Friday, November 25, 2011

Tunisian Dream

With the constant influx of new models inundating the fashion industry each season, it's easy to become a little blasé about beauty. Every now and then though, a new face pops up who sends a shock wave through fashion circles. That very girl is twenty-one year old Tunisian, Hanaa Ben Abdesslem. 

One of A Kind Beauty
Photographer - Elena Kechicheva
Source - IMG Models

Hailing from Nabeul, this exotic, androgynous beauty is a true stand out. Measuring at 179 cm, the statuesque Ben Abdesslem made her runway debut in the Vivienne Westwood Spring/Summer 2011 show. Three months later, Ben Abdesslem's modelling options kicked into overdrive with a career defining Jean Sebergesque haircut which garnered her the attention of Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci. Ben Abdesslem landed a Givenchy couture exclusive and has since been photographed by Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Knoepfel & Indlekofer and Karim Sadli for Paris Vogue, Terry Richardson for V, Mario Sorrenti for Vogue Italia, and Terry Tsiolis for W.

Whilst some would be quick to pidgeon-hole Ben Abdesslem as a quirky androgynous type, there is no denying however that she possesses a delicate beauty, femininity and elegance which will translate to commercial viability. Lancome cosmetics appears to agree, having signed Ben Abdesslem to join its stable of beauties including Arlenis Sosa and Daria Werbowry, as one of the faces of its Fall/Winter 2011 Visionnaire campaign.

What I find most alluring about Ben Abdesslem is that hers is a beauty that has been untapped and unrepresented in the fashion industry. Aside from Moroccan model Hind Sahli, I am unable to recall any other models of North African descent working in fashion today. In an interview with US Vogue, Ben Abdesslem alludes to the divide between the world of fashion and her cultural background, "...seeking a modelling career has been a dream of mine for a long time. To me, modelling is an expression of freedom, a career choice that goes beyond the barriers of culture and tradition in my country." I for one, am delighted that Ben Abdesslem is fulfilling her dream and hope to see a lot more of this enigmatic beauty in the years to come.

Paris Vogue - March 2011
Photographer - Karim Sadli
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Intermission - December 2011
Photographer - John Scarisbrick
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Photographer - Gilles Zimmermann
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Sui He & Hanaa Ben Abdesslem
V Magazine - Issue 74
Photographer - Terry Richardson
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Glamour Girl
Paris Vogue - November 2011
Photographer - Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin
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T Magazine - September 2011
Photographer - Danko Steiner
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Vogue Italia - October 2011
Photographer - Mario Sorrenti
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  1. What about Kenza Fourati? Also Tunisian.

  2. Thanks for the heads up. You're absolutely right, Ms Fourati looked magnificent in this years Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. It's a shame she doesn't get more high fashion editorial work though.