Monday, August 12, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Manon Le Loup

Twenty-one year old Manon Le Loup made serious inroads at the Fall/Winter 2013 collections, stalking the runways for a total of 57 design houses. The statuesque 180 cm tall Lille native stood out from the sea of newcomers with her stunning versatility, effortless chic, and elegant swanlike features as she went in for the kill at BCBG Max Azria, Prabal Gurung, Altuzarra, Calvin Klein, Versace, Emilio Pucci, Balmain, and Valentino. Le Loup's milky translucent complexion make for a strikingly beautiful contrast to her dark auburn tresses and piercing grey blue eyes which have designers, photographers and casting directors inundating her agents at Wilhelmina Models with booking requests. Aside from her spectacular physical traits, Le Loup holds another ace up her sleeve in the guise of an old school Nikon FM analog camera which is often found slung around her slender neck during backstage show proceedings. Le Loup's passion for photography and cinema afford her a unique perspective and an appreciation of the magical relationship between a photographer, the camera, and his/her muse. Le Loup's eagerness to immerse herself wholly into a character whilst on set, lends the resulting imagery an authenticity which simply cannot be faked. Campaign appearances for McQ, Just Cavalli, and Balmain, in addition to editorial bookings for a diverse array of publications including CR Fashion Book, American Harper's Bazaar, Turkish Vogue, Pop, W, and French Numéro attest to Le Loup's fast-track to modelling's elite ranks. Le Loup took time out recently to chat exclusively with IMA about her love of photography, the pros and cons of modelling, and the mystery behind her distinctive last name.

Manon Le Loup
Photographer - Uncredited
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Inoubliable Model Army (IMA): Salut Manon! Thank you for taking the time to chat with IMA. Congratulations on a phenomenal Fall/Winter 2013 season! What were your most memorable recollections of the show season and are you looking forward to the upcoming Spring/Summer 2014 collections?
ML: Hello Inoubliable Model Army! Thank you for your interest! I love your name! To do 57 shows was an amazing experience but when you start to play the game of castings/fittings/shows you want to do more and more! You fall into rhythm with the crazy beat of the show season and it is psychologically difficult: in one way you are so incredibly busy, in another way you're also disappointed if you don't do as much as last season or as much as you expected.

IMA: Would you mind sharing with IMA a little bit of your backstory?
ML: I am 21 years old and I was born in Croix, a city which is part of the metropolis of Lille in the north of France. Someone in the street approached me to do modelling when I was 15 but I didn't understand at the time that modelling was a real job and I was not interested. Later I realised it was an amazing opportunity to travel and to experience the photographic world so I went  into see a modelling agency.

IMA: Fashion week is a real test of endurance, what are your tips for surviving the month long fashion frenzy?
ML: During the Fashion Week tornado you have to make the most of your free time to sleep which is very difficult for me because I become very obsessed by the number of hours I can sleep. It's also vital to establish normal meal times for lunch and dinner and to eat good things to keep up your energy. Also you have to stay positive in any situation and to enjoy every show as if it was the last one.

Balmain - F/W 2013
Photographer - Monica Feudi
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BCBG Max Azria - F/W 2013
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
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Emilio Pucci - F/W 2013
Photographer - Monica Feudi
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IMA: The life a model can be fraught with loneliness with a lot of time spent travelling alone on planes and in foreign cities. How do you cope with this aspect of modelling life?
ML: I try to keep things simple and use my free time on planes and on the train to write and to imagine projects. I love cinema and photography so I try to write or dream. I try to watch a lot of movies on the plane. I love those moments when no one can disturb you, nobody can call you, and I try to escape through my mind and dreams.

IMA: You are often seen carrying a camera around with you backstage during fashion week. Is photography a keen passion of yours and do you feel that this interest provides you with particular insights which enable you to become a better model?
ML: Photography has been a passion of mine for a long time. I love analog, it's more magical. I take a lot of pictures backstage; when I see all these beautiful girls and live through all these beautiful experiences, I feel like I HAVE TO photograph all of this. It's my way to feel good and happy - I need to create and produce. I don't know if this passion makes me a better model because I tend to be more critical about the pictures but I really enjoy the model game that I see... like an actor's role and I always respect the photographers and their choices.

IMA: You recently shot with Emma Summerton for W, and with Kacper Kasprzyk for US Harper's Bazaar and Mathieu César for CR Fashion Book. Do you enjoy the collaborative process and how do you get into character on set?
ML: I love all of these photographers. Kacper is very cool and nice. I've worked with him three times for three very different projects. Mathieu has a genius personal style and is so easy to work with. I absolutely love to enter a story with a character and to follow my feelings to propose an aesthetic or vision. I'm always dreaming of having a part in a movie so I love the acting part of my job.

