Just when we thought Paris had maxed out on its supermodel sightings, Freja Beha Erichsen caused us to audibly gasp when she opened Louis Vuitton on the final day of shows. Sure, seeing Gisele Bündchen close Balenciaga and the high-wattage cast at Balmain earlier in the week were definite highlights, but for true model obsessives, it’s difficult to top a surprise appearance by Erichsen, who has been absent from the runways since Spring ’12. Among the other noteworthy ladies in the LV lineup were Liya Kebede, Maggie Rizer, Marte Mei van Haaster (who took a break this season to focus on school), and scads of newcomers including closer Rianne von Rompaey and Julia Bergshoeff. While Bergshoeff also walked Miu Miu later that day, we wish she had done more shows and taken a less exclusive route. Her only other Fall outing was Proenza Schouler.
There were plenty more major modeling moments during the second half of PFW. Miranda Kerr turned up at Sonia Rykiel of all places—the brand stepped things up this time around by enlisting stylist Katie Grand and casting director Anita Bitton. Elsewhere, Sasha Pivovarova made a lovely cameo at Chloé, and Kendall Jenner convinced us to consider her a serious model at Givenchy and Chanel. But even doing those big shows won’t quite earn Jenner a spot on our forthcoming top new models list. The competition in that category is steep, with fresh faces like Lexi Boling, Ola Rudnicka, Waleska Gorczevski, and Harleth Kuusik each walking more than fifty shows. All in all, a very strong season for veterans and promising rookies alike.
We can always count on Paris for high-wattage casts, but we never expected to see so many supermodels this early in the week. None other than Gisele Bündchen kicked things off today by closing Balenciaga (the last time she set foot on a runway was Alexander Wang’s Fall ’12 show two years ago), where she was notably joined by familiar faces Mariacarla Boscono and Natasha Poly. Several hours later, Balmain continued to raise the bar with a lineup full of A-listers, including Angela Lindvall, Anja Rubik, Emily DiDonato, Izabel Goulart, and closer Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (who also walked in the label’s Spring show). Compared to those all-stars, the other major girls in the mix—Karlie Kloss, Joan Smalls, Jourdan Dunn, and Edie Campbell—all but faded into the background. And then leave it to Rick Owens to throw a wrench into the works. Following his step dancers last season, the designer turned heads again by interspersing old-school veterans such as Kirsten Owen and Diana Dondoe with real, mature women (many of whom, we’re happy to say, were not sample size). But this was no street-casting job. Rather, Owens’s casting directors, Angus Munro and Noah Shelley, told Style.com that “most of the ‘women’ were part of the Owens organization.” Owens kept it fresh by keeping it in the family. Speaking of keeping it in the family, we were pleasantly surprised to see Harry Brant follow supermodel mom Stephanie Seymour when he made his runway debut at IRFE. Sadly, his older brother, Peter Brant Jr., didn’t make the cut. There’s always next season, Peter.
It’s virtually impossible to flip through a glossy these days without coming across at least one picture of Karen Elson, whose career has been in overdrive lately with recent ads for Jason Wu, Sonia Rykiel, Paule Ka, Kurt Geiger, and a new campaign for Louis Vuitton, which was announced today. In the brand’s new “Spirit of Travel” series, Peter Lindbergh went on safari in South Africa with Elson and fellow English rose Edie Campbell, and captured them feeding giraffes and riding zebras, respectively. (Campbell is known for her equestrian skills.) Keeping up her red-hot momentum, Elson has made plenty of appearances during the Fall ’14 shows, too—both in the front row and on the runway. So far, she’s turned up on catwalks including Tom Ford, Michael Kors, Donna Karan, and Diane von Furstenberg, and rubbed elbows with the celebs and editors at Alexander Wang and Rodarte. We wouldn’t be surprised to see more of her during the Paris shows.
