Thebe Magugu to design collection for AZ Factory as debut 'Amigo'
AZ Factory, the fledgling fashion house created by the late Alber Elbaz, has announced plans for a series of collections by ‘Amigos’ of the house. It will debut with Thebe Magugu.
“AZ Factory welcomes Thebe Magugu as First 'Amigo' and opens a new chapter for the house,” the house announced in a terse release on Friday.
The choice of Magugu, a former winner of the LVMH Prize with a tremendous sense of fashion’s imaginative power, will clearly generate plenty of excitement. Moreover, the announcement answers another question: Richemont, the giant luxury that financed AZ Factory, clearly intends to pursue the project, despite Elbaz’ tragic death of Covid in April 2021.
In a brilliant career, the Israeli-born Elbaz elevated Lanvin to one of the half dozen most influential fashion houses in the industry, after staging highly inventive collections for Guy Laroche and Yves Saint Laurent.
The house also released a punchy video that did not explain however where or when the first creations of Magugu will be unveiled.
In the video, it stated: “In October 2021 we brought together our fashion family for the Love Brings Love collective runway show. A moving tribute to Alber. Today we are happy to that our first Amigo to design our next product story with us is Thebe Magugu. What’s next? Wait and see.”
The news emerged as editors in Paris, where being given private tours of Love Brings Love, a retrospective of that gala show in commemoration of Elbaz, that featured some 40 major designers creating one-piece homages to Elbaz’ style.
One of them was Magugu, who referenced Alber’s time at Guy Laroche, and his A/W 1997-1998 collection, with a plissé ivory silk dress, satin blouse and giant plumed hat.
“The blouse features a fake pocket that looks like it’s stained in Yves Klein Blue ink, a nod to the sense of humor I feel Alber’s clothes had. The ostrich feather hat is created in collaboration with South African milliner Crystal Birch. We both were and will always continue to be fans of Alber and his contribution to fashion and the self,” wrote Magugu on a panel below his creation.
Born in Kimberly, Magugu moved to Johannesburg to study fashion design, fashion photography and fashion media at LISOF. He debuted his first signature collection in April 2017, immediately gaining acclaim with gifted story telling. His most recent display in Paris featured images of his extended family from multiple generations wearing his clothes.
A skill that will appeal to AZ Factory, whose video continued: ”We believe in smart fashion that cares. Alber Elbaz’s original vision to reset the way fashion operates and do things differently. We are a collaborative laboratory and factory a place that nurtures creativity, emotions and playful. Story telling around core values – love, trust and respect.”
“We bring together our Amigos, partners, talents, customers to experiment and try new things. Alongside the Amigos create beautiful fun, practical and solution driven fashion that works for everyone. We maintain a steadfast commitment to transparency, sustainability, inclusivity and education,” said a female American voice in the video that celebrated AZ Factory as a collective lab for "smart fashion that cares."
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