Sunday, February 24, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Stef Van der Laan

Dutch model Stef Van der Laan is no shrinking violet. With her platinum blonde hair, an imposing runway presence and a distinct Kristen MacMenamy vibe, it's no wonder Van der Laan has established a reputation as a most intriguing proposition amongst casting directors, designers and fashion editors. Modelling since 2005, Van der  Laan's rise through modelling's ranks has been gradual with the 177 cm finally hitting pay dirt with her breakthrough Givenchy exclusive appearance at the Fall/Winter 2012 collections. In the ensuing 12 months, Van der Laan has logged runway mileage for the likes of Versace, Chanel, Tom Ford, Lanvin, Dolce & Gabbana and Oscar de la Renta, whilst parlaying that blistering momentum into a strong editorial presence in publications including American Harper's Bazaar, French Numéro, CR Fashion Book, V, Pop and the Russian editions of Vogue and Interview. On the eve of the final leg of the Fall/Winter 2013 collections, Van der Laan took a breather to chat exclusively to Inoubliable Model Army about the tears of joy and exhaustion behind her Givenchy Fall/Winter 2012 exclusive, her views on the CFDA's ban on models under 16 on fashion's runways, and the tattoo which she lives by.

Stef Van der Laan
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com


Inoubliable Model Army: Hi Stef, thank you for taking a moment to chat with Inoubliable Model Army. You had an impressive Spring/Summer 2013 season appearing in 21 shows including Jason Wu, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Tom Ford, Versace, Chanel, and Givenchy. How did you unwind from the month of fashion chaos and are you looking forward to the Fall/Winter 2013 season?
SVDL: I have definitely had a chance to catch my breath yes, my boyfriend and I went back to Holland for the holidays, as we are both from there. I was happy getting back to work after that, I'm really excited about the upcoming season. You never really know what will happen I guess and there are some designers that I haven't worked with yet and would love to do so this season.

Inoubliable Model Army: Your recent success must be particularly gratifying given that you have been modelling since 2005. What was the turning point in your modelling career and was there ever a stage where you thought that modelling may not be the right career path for you?
SVDL: The fact that I started working so young and never had a "big hit" made me into how I am right now. I think I wouldn't have appreciated the work I'm getting now when I would have been a sixteen year old just getting out of school and never really had to struggle for anything. People always think modelling makes you very independent, I guess it does a little, but the fact that you go everywhere alone doesn't really mean independence, as everywhere you go everything is arranged for you and you don't really have to think about a lot. I'm happy I had the time to explore myself a bit more and to understand how my head works, because now I'm so busy I don't really find the time to do so.

Inoubliable Model Army: Fill us in on some of the gaps. Where are you from in the Netherlands, how old were you when you began modelling, and how were you initially discovered?
SVDL: I was born and raised in a town east of Holland called Wageningen, quite a small town but nice to grow up in. When I was 14, my sister wanted me to become a model because I was tall and skinny, so she sent my pictures to a modelling agency in Holland. She didn't tell me because she was afraid I would possibly be rejected and didn't want me to get hurt. But after a few weeks, the agency responded and invited me to do a test shoot.

Preen - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Max Mara - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
Source -style.com

Versace - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Filippo Fior
Source - style.com

Kaufman Franco - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
Source - style.com

Carolina Herrera - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
Source - style.com


Inoubliable Model Army: After years of grunt modelling, you were thrust into the international spotlight via your Fall/Winter 2012 Givenchy exclusive. What went on behind the scenes for the casting of the show? Did you meet Riccardo Tisci and when did you find out that you had been confirmed?
SVDL: I went to the Givenchy casting pretty exhausted from the culmination of fashion week, as Paris is the last stop, and I didn't really have high expectations of it but I went anyways. I had already met the casting director a couple of weeks before so I thought I might stand a little chance. After I was called back to walk for Riccardo, I still had no idea if he liked me or not, but apparently he did because before I was even outside of the building my booker called to let me know I was booked exclusively for the show! I was seriously crying not only because I was so happy they booked me but also because the exclusive thing meant that I didn't have to go to anymore castings for the rest of the week, as I said I was exhausted!

Inoubliable Model Army: Exclusives have the ability to make or break a new model's career. What are your views on the power of "exclusives" and the effect that they may have on  model's career trajectory?
SVDL: I was never really that well informed about the exclusivity, so I didn't really know it could break a model's career. I think it's a great way to get the attention from the fashion world, for them to see you're out there. Especially when influential people like Riccardo and Carine are behind you and see something in you. They are influential for a reason, for their passion and talent in their jobs. So I guess I was very lucky as well.

