After going through shortlisting and a finalist stage, the annual LVMH prize finally has its sixth winner, as Thebe Magugu has marked history as the highly coveted award's first African recipient. The Johannesburg-based designer stood out against a record number of applicants (more than 1,700 from 100 countries), impressing a high-profile jury that included Marc Jacobs, Nicolas Ghesquière, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Humberto Leon, Carol Lim, Jonathan Anderson, and Clare Waight Keller. The prize consists of 300,000 euros and a year-long mentorship program with an LVMH group company.
Originally hailing from Kimberly in South Africa, Magugu moved to Johannesburg to study fashion design at LISOF. Shortly after interning and working for various designers, he created his eponymous womenswear label. To understand his aesthetic, think Elie Saab meets Christian Lacroix: utterly feminine with a folklore twist. His simple, colorful, and unexpected mixtures of materials embody his South African roots along with his vision of the modern-day woman.
“Together with our pillar values of quality, novelty, and culture, we constantly seek new ways of presenting women with clothing that both complies with and enhances the everyday," Magugu said of his philosophy. "Sleek, forward-looking design intersects with motifs from our continent’s storied past, providing smart, multifaceted clothes as valuable as their woman.”
Hed Mayner, who presents his androgynous collections in Paris, received the Prix Karl Lagerfeld, which recently received its new name to honor the late designer after previously being known as the Jury Prize or Special Prize. Delphine Arnault, the founder of the prize, honored Lagerfeld by saying, “This event owes much to Karl Lagerfeld, a creative genius with immense intelligence who was present since the prize's creation in 2013.” The young Israeli designer took home 150,000 euros as well as a one-year mentoring program.
The two winners join an exclusive circle of talent that includes Grace Wales Bonner, Marques'Almeida, Marine Serre, and Jacquemus.