Thursday, December 20, 2012

Exclusive Interview - Elza Luijendijk

Seventeen year old Dutch model Elza Luijendijk was one of the many newcomers that I met during the Spring/Summer 2013 season. Since Luijendijk's scorching debut as a Prada exclusive at the Fall/Winter 2012 collections in February, the flaxen-haired beauty has emerged as one of the most versatile runway and print models of the current generation of newbies. Luijendijk's imposing 182 cm silhouette and hypnotic runway death stare are instantly recognisable, even as she morphs seamlessly from a vision of pure sophistication and elegance at Yves Saint Laurent to goddess of Goth at Givenchy.

Luijendijk was discovered a year and a half ago whilst babysitting her brother at Ikea and was hastily signed by mother agency Fresh Models. With modelling powerhouse IMG steering the course internationally, Luijendijk has already posed for the likes of Steven Meisel, Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott, Peter Lindbergh, Sebastian Kim, and Kacper Kasprzyk in blue chip campaigns for Versace and Prada, and in editorials for a diverse selection of publications including American Vogue, Dazed & Confused, French Numéro, V Magazine and Pop.

Whilst there's no denying Luijendijk's obvious physical allure, it is her open and friendly nature which truly lights up the room. I encountered Luijendijk on three separate occasions during the Spring/Summer 2013 collections and each time she greeted me and my camera with a beaming smile, and was generous with her time in spite of the mad rush of fashion week. Inoubliable Model Army caught up with Luijendijk in the lead up to the festive season, to discuss the fashion industry's current infatuation with Dutch models, swimming with sharks, and our shared love of Australia.

Elza Luijendijk
Photographer - Suzanne Rensink
Source - thefashionspot.com

Inoubliable Model Army: Goedendag Elza! Thank you for taking time out from your whirlwind schedule to chat with Inoubliable Model Army. Congratulations on an impressive Spring/Summer 2013 season! Your show list included turns on the runway for Alexander Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Jason Wu, Proenza Schouler, Prada, Chanel, Lanvin and Givenchy to name but  a few! Did you enjoy your second season and how did the experience differ from your first? Was there a collection that you particularly loved?
EL: I really enjoyed Fashion Week! My second season differed from my first because this time round I did the shows in all four fashion capitals whereas during my first season I was a Prada exclusive in Milan and then did the shows in Paris. Another difference is that I know a lot more people now whereas during my first season everything was completely new. I loved all of the collections, it was great to be a part of something so creative.

Inoubliable Model Army: When we met at Oscar de la Renta, you mentioned that your second home was an airplane! How do you cope with the constant travelling and do you have any favourite destinations so far?
EL: I travel a lot and to be honest I don't like to be on a plane. But then I think about the shoot I am travelling for or about the job that I just did and then I realise it is all more than worth it! I love modelling so much. Plus the good thing about travelling a lot is that I have visited so many amazing places!! I have been to so many beautiful cities but my favourites so far are Sicily, Argentina, New York and Sydney.

Inoubliable Model Army: You were in Sydney, Australia? That's my home town! Did you get to see much of Australia and what were your general impressions?
EL: I was only in Australia for 4 days but I LOVED it! It was so beautiful. The first day, I went to a wild life park which was so special as I got to hug kangaroos and wallabies. I also visited the sea life aquarium and then managed to squeeze in a bit of shopping afterwards. The second and third days, I shot the Cue campaign with another model Meghan Collison which was so much fun! The team was lovely and we had to make all of these crazy faces! On my final day, I went to Bondi Beach. Initally, I was a bit scared to swim because I had heard about the many shark attacks but there were so many life guards on duty that I eventually felt safe enough to take a dip. It was the best beach I have ever been to! So in conclusion, I guess you could say that I LOVE Australia!

Elza Luijendijk & Meghan Collison
Cue Campaign - Behind the Scenes
Courtesy of Cue Clothing Instgram
Source - thefashionspot.com

Dazed & Confused - June 2012
Photographer - Ben Toms
Source - models.com

Another Magazine - Fall/Winter 2012
Photographer - Robbie Rodriguez
Source - thefashionspot.com

Inoubliable Model Army: You have an amazing portfolio of editorial work including shoots for American Vogue, French Numéro, Dazed & Confused, V, Another Magazine and Pop. Do you have a preference for catwalk, editorial work or advertising shoots? Was there a particular editorial shoot the stands out as being memorable to you and why?
EL: I love all facets of modelling, the shows as well as editorial and campaign shoots. Every editorial is special and always involves telling a story. The model always takes on a role of sorts and has to act, and I love that aspect of modelling!

