Friday, February 11, 2011

Perfect Fit

The casting of a show plays a vital role in ensuring that the designer's vision for a collection, translates onto the catwalk and continues to resonate long after the final turn on the runway. Casting director, Natalie Joos knows a thing or two about the casting process, having cast shows for Hugo Boss, Philip Lim, Helmut Lang, Yigal Azrouel, ADAM, Jill Stuart, VPL, Valentino Red, Bruno Pieters and Cosello Tagliapietra. Joos' interest in casting developed during her five year tenure as a studio manager for photographer Craig McDean, when she would assist with castings. McDean encouraged Joos to pursue casting full-time and in 2003, Joos formed her own casting agency, Natalie Joos Casting. 

Model Visionary - Natalie Joos
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For Joos, the casting of a show is akin to assembling a puzzle and involves the painstaking selection of the right line-up of models to embody the designer's aesthetic. Speaking with, Joos shed light on the casting process, "for a show especially, your trying to sell a coherent story. You want the whole group of girls to have the same feel. Casting ADAM is very different to casting Yigal, you know? It's a different girl. Yigal's girl is tough, she struts. The ADAM girl is a bit softer. You have to translate the vibe of the clothes through the girls wearing them. It's not just, oh, let's find the prettiest ones. There's a whole process of interpretation."

Joos sees hundreds of models in the lead up to the shows and concurs that the appearance of a particular model on a particular runway is anything but arbitrary; "I start by seeing all the new faces at the pre-casting. They come in have their polaroid taken, do the walk and leave. I then make my wish list board. I place all the girls' cards on the board who I could/would like to see in the show. Then I request options for each of the girls on my board. Once you get all of them in place you start confirming, scheduling the fittings and calling them in for the show. Done."

Natalie Joos' picks for Fall/Winter 2011
V Magazine - Issue 69

With the increasingly rapid turnover of new models each season, Joos has mastered the art of distinguishing between a mere pretty face and a model with true staying power, "There are certain gems that emerge every season. The ones that truly possess all the right qualities to survive model trends, with or without great management. A great model really has the right face, body, proportions, walk and personality and there are only very few girls who have all the elements in place. I don't think it's necessarily the clients who get fed up with the same faces, but if you have a little bit of an eye you can easily tell who are the true wonders; the rest are fillers."

As for the Fall/Winter 2011 collections, Joos reveals to the New York Times that, "I'm seeing two different scenarios emerge as I'm looking at all of these new girls, which I already predicted from last season. We're looking at a more characteristic girl. She's a character, she has a signature all of her own. She's something different." Joos concurs though that character and beauty go hand in hand, "I like beautiful girls. That's my taste, and yeah, if you work with me I bring my own aesthetic to the table. I like a girl who you look at and say, wow...where did you come from? Who made you? I like a model to be a model. Taller, more beautiful and a little unreal."

Natalie Joos
Photographer - Paolo Kudacki
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