Sunday, February 26, 2012

Celestial Union

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. This appeared to be the mantra of New York-based Australian casting whiz Kannon Rajah at Fendi's Fall/Winter 2012 presentation. Much like Silvia Venturini Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld's futuristic, folkloric hybrid collection, Rajah referenced the past, present and future in assembling Fendi's thirty-eight strong line up of models. Seasoned veterans including Lily Donaldson, Natasha Poly, Anja Rubik, Jourdan Dunn, Magdalena Frackowiak and Karmen Pedaru were joined by the season's faces du jour Zuzanna Bijoch, Joan Smalls, and Saskia de Brauw, bringing Fendi's multi-coloured fur coats and futuristic leather capes and skirts to life.

Heralding a shift in the changing of the guard, newcomers Nadja Bender, Kati Nescher, Nadine Ponce, Marte Mei van Haaster, Lara Mullen, Ava Smith and Marie Piovesan led the charge alongside comeback kids Bette Franke, Ymre Stiekema, Patricia Van der Vliet and Kendra Spears. Perhaps the most wonderfully inspired aspect of Rajah's process of selection was the casting of new faces Anouck de Heer, Frida Haasen, Melissa Stasiuk and Xiao Wen Ju who appeared like bolts out of the blue, adding an element of surprise and relevance to Fendi's line up. The combined effect was a show that was as exhilarating, captivating and original as the faces selected by Rajah to embody the new Fendi aesthetic.  


Joan Smalls
Fendi - F/W 2012

Kati Nescher
Fendi - F/W 2012

Saskia de Brauw
Fendi - F/W 2012

Jourdan Dunn
Fendi - F/W 2012

Magdalena Frackowiak
Fendi - F/W 2012

Patricia Van der Vliet
Fendi - F/W 2012

Ymre Stiekema
Fendi - F/W 2012

Anouck de Heer
Fendi - F/W 2012

Natasha Poly
Fendi - F/W 2012

Xiao Wen Ju
Fendi - F/W 2012

Frida Aasen
Fendi - F/W 2012

Melissa Stasiuk
Fendi - F/W 2012

Lara Mullen
Fendi - F/W 2012
Casting Director - Kannon Rajah
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
Source - style.com

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gucci's Big Guns

Frida Giannini brought out modelling's big guns for its luxuriant Fall/Winter 2012 presentation. If anyone has been wondering where Anja Rubik, Natasha Poly, Kasia Struss, Yulia Kharlapanova and Sigrid Agren have been hiding out this season, all rumours were dispelled as Struss emerged in opening slot, looking sublime with new mahogany rich brown tresses. Italian casting director Barbara Nicoli assembled a line-up of modelling's biggest names alongside new faces of the season Kati Nescher, Nadja Bender, Ava Smith, Othilia Simon and Carolina Thaler. Established models Kendra Spears, Bette Franke, Maud Welzen, Aymeline Valade, Josephine Skriver and Zuzanna Bijoch rounded out the cast of of nineteenth century decadent beauties. Listed as one of the key casting directors in May 2010 by WWD, Nicoli has also been responsible for the F/W 2012 casting at Burberry Prorsum, Hervé Leger, Diane Von Furstenberg, Marchesa and BCBG Max Azria.

Decadent Beauties
Gucci - F/W 2012
Photographer - Unknown
Source - nymag.com

Kasia Struss
Gucci - F/W 2012

Natasha Poly
Gucci - F/W 2012

Joan Smalls
Gucci - F/W 2012

Karmen Pedaru
Gucci - F/W 2012

Anja Rubik
Gucci - F/W 2012

Yulia Kharlapanova
Gucci - F/W 2012

Sigrid Agren
Gucci - F/W 2012

Kendra Spears
Gucci - F/W 2012

Kati Nescher
Gucci - F/W 2012

Ava Smith
Gucci - F/W 2012

Josephine Skriver
Gucci - F/W 2012

Nadja Bender
Gucci - F/W 2012

Zuzanna Bijoch
Gucci - F/W 2012
Photographer - Monica Feudi
Source - style.com

A Matter of Time

Normally when I'm at the gym working out, I become so engrossed in my training that nothing distracts me. Monday however was an exception as I diverted my attention to CNN's coverage of New York Fashion Week and more specifically the rise of Puerto Rican model Joan Smalls. CNN's Alina Cho interviewed Smalls about her ascent through the ranks from catalogue model to high fashion darling. For Smalls, the turning point in her career came three years ago when she switched representation to IMG Model Management. Under the guidance of IMG manager Kyle Hagler, Smalls changed her approach at castings opting to trade in her standard attire of combat boots for high heels with Hagler cajoling Smalls to, "Show of those legs, show off that great body of yours."

Stopping Traffic - Ms Joan Smalls
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

The directive paid off with Smalls landing her first big break in January 2010 in the form of a Givenchy Haute Couture exclusive courtesy of head designer Riccardo Tisci. When quizzed by Cho if she realised the significance of the occasion, Smalls recollects "Yeah, I think you kind of feel it that when you want something so bad and when something great happens, I think it's instinct that you say that this is the moment that is gonna change everything." What followed was a deluge of editorial bookings including Vogue Italia with Steven Meisel, American Vogue with Peter Lindbergh, Paris Vogue with Mario Sorrenti, Interview with Mikael Jansson, and W with Daniele Duella & Iango Henzi.

