Yassine Morabite is a Moroccan designer and artist born and working in Casablanca. Besides designing clothes and outfits he sketches portraits: often in black and white, with unexpected added details. Madonna has been portrayed wearing North African jewellery; Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix with make-up like the Mexican calavera. We love Yassine’s most recent drawings, where celebrities have been given the signature red fez, so we got in touch to ask a bit about them.
What’s the idea behind your fez portraits?
It is in our culture to wear the fez – or tarboosh – during big ceremonies. The idea came to mind to fusion great artists with our culture, so I made people wear the tarboosh. The added Moroccan touch made the difference.
How do you make them?
Actually, I work in two artistic worlds. If I have a shirt made of cotton, I use oil which I then leave to dry, but if I make paintings, I use several techniques, including watercolour pastels.
Have you thought about portraying icons from the Arab world like this as well? People like Fayruz, Faten Hamama, Farid al-Atrash?
Of course. I did portraits of Oum Kalthoum and Abdel Halim Hafez before, with pride. I am actually preparing for a big surprise taking my art in this direction.
Otherwise, how would you describe your work?
I love to make people travel with my art – in a very offbeat way, drawing inspiration from each and every detail. Whether it’s painting, drawing or fashion, I always like to break rules. I would say that my style is distinctively rock and chic.