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Brazil’s Next Top Model

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Brazilian models are the country’s most popular fashion export, and, aside from Gisele, who is probably busy basking in post-engagement bliss, many of the best-known names are in full glamorous effect on the runways here at Fashion Rio. Familiar faces Isabeli Fontana, Viviane Orth, Bruna Tenorio, and a bleached-blonde Ana Claudia Michels (in comeback mode after walking last season at Givenchy) all walked for Rio grande dame Mara Mac’s show. But the real news on this catwalker-dotted landscape is fresh face Carolina Thaler, who has been everywhere this week. If model scouts have any sense, she should be promptly shipped off to New York for castings next month—she’s guaranteed to be the next big Brazilian thing.

Framing Helena

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Just because Helena Christensen likes to take a picture now and then, that doesn’t mean she has to take her freaking camera everywhere. That’s according to the supermodel herself, by the way. But at last night’s opening of her new photography show Far From, Close at Neil Grayson’s Dactyl Foundation, Christensen noted that in today’s advanced technological age, not having a camera is merely a formal opportunity disguised as a challenge. “I took them on a phone,” she explained of the series of slide-size photographs (pictured here) in the front room at Dactyl. “You can’t print too large with the phone photos,” she added, “but anyway, I like the small.” Meanwhile, gallerygoers including 30 Rock star Judah Friedlander, Jeff Koons, Todd Eberle, and Christensen’s boyfriend, Paul Banks of Interpol, craned their necks at the tiny prints and squinted. However, sweet relief for the eyeballs could be found in the back, where the large-format prints were hanging and where Christensen pals Yelena Yemchuk and Michael Stipe were hanging out. Judging by the landscape shots, Christensen had managed to pack her camera on a few trips—to the Catskills, to Cuba, to Canada. But she wasn’t packing, so to speak, last night, which means the Christensen set’s post-opening journey to new It spot Macao will have been documented only in memory, or perhaps on camera phones. Far From, Close‘s next stop is the gallery at Chanel’s Ginza boutique next year.

Photo: Helena Christensen

Night Of The Living (And Non-Living) Dolls

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“I guess it’s like an Academy Award for models, but a life-size one,” said Coco Rocha last night at the Rootstein Gallery, standing beside a mannequin made in her exact likeness, complete with her newly unveiled red hair. The Canadian catwalk queen is the latest fashion figure to be immortalized by the iconic mannequin maker. Despite the honor, Rocha admitted to finding all the still-life figures of herself and others on display somewhat creepy. “When I was getting all the pictures done, I turned to this photographer, thinking, ‘Why is he not taking a picture?’ ” said Rocha. “It’s because he wasn’t real.” In one room, a lifeless, yet also somehow lifelike, Agyness Deyn (last year’s pick) stood in expressive silence while guests gawked. Added Rocha with a playful hair toss, “Someone said to me, ‘We might not be able to book you, but we’ll be able to book that.’ ” (That may not be a bad alternative when you can’t book the girl you want.) Meanwhile, over at the Pucci Mannequin Showroom, another figurine-centric event was getting under way. The standing attraction here was Pucci’s new figure, named simply Girl. In lieu of its usual mannequin show, the company presented an exhibition and performance by modern dance ensemble the Buglisi Dance Theatre with the mannequins as backdrop, draped in fashions by It girl-approved designer Frank Tell. If he found models that don’t talk or complain about ill-fitting shoes preferable to those that breathe and smile, he wasn’t saying.

Photo: Gabriela Maj/Getty Images

Loco For Coco? Read On…

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It’s a good day for Coco-philes the world over. The industry’s favorite high-kicking Canadian model, Coco Rocha, has a newly relaunched Web site. Coco-rocha.com will in short order feature a full archive of all (yes, all) her covers, editorials, and advertising work as well as her thrilling behind-the-scenes videos for Style.com. Still want more? In the course of a few weeks, the site will link to the Elite model’s personal blog. Be sure not to skip the intro, which is a fun and flashy flip-through of the model’s black-and-white self-portraits.

India’s Next Top Model?

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India’s modeling industry has given the world some notable exports, including Ujwalla Raut and Padma Lakshmi and most recently, Lakshmi Menon. After snagging starring roles in Givenchy and Hermès campaigns, Menon walked a full slate of top-tier shows at the Spring collections and posed for lensman Mario Testino in a recent issue of Paris Vogue. There’s a new girl, though, who might be the country’s next big thing: Kangana Dutta. Recently signed by IMG, she walked for Vivienne Westwood and Kris Van Assche and had a major editorial in the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar, shot by Oliviero Toscani. As emerging markets become more and more important for luxury brands looking to meet their bottom lines, the trend toward increasingly diverse models starts to make sense. As Dutta says, “Indian women stand out, from the color of their skin to their features. Without us, fashion isn’t complete.”

Photo: Courtesy of IMG