The Unstoppable Joan Smalls
W Magazine - March 2012
Photographer - Mario Sorrenti
Source - thefashionspot.com

POP - S/S 2012
Photographer - Daniel Sannwald
Illustration - Anslem Reyle
Source - models.com

Small's blue chip status is most evident on the runway where she is lauded by designers including Derek Lam "She's Like a seasoned actress", Jason Wu "What's not to love? You know, I just believe in her" and Prabal Gurung, "She represents that girl that I feel like I design for. The girl who never gives up." With such accolades to her credit, Smalls advertorial options soared with campaign berths for Gucci, Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, Calvin Klein Jeans and Chanel. For Smalls though, the pinnacle of her achievements was bestowed when Estée Lauder signed her to multi-year million dollar contract to represent the cosmetics giant. Smalls recalls in an interview with US Vogue, "When I found out, I was in my hotel room in Milan. I started jumping on the bed like a little girl."

The many sides of Joan Smalls
Photographer -  Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

Elegance in Combat Boots
Photographer - Wayne Tippetts
Source - thefashionspot.com

Leg Work
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

As illuminating as her looks and presence are on the runway and in print, for me it is Smalls' endearing personality, grace and humility that are her strongest assets. In an interview with mrblasberg.com, Smalls is quizzed about her favourite designers, to which she responds insightfully, "My favourite designers are those I've had the privilege of working with. Their creations have encouraged me to respect and admire their individuality, and praise their craft. I consider myself fortunate to be in the presence of Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, Frida Giannini and Tom Ford. And as for Riccardo Tisci, he has simply been a blessing in my life."

Beauty, Humility & Grace
Photographer - Rachel Chandler
Source - industrie.nowmanifest.com

Over the past twelve months, Smalls has added a coveted spot in the Victoria's Secret runway extravaganza as well as an appearance in the Pirelli calendar lensed by Mario Sorrenti to her burgeoning resumé. Next on Smalls' list is the holy grail of modelling - a solo American Vogue cover. Speaking again with CNN's Cho, Smalls states resolutely, "I always want the greater and the bigger, like I came here with a purpose and you know to finally achieve it and to also be an inspiration to others." Of the current generation of budding supermodels, Joan Smalls is perhaps one of the few genuine contenders. Quite simply put, she possess that rarest mix of stunning physicality, personality and charisma that is cover-worthy. 

Joan Smalls
Paris Vogue - February 2011
Photographer - Mario Sorrenti
Source - models.com

Love Magazine - S/S 2012
Photographer - Daniel Jackson
Source - thefashionspot.com

The last Magazine - F/W 2011
Photographer - Karim Sadli
Source - models.com

Indefinable Beauty

With some models you know within the first instance of seeing them that they possess that indefinable star quality which makes them exceptional. Such is the case with Argentine model Melissa Stasiuk. Whilst not the most obvious beauty, looking at Stasiuk I see shades of eighties supermodel Gia Carangi. Like Gia, Stasiuk possesses a rough-and-tumble tomboyish demeanour, mixed in with an endearing vulnerability. It's this insouciance combined with Stasiuk's expressive eyes, angular cheekbones and coltish beauty which make her such an fascinating proposition. 

Represented by Next Model Management, twenty-year-old Stasiuk made her runway debut at Lisbon Fashion Week in September 2011 and received her first major break when she was selected to walk for the pre-Fall 2012 Chanel show. Sporting bangs and a shaggy mane reminiscent of Patti Smith, Stasiuk made a searing impression as she swaggered down the runway for Richard Chai Love and Proenza Schouler at New York Fashion Week. Stasiuk may have only appeared at two shows during NYFW F/W 2012 but with an opening slot at Proenza Schouler and an editorial appearance in Love Magazine shot by Mario Testino, I am certain that she will reemerge as one of the most exclusive newcomers in Milan and Paris. 

Melissa Stasiuk
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

Love - S/S 2012
Photographer - Mario Testino
Source - models.com

Richard Chai Love - F/W 2012
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
Source - style.com

Proenza Schouler - F/W 2012
Photographer - Monica Feudi
Source - style.com

Captivating Beauty
Photographer - Unknown
Source - nextmodels.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Expect the Unexpected

Each show season, one or two new models surface on the list of the most influential casting directors that you perhaps would not have expected to see. At the Fall/Winter 2012 NYFW collections, Chinese model Lina Zhang appeared like a bolt out of the blue with a show list that read like the who's who of the fashion elite. Zhang stormed down the runways for Hervé Leger, Ohne Titel, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Yigal Azrouel, Proenza Schouler, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Tommy Hilfiger amongst others. Zhang has continued her blue chip winning streak at London Fashion Week, appearing at Burberry Prorsum, Christopher Kane, Peter Pilotto, Jonathan Saunders and Acne.

The amazonian 178 cm, almond eyed beauty is represented by Fusion Models in New York and is already a big name in China where she has appeared in the Chinese editions of Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Numéro and Harpers Bazaar. Zhang first made her mark at the NYFW Spring/Summer 2012 collections, logging runway mileage at Helmut Lang, Band of Outsiders, Vivienne Tam, Jen Kao, Jeremy Laing, Wayne and Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti. Zhang has since parlayed that promising debut into serious Top Ten newcomer contention at the F/W 2012 collections by walking only for the most lucrative of shows. With Milan and Paris still to come, Zhang has emerged as a frontrunner for the most coveted newcomer of the season.

Lina Zhang
Elle China -  November 2010
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

The Surprising Lina Zhang
Photographer - Unknown
Source - models.com

i-D Magazine - S/S 2012
Photographer - Chen Man
Source - models.com

Proenza Schouler - F/W 2012
Photographer - Monica Feudi

Hervé Leger - F/W 2012
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos

Yigal Azrouel - F/W 2012
Photographer - Gianni Pucci

Tommy Hilfiger - F/W 2012
Photographer - Filippo Fior

3.1 Phillip Lim - F/W 2012
Photographer - Monica Feudi

Christopher Kane - F/W 2012
Photographer - Alessandro Viero

Burberry Prorsum - F/W 2012
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
All runway images courtesy of style.com