Inoubliable Model Army: You've appeared in blue chip campaigns for Versace with Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott, Prada with Steven Meisel, and O'2nd with Tim Walker. How was the experience of shooting such high profile campaigns with some of the most influential names in fashion photography?
EL: Amazing! It was really great to work with them all because they are all so inspirational. They have so many ideas, creativity and fantasy, I loved each experience.

Inoubliable Model Army: You booked a Prada exclusive during your debut season courtesy of casting director Ashley Brokaw. What was involved in the casting process?
EL: I remember that it was the 6th of December last year, I was in school and my agent sent me a text saying that I had to call asap! I told my teacher it was important and called my agency. I was told that I had to meet Ashley in the afternoon for Prada and to keep it a secret, which I did. It was really difficult because I had a permanent smile on my face and I was so happy which must have looked weird especially when I was sitting in my science classes! A few weeks later, I flew to Paris to meet with Ashley again. Following this second casting, I had to send Ashley a video showing my runway walk. So I practiced every day for 1 hour and then each Saturday I went into the agency to make a new video and to demonstrate my walk until I was runway ready.

Prada Exclusive - Fall/Winter 2012
Photographer - Monica Feudi
Source - style.com

Versace - Fall/Winter 2012
Photographer - Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott
Source - fashiongonerogue.com

Vanessa Axente & Elza Luijendijk
Prada - Fall/Winter 2012
Photographer - Steven Meisel
Source - thefashionspot.com

Inoubliable Model Army: There are a lot of Dutch models doing really well at the moment including Josefien Rodermans, Mirte Maas, Patricia Van der Vliet, Iris Van Berne, Stef Van der Laan, Daphne Groeneveld and yourself! What is it about Dutch girls that you feel contributes to their current success?
EL: Don't forget Marte Mei Van Haaster, Laura Kampman, Maud Welzen, Bette Franke, Marique Schimmel, Anniek Kortleve, and the list goes on! I think what makes Dutch girls so popular in the modelling business is the fact that we are on average tall and have good proportions. Plus Dutch girls have great personalities!

Inoubliable Model Army: Did you know that the Dutch are the tallest people in the world? How tall are you and how do you measure up against your class mates?
EL: True! I am 182 cm so I am tall, haha! Dutch people are really tall with most girls averaging about 173 cm, but even so I am still taller ;-).

Inoubliable Model Army: The show season can be pretty stressful and intimidating with so many models trying to make an impression at castings. What are your coping mechanisms and did you form any close friendships with other models?
EL: I think the most important thing is confidence. When I go to a casting, I try to imagine that I am going to book the show and I'm also nice to everyone so that people hopefully respond positively. I think that if you come in with a defeatist attitude, you will not book the show, it's pretty easy. Sure I made many friends during fashion week. I think it is really nice to work with the same people at different shows.

Inoubliable & Elza Luijendijk
Photographer - Neill Seeto
Property of Inoubliable Model Army

Vanessa Axente & Elza Luijendijk
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

Elza Luijendijk & Senait Gidey
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

Vera & Elza Luijendijk
Photographer - Suzanne Rensink
Source - thefashionspot.com

Inoubliable Model Army: You have an identical twin sister called Vera who also models. What was it like growing up as a twin and do you share a close bond?
EL: Amazing, Vera is so important to me. I would do anything for her and she for me! We never argue. Things were different when we were younger, we fought a lot and would end up with a few scrapes (sorry!),  but she always forgave me because she is truly amazing!

Inoubliable Model Army: You are very popular for your street style, appearing on influential fashion blogs. How would you describe your street style?
EL: Eh, thank you! I love black clothing. Sometimes a little colour, but mostly black or dark colours. I love to mix different lengths, textures and brands.

Inoubliable Model Army: What are your hopes and aspirations beyond modelling?
EL: I would love to one day pursue a career in design and/or acting after or during my modelling career. I'd also like to get involved in helping less privileged people in poor countries, and animals that have been neglected.

Inoubliable Model Army: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
EL: I would never say that I am "Inoubliable" about myself, so I'll let a few friends answer this one for me!
Friends: Elza is Inoubliable because; "She has got an amazing personality", "Elza is always nice and she likes to help other people", and "Elza is funny, sweet, kind, beautiful, smart, and even though she is really young is grown-up."
EL: Thanks guys that is so sweet of all of you!!

Pop Magazine - Fall/Winter 2012
Photographer - Mel Bles
Source - thefashionspot.com

French Numéro - June 2012
Photographer - Sebastian Kim
Source - visualoptimism.blogspot.com

Aymeline Valade, Bette Franke, Elza Luijendijk & Zuzanna Bijoch
US Vogue - September 2012
Photographer - Peter Lindbergh
Source - thefashionspot.com

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