Inoubliable Model Army: You have been steadily building up an impressive body of editorial work with multiple appearances in CR Fashion Book, V, Interview Russia, American Harper's Bazaar, and the Dutch and Russian versions of Vogue. What do you enjoy most about print work and is there a particular photographer whose aesthetic and vision you truly admire?
SVDL: I love editorial work mostly because you can be a lot more free in it then when you do a commercial job. It's more like making art and working together with a whole team to make something beautiful. For me it's trying to convey a feeling that the magazine/photographer/art director wants to project. It asks a bit more thinking on my side, not just trying to show the clothes in their best angle. I love working with Sebastian Faena because he always has great energy and a great artistic vision. He always gets me excited about the story we're doing which results in me wanting to do my best and give everything I have so we can capture that vision on camera.

CR Fashion Book - Fall/Winter 2012
Photographer - Sebastian Faena
Source - wearesodroee.wordpress.com

Russian Vogue - February 2013
Photographer - Sebastian Kim
Source - thefashionspot.com

Stef Van der Laan & Jesse Shannon
Interview Russia
Photographer - Mark Segal
Source - models.com


Inoubliable Model Army: The modelling industry can be incredibly fickle with so many beautiful girls looking to crack the impenetrable seal of elite modelling. What do you think are the most important factors which contribute to success in this industry?
SVDL: I think it's mostly being in the right spot, at the right time for a jump start into the industry. Also, I think having a great team behind you like I do at the moment really helps. Plus you need to want it and to have a positive mentality. If your life is not making you happy, it will definitely show and who would want to work with a Debbie Downer :-).

Inoubliable Model Army: Do you have any regrets about commencing your modelling career at such a young age and what are your personal views on the CFDA's ban on models under the age of 16 on fashion's runways?
SVDL: I don't really regret it because it has made me into the person I am right now. I do think if I was able to do it all over again with the knowledge I have now, I would start at a later age. I think the CFDA ban was a very good choice because I see a lot of girls who are evidently not ready to be out on their own, a half world away from their homes and are just really unhappy. I know I was especially insecure in the years before and only since maybe hitting my 20s have I become more comfortable within myself and that definitely helps. When I'm not happy with the way I'm treated I now have a voice to say something about it. It's hard for girls at such young age to raise their voice or to say no to someone you consider as an adult.

Inoubliable Model Army: What are the most valuable insights that you have gained through your modelling experiences, and what do you feel are the greatest challenges that you face personally as a model?
SVDL: The greatest challenge is to feel comfortable with who you are and to not take things personally. If clients don't like to way you look, that's their issue. It's not a personal matter, you might not fit into the vision they want to project. And if it is personal, who cares? You can't be liked by everybody. Like, I have a tattoo on my side which says "I exist as I am, and that is enough." I think everybody should live by that motto.

Inoubliable Model Army: You appeared in the Fall/Winter 2012 Givenchy campaign lensed by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott. What was the inspiration behind the shoot and what insights did you gain from working with such a high calibre team of creatives?
SVDL: I believe their inspiration was a rave theme, that's why the quick movements were captured in a really dreamy way. It was great to work with such an amazing team with everything so well directed and they really knew what they wanted to do. It's nice to see that there are people with such creativity and the knowledge to actually obtain that creativity and capture it on film.

Givenchy - Fall/Winter 2012
Photographer - Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott
Source - thefashionspot.com

Pop - Fall/Winter 2012
Photographer - Kacper Kasprzyk
Source - models.com

Ymre Steikema, Rodrigo Braga, Stef Van der Laan,
Marte Mei Van Haaster & Grace Bol
CR Fashion Book - Fall/Winter 2012
Photographer - Jean Baptiste Mondino
Source - models.com


Inoubliable Model Army: Your look is impossible to pigeonhole, part edgy, undeniably beautiful. How do you maintain a clear sense of self in an industry where your image is constantly being manipulated and where you are often subject to judgement based on your physicality?
SVDL: When I'm at work they mostly already transform me into someone I'm not, which makes it a lot easier to maintain that clear sense of self. I know when I'm in front of the camera I'm not "myself", I'm a different version of me. When I'm home and have cleared myself of layers of makeup and hair extensions, that's when I am really me, or the me I want to be. Also talking a lot about it with my boyfriend and friends, keeps me grounded. Having a life besides modelling I think is quite important to staying true to yourself.

