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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist


WATCH: Mzansi’s Lebo Malope struts for Louis Vuitton, as Pharrell brings Western cowboys to Paris

This wasn’t Lebo Malope’s first time on the runway for Louis Vuitton. Last year, he had the honour of closing LV’s Pre-fall 24 in Hong Kong.


South African model Lebo Malope was part of another Louis Vuitton fashion show by Pharrell Williams, who brought the US-inspired Western cowboy style to Paris.

Pharrell, who is Louis Vuitton’s creative director, officially unveiled his autumn/winter 2024 collection in front of a star-studded audience in Paris earlier this week, where Mzansi’s Malope strut the runway adorning apparel from the collection.

Brothers

The video of Lebo on the runway was shared by his older brother, Denetric who is based in Paris. The latter has done modelling as well, but is more interested in fashion design.

The brothers hail from Elandskraal in Limpopo, Denetric holds a National Diploma in Fashion Design and Technology from Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) while Lebo is believed to be completing his Matric this year.

In an interview with the Sowetan last year Denetric spoke about how much joy he found in showing his younger brother around Paris.

“Taking Lebo to go see the Eiffel Tower up close for the first time. He had just landed in France and that’s the first thing I wanted to do with him,” said Denetric.

“It was something that I had manifested for a long time and for me to finally do it was such an emotional moment as his big brother.”

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Cowboys in Paris

The Guardian described the Louis Vuitton collection as “on ranch wear, albeit with a high-end honky-tonk spin. Models wore silk yoked shirts and intricately embellished denim chaps”.

“One chore jacket featured a print of a cowboy surveying land while a white double-breasted suit bore cacti motifs. Carved leather work was inspired by stock saddles. Nearly every model wore some iteration of a cowboy hat ranging from slick leather to soft suede versions,” reported the publication.

“When you see cowboys portrayed you see only a few versions,” Williams said backstage after the show. “You never really get to see what some of the original cowboys looked like. They looked like us. They looked like me. They were black and they were Native American.”

Fashion and costume historian Shelby Ivey Christie said the collection was shifting stereotypes.

“In a broader context, this reassertion is crucial as it dismantles stereotypes and expands the narrative around black culture,” she said.

“It’s not just a fashion statement; it’s a cultural affirmation that emphasises the diverse and multifaceted nature of black experiences.”

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