The Fresh Crop
It was all about the Super Bowl for most people this weekend, but not for the models walking in New York fashion week, who were busy shuttling to and from back-to-back castings. Andrew Weir (who casts for Thakoon, Jen Kao, and Rebecca Taylor) can spot a potential star from across a room, and there were plenty of them at his ACW casting call on Saturday at the Hudson Hotel. “Do they even know they have these crazy bodies?” he said, referring to Lithuanian stunner Aiste Regina. But it was Roberta Narciso, an Elite agency contest winner with mile-long legs, who really caught Weir’s eye. “She’s from Angola, so she’ll walk like royalty,” he said. After she took a few strides, Weir enthused, “Oh my God, that is crazy. This does not happen in America.”
Meanwhile, over at the BCBG Max Azria showroom, casting duo Barbara Nicoli and Leila Ananna (who also select girls for top clients including Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry, Gucci, Marchesa, and Versace) were on the lookout for models with a straightforward kind of beauty, which Ananna described as an “eighties glamour—not the fragile, quirky look anymore.” It was girls like South African newcomer Katryn Kruger—one of Prada’s Spring ’12 campaign stars—who they were especially taken with, along with Nadine Ponce, Josefine Nielsen, and Appoline R. We also spotted Kelly Mittendorf (pictured, below), who was unknown until she was cast in Prada’s Fall ad campaign, in the mix.
Though Nicoli and Ananna say straightforward looks are what they want right now, that’s not the case with all casting agents. Jennifer Venditti, who casts for the likes of Rodarte, Tory Burch, and Helmut Lang, told Style.com over the phone this weekend, “Agents will often wait to break in a girl in Europe because New York designers often don’t take risks on a more unique look.” She cited current Balenciaga campaign star Laura Kampman (an aspiring Dutch photographer who was discovered on Facebook) as an example of redefining beauty. “You can see the character in her walk,” Vendetti said. “These days, models are expected to be more than just a hanger. They have to be ‘the whole girl’ and brand themselves in a way that makes them memorable in an industry where you’re competing against celebrities and thousands of other models for editorials and campaigns.” Let the contest begin.