We’ve just passed the midway point of fashion month with the Milan shows well under way, and there have been plenty of memorable modeling moments thus far, particularly for newcomers. In general, the top-tier, A-list catwalkers have been more selective with their schedules, leaving room for fresh faces to ascend the ranks. Perhaps the easiest way to break down our favorite rookies is by hair color. By and large, it’s been the season of the platinum blond, with familiar faces Julia Nobis, Ashleigh Good, Juliana Schurig, Sasha Luss, and Devon Windsor making a strong case for bleached tresses (reminiscent of Khaleesi from Game of Thrones). Several new models have been riding Fall’s peroxide wave, too. First is ethereal Polish beauty Ola Rudnicka, who debuted at Prada’s Spring show and landed a spot in the label’s latest campaign. She’s turned up on just about every major runway in each city so far. Rudnicka kicked things off on a high note in New York, walking Jason Wu, Michael Kors, Proenza Schouler, and Marc Jacobs. She went on to do Burberry and Christopher Kane in London, and continued to take Milan by storm, bookending No. 21 on Tuesday in addition to walking Max Mara and Moschino yesterday. Another noteworthy newcomer rocking a flaxen mane is Harleth Kuusik (who currently stars in Proenza Schouler’s Spring ads). In New York, she did turns at Rag & Bone, Victoria Beckham, and Proenza Schouler, then followed those up with J.W. Anderson and Erdem in London. We plan to see a lot more of both Rudnicka and Kuusik next week.
Next up is the fiery-tressed group of redheads led by sophomores such as Lera Tribel and Nika Cole (who can forget her teased-out, lamp-shade ’do from Schiaparelli’s Couture show?). They are joined by Quebec native Sophie Touchet, who made an early impact at Thakoon, 3.1 Phillip Lim, MBMJ (a.k.a. Marc by Marc Jacobs), and Burberry Prorsum, then moved on to open Alberta Ferretti and walk in Fendi yesterday. Finally, we’ve got a mixed bag of brunettes, ranging from Dutch stunner Imaan Hammam (she won the genetic lottery with a Moroccan mother and a father from Egypt, and her exotic looks have helped earn her key spots in top-tier casts including Prada, Proenza Schouler, Narciso Rodriguez, and Fendi) to fierce-looking Ronja Furrer (that strong jawline gave her an edge at Altuzarra, Alexander Wang, Christopher Kane, and more). And how about this season’s most buzzed-about newcomer? Waleska Gorczevski has a hell of a name and a hell of a presence. During NYFW, the Brazilian model was the first girl out at Marc Jacobs. She also opened Yigal Azrouël and bookended Victoria Beckham, and has continued to rack up an impressive show list including Calvin Klein Collection, Hugo Boss, Proenza Schouler, Christopher Kane, and Fendi. No doubt Paris will take to her serene, slightly quirky appeal.
Aside from Fall’s freshman class of catwalkers, we’ve witnessed plenty of noteworthy cameos by old-school veterans, too. For example, Alexander Wang’s finale featured the likes of Angela Lindvall, Bridget Hall, Candice Swanepoel, Caroline Trentini, Anne V., Hilary Rhoda, and Jacquetta Wheeler. Meanwhile, Karen Elson has been going at full throttle this year, and she continued to dazzle at Tom Ford, Donna Karan, and Diane von Furstenberg. On the other hand, we’ve got Karolina Kurkova, who surprised us by opening Cushnie et Ochs and turning up at Christopher Kane (where she was easily the most experienced model in the lineup). Other highlights included: Kirsten Owen opening and closing Mary Katrantzou; Mini Anden at Proenza Schouler; Liberty Ross and Stella Tennant at Tom Ford; and the triple threat of Carolyn Murphy, Frankie Rayder, and Liisa Winkler at Michael Kors. Last but not least was the brilliant cast at Burberry Prorsum, which featured Edie Campbell in addition to her two younger sisters, Olympia and Jean. Mark our words, those Campbell girls are stars in the making. And speaking of stars, you can’t deny that Kendall Jenner was a total natural on the runways at Marc Jacobs and Giles.
Beyoncé was not the only one to make a surprise performance at the 2014 Brit Awards yesterday. David Bowie called upon Kate Moss to accept his award for British Male Solo Artist. Not only did the supe deliver Bowie’s acceptance speech, she also sported Kansai Yamamoto’s vintage Woodland Creatures jumpsuit—the same one Bowie wore when he performed as Ziggy Stardust in 1972. “In Japanese myth, the rabbits on my old costume that Kate’s wearing actually live on the moon, Kate comes from Venus, and I’m from Mars,” said Kate, reading a script written for her by Bowie. Sounds about right.