Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The World is Your Oyster

If I was asked to compile a list of my all-time favourite models, Canadian supermodel Shalom Harlow would surely appear somewhere in the mix. I first fell under Harlow's beguiling spell in 1993, when she was featured in an editorial for Mademoiselle Magazine as one of the top new models of the grunge era. Harlow was profiled alongside models Amber Valetta, Emma Balfour, Lucie de la Falaise and Kate Moss with photographer Steven Meisel calling the shots. I recall being transfixed by Harlow's serene swan-like beauty, the delicate curve of her elongated neck, the pale translucent quality of her skin and her exotic gypsy-like features. For me, Harlow was and is still to this day one of the most beautiful women ever, both on and off the runway.

Shalom Harlow
Oyster - Issue 99
Photographer - Cass Bird
Source - fashiongonerogue.com


Born in Oshawa, Ontario to missionary parents, Harlow grew up with a strong sixties idealism and was given the name Shalom, meaning "peace" in Hebrew. Harlow was scouted at age seventeen at a Cure concert in Toronto and soon found herself whisked off to a world far removed from her realm of understanding. Speaking with the Cut, Harlow recalls "I had no relationship to the fashion world whatsoever. I'd never even seen a fashion magazine. I grew up without a television and just wasn't very connected to pop culture in that way. I was like Alice in Wonderland." Harlow quickly established herself as one of the top models of the nineties as a regular runway fixture and on the covers of American Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Allure, W and Time Magazine.

US Harpers Bazaar - July 1998
Photographer - Patrick Demarchelier
Source - thefashionspot.com

W Magazine - January 1997
Photographer - Michael Thompson
Source - thefashionspot.com

US Vogue - February 1996
Photographer - Unknown
Source - nymag.com

Shalom Harlow & Amber Valletta
British Vogue - May 1995
Photographer - Nick Knight
Source - nymag.com

US Harper Bazaar - February 1996
Photographer - Patrick Demarchelier
Source - thefashionspot.com

Harlow recently returned to the runway during the Fall/Winter 2012 collections walking for Alexander Wang alongside supermodels Gisele Bundchen, Carmen Kass, Karolina Kurkova and Frankie Rayder. Reuniting with her fellow supers brought back fond memories of her early modelling days with Harlow revealing to the Cut, "When I started coming to do shows in New York, New York had  a pretty electric energy then. It was the early nineties and there was a lot of really fun, theatrical types that were designing and so the runways kind of became this stage for all of these mega-model personalities to flaunt their stuff. It was about personality then and it was about what you did at the end of the runway."

US Vogue - January 1996
Photographer - Steven Meisel
Source - thefashionspot.com

US Vogue - February 1993
Photographer - Ellen von Unwerth
Source - nymag.com

US Harpers Bazaar - September 1995
Photographer - Mario Testino
Source - thefashionspot.com

Following more than twenty years in the industry, Harlow is still in high demand having been photographed for American Vogue, Allure, i-D, Interview and most recently Oyster Magazine in 2012 alone. Harlow however remains circumspect about her place in the modelling industry, revealing to the Cut "Generally speaking, I think there's a lot projected on beautiful women period. At least, maybe this is just my fear, but I do sometimes feel like dismissed before I've even been allowed to participate. I have moments of feeling really wounded. But I am pretty optimistic, and I do enjoy a lot of my life. And I'm peaceful inside."


Oyster - Issue 99
Photographer - Cass Bird
Source - fashiongonerogue.com

Oyster - Issue 99
Photographer - Cass Bird
Source - models.com

Oyster - Issue 99
Photographer - Cass Bird
Source - models.com

Oyster - Issue 99
Photographer - Cass Bird
Source - fashiongonerogue.com

Oyster - Issue 99
Photographer - Cass Bird
Source - cassbird.tumblr.com

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