Richemont Names Thebe Magugu AZ Factory’s First “Amigo,” as Exhibition Celebrating Alber Elbaz Opens in Paris

In addition to showcasing pieces by well-known designers—like a red jacquard coat by Dries Van Noten with a hat by Stephen Jones pictured here; a dress with a heart bustier and a skirt reprising sketches by Maria Grazia Chiuri or, poignantly, Virgil Abloh’s entry for Off-White, a vibrant green gown secured by a pink paperclip—the lineup also lets the Palais Galliera demonstrate the vibrancy of contemporary fashion. Emerging talents that are still relatively unknown to the general public include Christopher John Rogers, Tomo Koizumi, Casablanca, Rosie Assoulin (a Lanvin-era alum), and Thebe Magugu, whom AZ Factory named as its first “amigo” just this morning.

“AZ Factory evolves into a collaborative place where creative minds who share Alber Elbaz’s values develop projects around the core idea of smart fashion that cares,” said Philippe Fortunato, Richemont’s CEO of Fashion and Accessories, in a statement. “Richemont believes in nurturing talent and paving new roads for the luxury industry. Whether a unique drop or permanent collaboration, one single hero product or a full collection, AZ Factory’s central tenet will always be this smart and playful approach to fashion that is so meaningful to us. And today we are very happy to announce that Magugu, one of the industry’s most promising minds, is the first designer to join this new story for AZ Factory.”

Thebe Magugu by Aart Verrips. Photo: Courtesy of Lucien Pagès

In an adjacent room, a portrait of a young Elbaz appears, surrounded by fashion sketches he drew around the age of 13. Further along are candid photos, portraits, and spreads of his work for Geoffrey Beene, Guy Laroche, Yves Saint Laurent, Krizia and, of course, Lanvin.

But beyond the style that won Elbaz a devoted following, Destelle noted that his greatest legacy is generosity. She recalled, for example, how he used to send cakes, drawings, flowers, or balloons to fellow designers to wish them luck for their PFW shows. “This show is a tribute to his generosity and empathy,” said Samson. “Despite the fact that the world is moving from one crisis into another, it’s important to show not only how creation is evolving, but also how designers can come together. It’s an ultra-rare event in the fashion world.”

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