Friday, September 3, 2010

"Fashion Week Preview: The Faces" by Cathy Horyn

Fronm the New York Times

Fashion Week Preview: The Faces
New Faces on the runways for New York Fashion Week. Clockwise from top left: Fei Fei Sun, Daphne Groeneveld, Melodie, Bambi Northwood-Blyth, Iris Egbers and Ilva Heitmann.
Now that we’re practically on a first-name basis with Doutzen, Lakshmi and Anja, it’s time we meet Bambi, Fei Fei and Kat. They are some of the new and almost-like-new faces we’ll be seeing next week at the New York fashion shows.

This is crunch time for casting directors, with meetings over the weekend, as more new models arrive in town and people start making decisions about whom they want on their runways. On Thursday, after I spoke in the morning with the casting director Ashley Brokaw, whose New York clients include Narciso Rodriguez, Proenza Schouler and Rag & Bone, she reported in an e-mail message: “Just saw a girl Jessica Clarke @DNA. VERY excited about her. Classic supermodel material from New Zealand.”

It’s all about the “girls.”

There are many casting directors working between New York and Europe, but among the top ones are Ms. Brokaw, Michelle Lee of the public relations and production firm KCD and Maida Gregori-Boina, whose clients include Calvin Klein and Jil Sander. They agreed on some — but not all — of the new models, and they had some thoughts about what differences to look for this season.

High on Ms. Brokaw’s list are Bambi Northwood-Blyth, Melodie at Wilhelmina, Caroline Brasch Neilsen, Fei Fei Sun and Julia Nobis. She elaborated: “Fei Fei doesn’t look like anyone else. She’s an exceptional beauty. Caroline is the full package. She’s got a great body for the shows, a beautiful face, she’s smart. You can check every box. All these girls have great personality and manners. They’re impressive in person.”

Of Ms. Nobis, who is a bit of a tomboy, she said, “You can picture her leaving a casting and jumping on her skateboard.”

Ms. Brokaw and Ms. Gregori-Boina say that clients want models with sensuality plus personality. “I think people are looking for muses, for more than a face and a body,” Ms. Brokaw said. Recalling a meeting recently with the Proenza designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, she said they told her they wanted to see girls with some life experience; maybe they’ve had a boyfriend or traveled a bit. “Things are steering away from the army casting we’ve seen in recent years.”

Meaning the militias of blank-faced models.

Not that models won’t be skinny, but there is a trend toward pouty lips, thick eyebrows, curves and, with some models, a bit of a pale androgynous look. Indeed, some of the girls recall the casting of early Raf Simons men’s shows. Ms. Gregori-Boina says clients are referring to the casting of Helmut Lang, Prada and Jil Sander shows in the ’90s. Among the new faces that she thinks will have a big season are Daphne Groeneveld, Iris Egbers and Hailey Clauson.

Ms. Lee of KCD suggests we might see two distinct model types this season: pouty Lolita, which certainly covers Lindsey Wixson, Barbara Palvin and Ms. Sun; and a somewhat androgynous girl, with linear proportions and striking features; maybe some freckles. Keep an eye on Chloe Memisevic, Ilva Heitmann and Kat Hessen.

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