Saturday, May 21, 2011

No Looking Back

Canadian Yasmeen Ghauri was part of a select group of models in the early nineties who dominated the fashion scene. Born in Montreal, Quebec, a then seventeen year old Ghauri was discovered by hairdresser Edward Zacharia whilst working at a McDonald's eatery. Ghauri's distinct, exotic looks were the product of her Pakistani and German lineage. Ghauri's father, a Muslim cleric in Quebec's Muslim community, was staunchly opposed to Ghauri's modelling aspirations. Under the guidance of Zacharia and salon owner Joseph Del Tortoon, Ghauri was encouraged to pursue modelling in spite of her parent's initial disapproval.

Yasmeen Ghauri
US Vogue - July 1991
Photographer - Hans Feurer

US Harpers Bazaar - May 1995
Photographer - Patrick Demarchelier

US Vogue - July 1991
Photographer - Hans Feurer


Ghauri's bi-racial features were in sync with a shift in the fashion industry towards models with distinctively ethnic looks. The modelling industry was on the look out for new faces which went against the grain of the ubiquitous All-American, blonde-haired, blue-eyed look of the Eighties. Ghauri, along with Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Tatjana Patitz, and Linda Evangelista represented this very shift in aesthetics within the modelling world. 

Within a year of being discovered, Ghauri had moved to New York where she was represented by Next Models and quickly became the darling of the fashion set. Ghauri's exaggerated runway swagger and curvaceous, sleek body earned her the title of "the panther" and she became a firm favourite of designers Gianni Versace, Karl Largerfeld and Azzedine Alaia. Blessed with exquisite, exotic features, dark brown eyes and caramel coloured skin, Ghauri's distinct looks were celebrated by photographers Patrick Demarchelier, Hans Feurer, Pamela Hanson, Steven Meisel, Peter Lindbergh and Albert Watson.

US Harpers Bazaar - January 1994
Photographer - Patrick Demarchelier
Source - thefashionspot.com

British Vogue - Uknown
Photographer - Eric Boman
Source - thefashionspot.com

US Harpers Bazaar - May 1995
Photographer - Patrick Demarchelier

US Vogue - February 1991
Photographer - Patrick Demarchelier

Vogue Italia - August 1992
Photographer - Albert Watson
Source - nymag.com

US Vogue - January 1990
Photographer - Peter Lindbergh

US Vogue - Unknown
Photographer - Herb Ritts
Source - thefashionspot.com

In January 1990, Ghauri landed her first major cover for Elle magazine and soon became a staple model for high fashion publications US Vogue, US Harpers Bazaar, Paris Vogue and Vogue Italia. Throughout her modelling career, Ghauri fronted highly sought-after campaigns for Versace, Chanel, Jil Sander, Hermes, Christian Dior, Anne Klein, Lanvin, Valentino and Victoria's Secret, thereby proving that ethnic models could indeed hold international, commercial appeal.

In 1997, at the height of her success, Ghauri retired from modelling to pursue a degree in business. Ghauri is one of the few supermodels of her generation to turn her back entirely on the modelling set. Ghauri is now the mother of  a daughter named Maya and has not ventured onto a catwalk since her retreat from the heady world of modelling. For me, Ghauri represented the very ideal of a global beauty that was all-embracing, and her incredible physique and exquisite beauty remain unparalleled to this day.


Christy Turlington, Gianni Versace, Stephanie Seymour,
Yasmeen Ghauri & Naomi Campbell
US Harpers Bazaar - Unknown
Photographer - Patrick Demarchelier
Source - thefashionspot.com

Chanel - Fall/Winter 1990
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

Vogue Italia - January 1991
Photographer - Steven Meisel

US Cosmopolitan - October 1992
Photographer - Francesco Scavullo

Australian Vogue - December 1994
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

British ELLE - May 1990
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

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