Notebook Pages

Here are my latest finds and news from style, fashion, film, photography and beautiful living.

Liya Kebede Elle Italia January 2010 
Liya Kebede entered the modelling scene in 1998, after she was discovered at the French school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She moved to Paris for a brief period of time and then to Chicago, to do catalogue work, and a year later she was personally selected by Tom Ford for an exclusive contract for the Gucci Spring 2000 show. From then on, her career took off. Vogue Paris dedicated its entire May 2002 issue to her, and, in 2003, she made history when she was named the face of Estée Lauder, becoming the first woman of colour to represent the storied brand.

But Liya Kebede is not just a beautiful woman, she’s a beautiful woman who has brought a lot of beauty (and I’m not talking about the modelling) and good into the world, since she has founded her fashion label, LemLem, in 2007. She discovered that traditional weavers in her native Ethiopia were losing their jobs due to a decline in local demand for their handmade goods and wanted to do something about it. Liya started LemLem, which means to flourish or to bloom in Amharic, as a way to inspire economic independence in her native country and to preserve the art of weaving. Her efforts have saved this unique artisanal art and today the brand (which includes women’s and children’s clothes and accessories, as well as a home collection) is available in many prestigious shops around the world and is thriving.

In 2010, Kebede was named one of the World Economic Forums Young Global Leaders, and also one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. In an essay he wrote about her in Time Magazine, Tom Ford said: “Liya’s work comes from a place of sincerity, and her beauty is much more than skin-deep.” I salute all those who not only have the will, but, most importantly, have the power to change something and they are so devoted and driven to do it.
Liya Kebede by Matt Jones Elle Italia January 2010-1

Liya Kebede by Matt Jones Elle Italia January 2010 

• This week’s New Film recommendation: Missing (1982), directed by Costa-Gavras. A powerful and tense political thriller, based on the true story of American journalist Charles Horman, who disappeared in the aftermath of the US-backed Chilean coup of 1973 that unseated the democratically elected President Salvador Allende. Jack Lemmon, who won the Palme d’Or for his role, gives one of his strongest performances and Sissy Spacek is no less remarkable. The film won the Palme d’Or for best film and the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay.
• The exhibition “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” is at the Barbican Gallery, London, from April 9 to August 25. “What certain people call imperfection is exactly what I find charming and interesting.”
• A few words on slow blogging, or the blogging of yesteryear, celebrating quality and not involving social media. I’m all for it.
• About the ethics of fashion, by Lucy Collins for the Wall Street Journal. “Creativity is spent, fast fashion is king and while everyone has too many clothes to manage, we all have nothing to wear.”
• Yet another jeans look I’d like to channel this spring.
• One of the photography books I want the most: Terry O’Neill.
• Here are a couple of recipes I’ve often made variations of, but can’t wait to try.

photos: Matt Jones for Elle Italia, January 2010 | Liya Kebede is wearing LemLem scarves

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