Saturday, April 28, 2012

Golden Opportunity

One of the aspects that I appreciate most about Inoubliable Model Army is that it provides a platform from which I am able to showcase models I truly believe in. More often than not, the models featured on Inoubliable Model Army are already in high rotation and sought after by the industry's elite. Occasionally however, I hone in on a face that I feel has amazing potential but somehow has been overlooked. Such is the case with twenty year old Shelby Coleman who first landed on my radar in 2008 when I saw her in an editorial for French Revue de Modes lensed by Thierry Le Goues. Born in Skokie, Illinois, Coleman possesses an extreme beauty and ethnically ambiguous features that are hard to place. Coleman owes her exotic looks to her African American, Irish and Native American ancestry and has one of the most distinctive faces in modelling today.

Shelby Coleman
Photographer - Nirrimi Hakanson
Source - thefashionspot.com

Represented by IMG Models, Coleman emerged on the modelling scene at age sixteen when she was discovered at a casting for a Giambattista Valli trunk show in Chicago. The designer was so impressed by Coleman that he signed her exclusively to appear in his Fall/Winter 2008 show. Coleman's subsequent appearance at the Chanel Resort Fall 2008 presentation and an impressive Spring/Summer 2009 season walking for Tracy Reese, Tory Burch, William Rast, Three as Four, Mara Hoffman, Fatima Lopes, Nicole Miller, Kris Van Assche and Giambattista Valli amongst others, had industry pundits buzzing about the newcomer. Casting agency Production at Art + Commerce proclaimed "If it is true that Chicago is the 'windy city', we think it's safe to say that it travelled with this young lady as she completely blew us away with her presence! Shelby has a strong yet graceful persona, and the kind of classic All-American charm you just can't help but love", whilst nymag.com featured the Coleman as a star on the rise. 

Extreme Beauty
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

IMG Show Card
Courtesy of IMG Model Management
Source - thefashionspot.com

French Revue de Mode - Fall/Winter 2008
Photographer - Thierry LeGoues
Source - thefashionspot.com

Freckles Never Looked so Good
Image courtesy of COACD
Source - thefashionspot.com

The following season, the initial interest in Coleman failed to gain relevance with big name designers - generally a prerequisite for building runway traction in the lead up to the collections in Milan and Paris. Instead Coleman found herself relegated primarily to appearances in shows for designers that she had walked for the season before. Coleman has since gained editorial exposure in British Grazia, US Marie Claire and Glamour, Vogue Latin America, and 192 magazine, however her career has yet to kick into overdrive. Coleman is an articulate, intelligent woman with the proportions, presence and physical attributes required to excel at an elite level. Her face is a juxtaposition of high fashion moxie due in part to her elongated jawline, high forehead and wide-set eyes, and wholesome all-American appeal accentuated by the smattering of freckles on the bridge of her nose. In an interview with sachinbhola.com, Coleman keeps things in perspective when quizzed about the challenges presented by modelling "Rejection is normal in the industry. Coming into this not knowing that was tough, but now I don't even think twice about it. If I don't get a job for whatever reason, I say 'oh well' and focus on the next job/casting I have."

Italian Elle - June 2011
Photographer - David Burton
Source - davidburtonstudio.com

Italian Elle - June 2011
Photographer - David Burton
Source - davidburtonstudio.com

Italian Elle - June 2011
Photographer - David Burton
Source - davidburtonstudio.com

Italian Elle - June 2011
Photographer - David Burton
Source - davidburtonstudio.com

Last year I spotted Coleman again in a spell-binding editorial for Italian Elle shot by David Burton, looking nothing short of spectacular. Coleman's recent appearances in campaigns for Cole Haan and Laura Mercier cosmetics suggest perhaps that bigger things may be in store for her. I am hoping that IMG relaunches Coleman on the European market with some new test shots as they did with Joan Smalls. With her extreme beauty, stunning proportions and her tough, androgynous vibe, I can envisage Coleman looking right at home on the runways of Givenchy, Balenciaga and Balmain. When asked by sachinbhola.com about the future, Coleman says "My goal is to bring something new to the fashion world. As well as to be an inspiration to black girls and young girls in general." I hope that the fashion industry affords Coleman the opportunity to do so.

Cole Haan - F/W 2011
Photographer - Daniel Jackson
Source - models.com

Shelby Coleman & Tasha Tilberg
Laura Mercier - S/S 2012
Photographer - Daniel Jackson
Source - models.com

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