While Pierre Hardy’s influence on the industry is three decades strong, Liya Kebede’s  a clothing line Lemlem was born 10 years ago out of very different circumstances.

By Alice Newbold (British Vogue) |

Liya Kebede and Pierre Hardy’s accessory collaboration sounds like the most efficient tie-up in the history of brand partnerships. When their paths as model and designer kept crossing, they decided that fate had dictated their brands should cross. Liya Kebede sent Hardy her brand Lemlem’s artisan Ethiopian fabrics, Hardy swapped his European materials for African ones, and the footwear and handbag line was born. They met fewer than a handful of times during the entire design and manufacturing process.

“It came about very naturally and very organically,” Hardy tells Vogue ahead of the June 1 launch date. “Liya and I met three years ago, and I wouldn’t say we were ‘friends’, but we were very happy every time we passed one another. As a designer I thought it could be a challenging and interesting experience to join our brands and see what the result could be. And basically, we matched because I love her!”

While Hardy’s influence on the industry is three decades strong (his CV lists design positions at Dior, Hermès and Balenciaga as well as his eponymous label), Lemlem was born 10 years ago out of very different circumstances. A trip to Liya Kebede‘s native Ethiopia introduced her to a group of traditional weavers who no longer had a market for their work. The model knew she had to get behind “Made in Africa” craft for fear of seeing it become extinct. She’s enthusiastic about having Hardy on board: “I find him super original and super talented in what he does. It was wonderful to connect the artisans of Ethiopia with the artisans in France, and to create a bridge between these two worlds.”

Continue reading this story at British Vogue
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