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July 29 2014

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Coming From Behind

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Last week in Paris, as is typically the case, the season’s trends came into focus and the top newcomers broke away from the pack. Front-runners Nadja Bender and Marie Piovesan finished out the marathon month with about 50 shows apiece, while Vanessa Axente (pictured) and Elza Luijendijk, who both debuted as Prada exclusives, made their respective impacts on the runways that matter. Axente opened Valentino and Celine, and walked Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, and Miu Miu, among others. And naturally, there are already Prada campaign rumors swirling around the 16-year-old Hungarian stunner—but then again, that’s always a given when Miuccia selects you to open her influential Milan show. Luijendijk, who we think is a dead ringer for a young Michelle Pfeiffer, bookended Yves Saint Laurent and scored other highly selective spots in the Balenciaga and Hakaan shows. While these new girls definitely stepped it up, possibly the most inspiring model story this season was the handful of models who unexpectedly came out of the woodwork—girls like Ava Smith and Kel Markey, who had been flying under the radar for quite some time and then started turning up on all the major Fall catwalks. Proof that you don’t necessarily need a white-hot first outing to make it big in this industry—just a little perseverance, a striking personality (and look), and maybe a superstar booker.

Photo: Karl Prouse / Getty Images

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