16 posts tagged "Liya Kebede"
Having spent roughly half her life in the fashion biz, Liya Kebede has come a long way in the industry since leaving Ethiopia at the age of 18 to model in Paris. In the following decades, Kebede has established herself as a bona fide icon—not only as a “super” still busy with runway and editorial work, but additionally as a philanthropist/advocate for maternal health and an emerging entrepreneur. Back in 2007, she launched her ready-to-wear brand, Lemlem, as a way to create new opportunities for the traditional weavers and artisans based in her hometown, Addis Ababa. The word lemlem means “to bloom” in Amharic and is also a nickname Kebede gave her 8-year-old daughter, Raee. Indeed, the line itself—comprised of beach-ready wares that are handwoven and embroidered in Africa—has been flourishing in a big way: Just this week, Kebede was announced as a new member of the CFDA.
Fresh off of the haute couture and menswear circuits (in Paris, she walked Dior and posed for pal Haider Ackermann’s presentation), Kebede joined Style.com to preview her new collection. At our appointment, the supermodel was the epitome of summertime casual in a gray T-shirt, striped Lemlem skirt, and canvas sneakers. While the has introduced new jersey and merino wool categories in recent seasons, Resort ’15 focused on best-selling gauzy tunics, caftans, and scarves in vibrant hues. Kebede personally gravitates toward some of the more directional silhouettes, including strapless jumpsuits, raw-edged maxi ponchos, and long boy shorts. Our takeaway? Both Kebede and her beachy clothes are beautiful in every way. Read on below for five things we learned about Kebede and Lemlem.
1. Kebede started Lemlem on a whim:
“The whole thing came about when I was at home in Addis [Ababa] and walking around with the mayor. He wanted so much for me to do something, and I initially didn’t know how I could give back. We went through this big bazaar in Shola, where all the artisans work, but the market hadn’t been doing well because Ethiopian people are wearing machine-made outfits on an everyday basis and saving traditional clothes for special occasions like church or a wedding. We were talking about how amazing all these incredible weavers are, and that got me thinking that maybe I could start a line.”
2. Lemlem launched with kids’ clothes but is now primarily focused on womenswear:
“I had my kids back then already and thought it would be cute to start Lemlem as a children’s line because every mom would love a nicely handmade little dress for her daughter. Then every mom—including me—loved it so much we decided to make the clothes in larger sizes, which is when things really took off.”
3. Kebede maintains a close relationship with Lemlem’s artisans:
“I was most recently in Ethiopia in May. I actually went for my foundation [Liya Kebede Foundation], but every time I go there, I’m always multitasking. So we do the foundation thing for a few days, and then the family thing, and then we see the Lemlem weavers. It’s mostly men that weave, and the craft is passed down generationally, from father to son, father to son. But it’s women who hand-spin the cotton and do all the sewing. It’s been interesting to see how our weavers have grown to see Lemlem. When we first started with them, we were so demanding and they thought we were these, like, neurotic New Yorkers. It took a while to really gel and understand each other. Now they’re so proud of the product and exclusively want to work for Lemlem. It was great to see them last time all listening to the radio and throbbing to the music while they weaved.
4. Kebede believes there’s room in the market for both fast fashion and more conscious design.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about fast fashion versus slow fashion lately, and I think there’s space for it all to exist. If you want a Zara shirt, you want a Zara shirt. But I also believe that more and more people are becoming increasingly conscious of how and where their clothes are made. Aside from the fair labor aspect, many of our customers are simply coming to us for something that’s unique.”
5. Lemlem will continue to grow, but will always keep its roots in Africa.
“I really see Lemlem as a lifestyle brand and something that can ultimately be quite impactful. The whole motto of Lemlem is “Made in Ethiopia.” That will always be our signature and what makes our story a bit different. Even now as we’re introducing jersey and new categories, we’re going to stay true to our original Made in Africa mission. We want to prove ourselves and prove to the world that there’s a new destination for clothing production.”
Lemlem ($135 to $325) is carried by retailers including Barneys New York, Net-a-Porter, and Selfridges. For more information, visit www.lemlem.com.
