Thebe Magugu gets his fourth Museum of Art Costume Institute acquisition

Thebe Magugu design at the Museum of Art Costume Institute. picture: Instagram.

Thebe Magugu design at the Museum of Art Costume Institute. picture: Instagram.

Published May 10, 2024


Internationally-renowned fashion designer Thebe Magugu, is at the pinnacle of his career and witnessing it is an inspiration for South Africans.

After being the first African designer to win the coveted LVMH Prize in 2019, Magugu is set for even more accolades.

Following Grammy Award-winning musician Tyla’s debut at Monday’s Met Gala where she was arguably the best dressed star at the prestigious gathering when she stunned in a sand-inspired Balmain garment, Magugu is giving South Africans another moment to be proud of.

South Africans on social media, including radio host Anele Mdoda, have commended South African Grammy-winning singer, Tyla, who was one of the star attractions at this year’s MET Gala event held at the New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Arts on Monday. Picture: Twitter

His designs will once again be featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s Spring 2024 exhibition.

The exhibition is titled “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” and features a look from the Thebe Magugu AW23 Folklorics collection.

“The shipwreck print allegorically speaks of sirens believed to have crashed ships just off the Cape coast and, as a child, we were warned about going too deep into the local river, fearing ‘Mongwa Wa Letsa’ (Someone of the Lake),” the Kimberly-born designer explained.

“In hindsight, one learns to be respectful of water truly; the serenity it can bring, the power it can amass, and all the natural and supernatural things that exist in it. It can kill and heal.”

This installation is not Magugu’s first Museum of Art Costume Institute showcase. It is his fourth creation for their permanent archive.

In 2021, the Costume Institute acquired the Thebe Magugu “Girl Seeks Girl” dress from the A/W18’s Home Economics collection in collaboration with Phathu Nembwili, an artist who creates celebratory illustrations of women.

In 2022, they also collected two Thebe Magugu ensembles, giving them a permanent home at the Costume Institute, where more than 33 000 objects representing seven centuries of fashionable dress and accessories from the 15th century to the present are kept.