Vogue Turkey - August 2013
Photographer - Jem Mitchell
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US Harper's Bazaar - June 2013
Photographer - Kacper Kasprzyk
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Georgia Hilmer, Weronika Dus, Manon Le Loup, Joseph Altuzarra,
Vanessa Traina & Melanie Huynh
W Magazine - April 2013
Photographer - Emma Summerton
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IMA: You have a really cool name! Is Le Loup (Wolf in English) your real last name and if not, why did you choose this particular name?
ML: Ahahah, I would love to keep the mystery about my last name but it is true it means "the Wolf", an animal I love because it reminds me of some colours that I like; a gradient of grey and blue, a free and wild spirit, some mystery whilst also resembling the faithful dog.

IMA: French beauties including yourself, Marine Deleeuw, Julia Frauche, Pauline Hoarau, Joséphine LeTutour, Aymeline Valade, and Marie Piovesan have taken the modelling world by storm! What factors do you feel are contributing to this sudden wave of interest in French models amongst casting directors and designers?
ML: French girls maybe look more "real". I love and have a lot of fun with Marine, Julia, Joséphine, Cora (Martinique) and Pauline (Réunion Island). They are all different, very beautiful and sexy. They maybe look more like cinema idols that your typical model. Perhaps that is what fashion folk are looking for in 2013 with the comeback of the 60s and 70s looks.

IMA: Congratulations on scoring two amazing coups - Spring/Summer 2013 only girl campaigns for Balmain and McQ both shot by David Sims. How was the experience of working on such high profile campaigns and were you able to gain any particular insights from collaborating with David Sims?
ML: Those shoots with David Sims were delicious. He makes you feel like a princess. I was feeling really good and totally in my element. You feel it's serious, it's important and everything is so well organised and running smoothly which enables me to give the best of myself. What I love the most is to enjoy the chance to work with very famous super talented photographers and to also stay true to myself.

McQ - S/S 2013
Photographer - David Sims
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Balmain - F/W 2013
Photographer - Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin
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Rodolphe Zanforlini, Manon Le Loup, Julia Frauche,
Dominik Bauer & Karlina Caune
Just Cavalli - F/W 2013
Photographer - Giampaolo Sgura
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IMA: You debuted at Calvin Klein during the Spring/Summer 2013 season. What was involved in the casting process and do you recall your immediate reaction when you discovered that you had been cast in the show?
ML: I was really surprised to be chosen to do the Calvin Klein show. I was living in New York with two other models Anna and Rea who were supporting me a lot. I shared the excitement with them and it was very cool. I had been to six appointment pre-castings, castings and a fitting before the show... I only realised what had happened after the show. It has been something very important to begin my career. I remember it as a very crucial moment.

IMA: What do you love most about modelling and if there was one aspect of the industry that you could change, what would it be?
ML: What I love most about modelling is changing the story and the character in every single shoot and working with different photographers with different styles. I'm also beginning to discover different countries and languages. What I would like to change if anything, is the human aspect. I feel sometimes that you are only judged on your physical aspect, but this is the rules of the game. Also people (outside of the fashion world) sometimes have reactions to models which are not always nice because they are full of clichés which can be difficult to live with.

IMA: French women are renowned for their style. How has your personal style been influenced as a result of your exposure to the industry, and which three designers best reflect your own aesthetic?
ML: I have always loved playing with clothes to create my personal style. Being in the fashion world pushes me to continue to find a style which reflects my personality as much as possible. I can say I love what Olivier Rousteing is doing with the Balmain label and not only because I did the campaign for it. I feel very good in these clothes. I also love Ann Demeulemeester, Haider Ackerman, Rick Owens, the two label collections of Miuccia Prada and Céline. It's so hard to choose as there are so many!

IMA: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
ML: What makes me Inoubliable? Hmmm, that's a difficult question. I can have so many different faces, I am very curious, I'm a big dreamer and from a modelling aspect, I guess I have one of the longest necks in the industry hahaha!

Manon Le Loup
Photographer - Mathieu Vladimir
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CR Fashion Book - Issue 2
Photographer - Mathieu César
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French Numéro - August 2013
Photographer - Liz Collins
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French Revue de Modes - S/S 2013
Photographer - Thierry LeGoues
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Pop - S/S 2013
Photographer - Kacper Kasprzyk
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Special thanks to Roman Young at Wilhelmina Models. For more information on Wilhelmina Models Management, please log onto or

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