There are supermodels and then there are super models. Liya Kebede falls squarely into the latter category. Sure, she's hands down one of the most beautiful women in the world, but her world is so much bigger than just posing in front of the camera. This philanthropist-model is literally changing lives with her women's and children's clothing line, lemlem, which employs weavers in her native Ethiopia and continues to perserve their singular art form—an undeniable African aesthetic that's been given a fresh update. Combined with her namesake foundation (which aims to reduce maternal, newborn, and infant mortality), Kebede is, well, a model example of using her success to pay it way forward.
And she's not short on style chops, either. Liya's learned a thing or two about dressing for success. Indeed, this three-time US Vogue cover girl has landed campaigns for Louis Vuitton, YSL, and Gap, and was the first black model to become a face of Estée Lauder, before becoming the global ambassador for L'Oreal. So, it's no wonder we're obsessed with her effortless look.
Obviously, we jumped at the chance to take a tour of the lemlem studio and shoot Kebede in five of her favorite spring outfits — think a pastel moto jacket, slouchy, colorful basics, and one pair of printed pants that will have you stopping-n'-staring. Plus, she sat down with us and shared her fave designers, her reading list, and of course, the dish on what motivates her charitable drive. Super model...meet role model.
Photographed by Maia Harms