Inoubliable Model Army: Do you feel that the supermodel phenomenon from the early 90s can be rekindled and what do you think it would take to bring supermodels back?
SVDL: I don't think that it's really possible, with the internet everything now becomes very replaceable and what's trending yesterday is already "so 2012" tomorrow. That doesn't mean girls can't have a long career, it's just not as glamorous or pop star like anymore. Even with music these days, I have the feeling bands don't really have long running careers because there is just so much out there.

Inoubliable Model Army: What do you love about modelling, and if there was one thing you could change about the nature of your profession, what would that be?
SVDL: It's a bit predictable but especially the travel experiences you get through modelling are one of the perks. I've seen so many places already and have met so many inspiring and great people in my short life. It's something most people from my hometown will never experience because everybody has different opportunities in life which I thought I had to grab. I have a very curious personality so I mostly set my fears and insecurities aside to just be able to have the experiences that not everybody has access to.

Inoubliable Model Army: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
SVDL: Again it probably sounds cheesy but I think being comfortable with yourself and that will show in your behaviour, especially towards other people. Treat other people the same way as you want to be treated by them, as my mother used to say ;-).

French Numéro - Issue 140
Photographer - Gregory Harris
Source - visualoptimism.blogspot.com

US Harper's Bazaar - March 2013
Photographer - Kacper Kasprzyk
Source - thefashionspot.com

Stef Van der Laan, Daniela Braga & Kati Nescher
V Magazine -  Issue 78
Photographer - Sebastian Faena
Source - models.com

Special thanks to Lisa DiRuocco at IMG Models in New York. For more information on IMG Model Management, please log onto www.imgmodels.com

London Is Calling

Pop Magazine shines the spotlight on seven of the most sought after new faces and designers of the London collections for its Spring/Summer 2013 issue. Photographer Steven Pan produces a portfolio of pristine images of current it girls; Athena Wilson, Grace Mahary, Juliana Schurig, Kel Markey, Magdalena Jasek, Tian Yi, and Tilda Lindstam. The eclectic cast of one of a kind beauties wear designs by Isa Arfen, Thomas Tait, Myrza de Muynck, Martine Rose, Marques Almeido, and Christopher Raeburn. From the stunning androgyny of Athena Wilson, the refined features of Eritrean Grace Mahary, to the contrasting pale freckled skin and red hair of Magdalena Jasek, and the cool as ice blonde ambition of Juliana Schurig, what all of these newcomers have in common is a distinct individuality which makes them clear standouts both on and off the runway.

Athena Wilson
Pop - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Steven Pan
Source - visualoptimism.blogspot.com

Grace Mahary
Pop - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Steven Pan
Source - visualoptimism.blogspot.com

Magdalena Jasek
Pop - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Steven Pan
Source - visualoptimism.blogspot.com

Tian Yi
Pop - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Steven Pan
Source - visualoptimism.blogspot.com

Juliana Schurig
Pop - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Steven Pan
Source - visualoptimism.blogspot.com

Tilda Lindstam
Pop - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Steven Pan
Source - visualoptimism.blogspot.com

Kel Markey
Pop - Spring/Summer 2013
Photographer - Steven Pan
Source - visualoptimism.blogspot.com

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Polar Opposites

Dazed & Confused draws on the contrasting beauty of two of modelling's most promising newcomers Clarice Vitkauskas and Nastya Kuskina for an editorial in its March 2013 issue. Photographer Alasdair McLellan captures the dark brooding beauty of Brazilian Vitkauskas and the ethereal doll-like presence of Russian Kusakina as they soak up the sun in a park playground. Represented by Next Models and Women Model Management respectively, Vitkauskas and Kusakina have steadily been building momentum throughout the Fall/Winter 2013 season with collective appearances at Marc by Marc Jacobs, Hervé Léger, Zac Posen, Prabal Gurung, Helmut Lang, Alberta Ferretti, Kaufmanfranco, and Diane Von Furstenberg. Kusakina's haunting grey blue eyes and golden flaxen hair, are complimented by Vitkuaskas' engaging puppy dog brown eyes and perfectly ovular shaped face framed by a dark lustrous mane. You can expect to see a lot more of these two compelling newcomers in the aftermath of the Fall/Winter 2013 collections.

