Thebe Magugu Unveils His Collection as ‘Guest Amigo’ at AZ Factory – WWD – Pen 18

Thebe Magugu never met Elber Elbaz, but he was fascinated by his captivating runway shows for Lanvin, Soigne cocktail dresses and his charismatic personality, which was discovered via “fashion television”, when in Kimberley, South Africa. His family had saved enough to get satellite TV. ,

“I admired his kindness and his sense of duty to others,” Magugu wondered this week as he unveiled the collection as his first “guest amigo” for AZ Factory since the death of its founder last year. did.

Falling June and September, the collection Magugu basically picks up where Elbaz left off at the AZ factory, furthering print and textile research that Elbaz began before adding signatures to his five-year-old, Johannesburg-based brand. Was.

As reported, Elbaz envisioned a new kind of fashion company with arms open to like-minded creativity, and so the strategy going forward at AZ Factory would be based on serial guest talent and freewheeling projects, as in that has been reported.

Fluffy coat of volume on the shoulders.
Stephen Galois

In an interview at the AZ factory’s headquarters in the Glass Fondation Cartier building, Magugu clicked through look book photos on a laptop and swung to and fro from the rack, a knife-pleated skirt with a scarf-pointed hemline, and Showing off a beautiful wool coat with flourishes of shoulder volume, or a bib front that opens and falls, revealing a white cotton lining.

Magugu was one of 46 designers and brands invited last October to create an Elbaz-inspired look for the huge “Love Brings Love” tribute show, which is now the focus of an exhibition at the Musée Galliera in Paris, and Magugu’s white blouse, skirt and feathered cap on all posters.

Thebe Magugu with AZ Factory

thebe magugu
Courtesy of AZ Factory

The young designer admitted that it was a thrill to see the posters “on every other corner” as the taxi had brought them from the airport, and that she wore one of Elbaz’s early Guy Laroche collections dipping the angular hemline in a sparkling blue. Saw it happen Shadow.

She said she was intrigued by the fact that her tribute design is being preserved by a major fashion museum — and even more so by the prospect of people accessing it through her one-time collection for AZ Factory. .

Magugu said that his guest stint at the label felt like “more of an incubator than a collaboration”. She hooked up with a design team recruited by Elbaz, and learned to design by draping like Elbaz, gathering random bits of knitwear into a striking one-shoulder top, and a sexy yellow dress that sticks here and there. becomes loose.

He said he would leave the building with a cache of important industry contacts, including potential new suppliers, and fond memories. “I think I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve made a lot of incredible new friends here,” he said.

Compagnie Financière Richemont, which founded AZ Factory as a joint venture with Elbaz in 2019, now intends to invite talent who need “support and help” at a turning point in their careers . The strategy is in some ways in line with Fashion Awards, offering only an entire ecosystem – a design studio, atelier, marketing muscle and communication channels – and not just cash and mentorship.

On the creative front, Magugu was given carte blanche, and the project he presented last December exposed his South African origins and Elbaz’s birthplace in Morocco, on the other end of the same continent. This prompted him to formulate the theoretical question: “What if Africa was the birthplace of textiles?”

He explained that many of the characteristics of European luxury – storytelling, painstaking and time-consuming savior-loving, and a heritage approach to creation – are also present in African crafts. “It’s just a different world, but it’s exactly the same perspective,” he explained.

Thebe Magugu.  AZ Factory with

A draped headdress tops a puffball bomber jacket.
Stephen Galois

To be sure, Magugu quickly aligned with the founder’s interest for fabric and his unique approach to print. Elbaz commissioned Paris-based Algerian artist Chafik Chariet to create an array of prints, including an animal pattern that Magugu described as “like a man pulling a cheetah from memory”.

The young designer added his own interpretations of African attire, including flowing kaftans; A “makoti” or a white, bell-sleeve woven column at the base of the bride’s dress, and an artfully folded African headdress known as a “jele”, which she used as a ruffle-top bucket bag Also explained, some were suspended by the rope of the wrist.

Magugu admitted that when he was grooving on “fashion television”, his main measuring stick for good fashion was “how visually appealing it was”, while today he “appreciates its psychological power, and how it affects anyone.” Can make you feel “sure way.”

He was fascinated by Elbaz’s embrace of so-called “smart fabrics”—including those with gradient stretches. “It’s been interesting to see that intersection of beauty and function, which I think was really important to her and was important to me as well as a designer,” he said.

While Elbaz’s first product stories focused largely on body-con shapes, “a lot of my proportions are pretty far from the body,” Magugu said, flaunting snug tanks in the fabric froth at the hem, and bubble-shaped The back of a bomber jacket and trenchcoat.

The collection will be sold at the AZ Factory Web Store, Farfetch, Net-a-Porter and select wholesale partners.

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