Nicolas Ghesquière continues to mold his vision for Vuitton today. WWD reports that the designer has tapped not one, but three leading photographers—Bruce Weber, Annie Leibovitz, and Juergen Teller—to lens his first campaign for the house. Marc Jacobs often worked with Steven Meisel during his reign at Vuitton, so it will be interesting to see how Ghesquière’s creative relationship with the above bold-faced names develops—if you’ll remember, he tapped Teller to shoot the conceptual Fall ’14 lookbook images (left), which debuted exclusively on Style.com the day of the runway show. Ghesquière’s Fall campaign will feature Liya Kebede (left) and Freja Beha Erichsen (both of whom walked in his Fall show), as well as actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. This move further proves that Ghesquière at Vuitton is a defining force to be reckoned with—as if there was ever any doubt.
Think fashion illustration is a thing of the past? Think again. “I love photography—however, sometimes it’s a little too obvious,” said Paris-based artist Cédric Rivrain when asked about imagery in the digital age. “But fashion illustration, it has poetry. And it helps express the essence of the clothing—both visual and emotional.”
Rivrain’s career is proof enough that designers, insiders, and fashion enthusiasts alike have a hankering for illustration. He’s lent his talents to Lanvin, Hermès, John Galliano (he was the in-house illustrator at Dior), Maison Michel, Martine Sitbon, and more, and has contributed visions to such publications as AnOther, Dazed & Confused, and Numero. Since launching his career in 2001, Rivrain has become one of the most in-demand artists in the biz, and now he’ll be creating exclusive, weekly illustrations for Style.com. Without further ado, we bring you the first installment of “Through Cédric’s Eyes.”
Liya Kebede in Louis Vuitton by Nicolas Ghesquière, Fall 2014
“Sans makeup, sans styled hair, just a natural beauty in a beautiful dress. Very French…very chic.” —Cédric Rivrain
Just when we thought Paris had maxed out on its supermodel sightings, Freja Beha Erichsen caused us to audibly gasp when she opened Louis Vuitton on the final day of shows. Sure, seeing Gisele Bündchen close Balenciaga and the high-wattage cast at Balmain earlier in the week were definite highlights, but for true model obsessives, it’s difficult to top a surprise appearance by Erichsen, who has been absent from the runways since Spring ’12. Among the other noteworthy ladies in the LV lineup were Liya Kebede, Maggie Rizer, Marte Mei van Haaster (who took a break this season to focus on school), and scads of newcomers including closer Rianne von Rompaey and Julia Bergshoeff. While Bergshoeff also walked Miu Miu later that day, we wish she had done more shows and taken a less exclusive route. Her only other Fall outing was Proenza Schouler.
There were plenty more major modeling moments during the second half of PFW. Miranda Kerr turned up at Sonia Rykiel of all places—the brand stepped things up this time around by enlisting stylist Katie Grand and casting director Anita Bitton. Elsewhere, Sasha Pivovarova made a lovely cameo at Chloé, and Kendall Jenner convinced us to consider her a serious model at Givenchy and Chanel. But even doing those big shows won’t quite earn Jenner a spot on our forthcoming top new models list. The competition in that category is steep, with fresh faces like Lexi Boling, Ola Rudnicka, Waleska Gorczevski, and Harleth Kuusik each walking more than fifty shows. All in all, a very strong season for veterans and promising rookies alike.
Yesterday we were intrigued by Prabal Gurung’s Instagram of a burning rose that mysteriously disappeared from his feed a few hours after it had been posted. The image was a teaser for his Spring ’14 campaign—starring Liya Kebede and lensed by Dan Jackson—which will be his first ads to be featured in print publications. Like many designers this season (if you’ll remember, Versace’s Lady Gaga ads broke via Mert Alas’ Instagram), Gurung whet his fans’ appetites by releasing a stream of tweets that slowly revealed the images. While the snaps’ forthcoming appearance in print marks a milestone for Gurung’s brand, his choice to hint at the campaign via social media further proves the Internet’s clout.