Clarice Vitkauskas & Nastya Kusakina
Dazed & Confused - March 2013
Photographer - Alasdair McLellan
Source - fashioncopioustypepad.com

Clarice Vitkauskas
Dazed & Confused - March 2013
Photographer - Alasdair McLellan
Source - fashioncopioustypepad.com

Nastya Kusakina
Dazed & Confused - March 2013
Photographer - Alasdair McLellan
Source - fashioncopioustypepad.com

Clarice Vitkauskas
Dazed & Confused - March 2013
Photographer - Alasdair McLellan
Source - fashioncopioustypepad.com

Nastya Kusakina
Dazed & Confused - March 2013
Photographer - Alasdair McLellan
Source - fashioncopioustypepad.com

Clarice Vitkauskas
Dazed & Confused - March 2013
Photographer - Alasdair McLellan
Source - fashioncopioustypepad.com

Nastya Kusakina
Dazed & Confused - March 2013
Photographer - Alasdair McLellan
Source - fashioncopioustypepad.com

Clarice Vitkauskas
Dazed & Confused - March 2013
Photographer - Alasdair McLellan
Source - fashioncopioustypepad.com

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Instigator

Casting dynamo Ashley Brokaw assembled what has been unquestionably one of the most impressive casts of the Fall/Winter 2013 season for Prada's "greatest hits" collection. Brokaw corralled a line-up which consisted of a few surprise packages in the guise of familiar faces Kirsten Owen, Liisa Winkler, Esther de Jong, Adriana Lima, Jessica Stam, and comeback kid Catherine McNeil. Brokaw showed her allegiance to Prada's campaign alumni with the return of Ondria Hardin, Lindsey Wixson, Irene Hiemstra, Lisa Verbreght, Sung Hee Kim, Saskia de Brauw and Maartje Verhoef. Amongst the cast of gems were a smattering of the season's most coveted newcomers including show opener and closer Amanda Murphy, Chiharu Okunugi, Sasha Luss, Kirsten Kragh Liljegren, Joanna Tatarka, and Sam Rollinson. Relevant, aspirational, precise and with a touch of the familiar, Brokaw's assemblage of beauties reflected the nostalgia and romanticism of Miuccia Prada's Fall/Winter 2013 aesthetic.

Ondria Hardin
Prada - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Irene Hiemstra
Prada - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Kirsten Kragh Liljegren
Prada - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Chiharu Okunugi
Prada - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Esther de Jong
Prada - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Sam Rollinson
Prada - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Sung Hee Kim
Prada - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Cora Emmanuel
Prada - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Amanda Murphy
Prada - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Liisa Winkler
Prada - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Sasha Luss
Prada - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Lisa Verbreght
Prada - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Kirsten Owen
Prada - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Adriana Lima
Prada - Fall/Winter 2013
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ring Master

Top model Karlie Kloss undergoes a model metamorphosis as she goes head to head with a tiger for the March 2013 issue of American Vogue. Photographer Steven Klein captures the chameleon sporting a a closely cropped helmut bob as she plays ring master to the regal beast. Following a series of editorials for the French Numéro, Muse and Spanish Vogue displaying a decidedly grown up sexier side, Kloss returns to the elegant model as muse role that established her as one of the leading models of her generation. Fashion editor Camila Nickerson decks Kloss out in sculptural ensembles from the Spring/Summer 2013 collections of Carolina Herrera, Maison Martin Margiela, Stella McCartney, Vera Wang and Tom Ford as she plays ball and chain with kitty cat. With a barren rocky desert outcrop and blue sky horizon as a backdrop, Kloss and her furry friend look supremely elegant as they tame the beast within.

Karlie Kloss
US Vogue - March 2013
Photographer - Steven Klein
Source - thefashionspot.com

US Vogue - March 2013
Photographer - Steven Klein
Source - thefashionspot.com

US Vogue - March 2013
Photographer - Steven Klein
Source - thefashionspot.com

US Vogue - March 2013
Photographer - Steven Klein
Source - thefashionspot.com

US Vogue - March 2013
Photographer - Steven Klein
Source - thefashionspot.com

US Vogue - March 2013
Photographer - Steven Klein
Source - thefashionspot.com

US Vogue - March 2013
Photographer - Steven Klein
Source - thefashionspot.com