Pierre Hardy x Lemlem Capsule Collection With Liya Kebede's Ethiopian Artisans Debuts June 1

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Top model and activist Liya Kebede and designer Pierre Hardy are partnering on a new  footwear and handbag collection for Kebede's Ethiopian-heritage brand Lemlem. 

“It came about very naturally and very organically,” Hardy tells British 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!”

Lemlem was born a decade ago when Kebede met a group of traditional weavers in her native country who no longer had a market for their work. Fearful that their craft would become extinct, Kebede launch Lemlem. Starting small, her collaboration with Hardy could lead do a significant venture.  “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," the model says about Hardy. 

The first step was negotiating the texture. “Lemlem fabric has a hand-made cotton feel that I never use spontaneously,” Hardy explains. “In Ethiopia there’s a natural way of doing things compared to our industrial European way of making a collection. Making the two meet was interesting.”

The Pierre Hardy x Lemlem capsule collection features two footwear styles (one block-heeled sandal, one trainer) and two handbags (one fringed clutch, one bucket) in three color ways that bridge both brand identities, and stay true to Kebede’s mission to create a circular weaving economy in Africa. “When you think of charity and aid, there is always the big problem of how you can make it sustainable. By teaching people a new craft they can get out of a vicious circle of poverty.”

Liya Kebede Archives @ AOC

Reflections: South African Photographer Koto Bolofo Intrigues Me With Numéro #160 'Atelier D'Artiste'

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Aneta Pajak In Atelier D’Artiste By Koto Bolofo For Numéro #160 February 2015

Visual cues run wild in these images: is Aneta exploring a gender-neutral, artistic studio or is she in the fashion-predictable studio of a male artist? Is she the prototypical muse of the male mind? What is the significance of a large — presumably male — hand at her throat and in her face? How has this male artistic vision — and the powerful art world institutions behind it — defined Aneta and millions — no billions — of female identities worldwide and for the last 3000 years?

There are no answers in ‘Atelier D’Artiste’, a Numéro #160 February 2015 fashion editorial that may be nothing more than a celebration of the male mind and fashion’s support for traditional gender-based power relationships. This isn’t how these images strike me, however.

Do I share a vibe with photographer Koto Bolofo? Rest assured that I will answer that question for myself and AOC readers. ~ Anne

The Obamas Sign Multi-Year Netflix Deal To Produce & Perform In Series, Films & Documentaries

Among the Obamas' reported potential programming ideas are shows that highlight inspirational stories, or that feature the couple talking about the key issues from their time in the White House. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Among the Obamas' reported potential programming ideas are shows that highlight inspirational stories, or that feature the couple talking about the key issues from their time in the White House. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama have signed a multi-year agreement to produce various series, film, and documentaries for Netflix, reports Politico. 

While the former president has said that the couple's intent is not to criticize the Trump administration or social conservatives, reality is that Netflix's almost 120 million global subscribers give the Obamas a significant platform for influence on key issues that matter to them -- like health care, immigration and nutrition. 

“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” Obama said in a statement. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix – we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.”