought his unique cross-cultural sound to the event, which was attended by Demna and celebrities such as Kylie Jenner.
After beginning his career as a wedding singer in northern Syria in 1994, Souleyman developed a unique sound that melds traditional Arabic sounds along with Kurdish, Ashuri and Turkish, with a contemporary beat that fuses keyboards, electronic notes and vocals.
Souleyman has recorded 500 studio and live albums to date, most of which are live recordings made at weddings where he performed and then sold his tunes at kiosks.
His international career took an upward trajectory in 2011 when he started performing at festivals such as Glastonbury in the UK and Paredes de Coura in Portugal.
He has collaborated with Bjork on Crystalline Series and worked with English electronic musician Four Tet. He also performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 2013.
Souleyman is signed with Mad Decent, the label founded by DJ and producer Diplo, and continues to perform at international festivals.
French-Moroccan duo Leila Jiqqir and Romain Henry, better known as Taxi Kebab, also played at Balenciaga's after-party. Singer Jiqqir brought her haunting range of melodies to the event, which also had performances by hip-hop artists Von Bikrav and DJ Evil Grimace.