Several weeks ago it was announced that the gorgeous Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede (pictured) had been cast as one of four models to front the Louis Vuitton Fall 2014 ad campaign. Creative director Nicolas Ghesquière tapped Kebede along with Freja Beha Erichsen, Jean Campbell, and actress Charlotte Gainsbourg for the project. Ghesquière also tapped renowned photographers Annie Leibovitz, Bruce Weber, and Juergen Teller to shoot the campaign.
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Dubbed “Series 1,” the campaign is touted as a mold-breaking collaboration that crosses over in to the realm of art as a “curated” selection of images inspired by Ghesquière’s debut fall collection.
According to Vuitton, Ghesquière gave each of these “giants” free reign to interpret the collection with their unique visual signature, which is to be heightened by the way the various images are combined to form a “fashion gallery.”
Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Kebede was spotted by a film director and introduced to a French modeling agent. Kebede’s big break came when Tom Ford asked her for an exclusive contract for his Gucci Fall/Winter 2000 fashion show..
Afterward, she shot up in prominence, when she appeared on the cover of the May 2002 edition of Paris Vogue (pictured) that dedicated the entire issue to her.
Kebede has been seen on the covers of Italian, Japanese, American, French, and Spanish Vogue, V, Flair, i-D and the Time‘s Style & Design. Kebede has also been featured in ad campaigns, including those for Shiatzy Chen, Gap, Yves Saint-Laurent, Victoria’s Secret, Emanuel Ungaro, Tommy Hilfiger, Revlon, Dolce & Gabbana, Escada, and Louis Vuitton.
She was named the newest face of Estée Lauder cosmetics in 2003, serving as the only Ethiopian to serve as their representative in the company’s 57-year history. Her contract was rumored to be worth $3 million. At this time in Kebede’s career, she is ranked No. 1 on models.com.
Louis Vuitton has featured black models in recent years: Zimbabwean-born beauty Nyasha Matonhodze, who was named as the face of the brand at only 16 in 2011. Sudanese supermodels, Ajak Deng and Nykhor Paul appeared in 2013, and now Ethiopia’s top model Liya Kebede is taking the lead.
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