Couture isn’t typically the place to break a new face, but IMG’s Diana F. showed up in all the right places. The elfin Russian first caught our eye as the mystery girl who opened and closed the Nina Ricci pre-fall show in New York. This past week in Paris, she took turns like a seasoned pro at Chanel and Givenchy, all but ensuring her status as one of the top new faces to watch come February.
Sao Paulo Fashion Week’s Animale show was a roll call of the most beautiful faces to emerge from Brazil. The collection was packed full of high-octane glamour, in the spirit of Versace, from dramatic body-conscious silhouettes to leather and horsehair belts and handbags. The real story on the runway, however, was the impressive list of major faces, many of them making their only appearance of the week. Raquel Zimmermann opened the show and was soon joined by Marcelle Bittar, Ana Beatriz Barros, Daiane Conterato, Carolina Pantoliano, Caroline Demarqui, Fabiana Semprebom, Camila Finn, Jeisa Chiminazzo, Solange Wilvert, Claudia Seiler, Monique Olsen, Flavia Lucini, Lais Navarro, Aline Weber, and others. The crowd went crazy as the Brazilian beauties strutted their stuff, and Animale’s investment instantly paid off: Its show had the kind of visceral energy you only get with top-caliber models.
Aussie models don’t represent on the runways like the Russians or Brazilians, but the few that have emerged (Gemma Ward, Catherine McNeil) have certainly caused a stir. The newest sensation from Down Under is 17-year-old Skye Stracke, whom we spied looking every inch an angel at Nina Ricci’s pre-fall presentation on Tuesday. And we hear she’s made quite an impression since arriving in NYC for the first time this week. In addition to booking a Teen Vogue spread, the fair-skinned beauty (she resembles Tanya D. at times) has been optioned for the best exclusives at the Fall shows. We say: The Skye’s the limit.
Korea’s Seung-hyun Kang catwalked to the grand prize in last night’s Ford Supermodel of the World finale, beating out 48 other girls for the 250K Ford modeling contract. In an industry where you can count the successful Asian faces on one hand, Kang’s victory (she’s Ford’s first Far East winner) will hopefully open doors for more girls like her. Now in its 28th year, the Ford Supermodel contest was the original platform for unknown faces to compete for a chance to pursue their modeling dreams. How does it stay relevant in the face of countless “make me a model” programs? The company launched its own series of televised contests in 21 countries last year, including Korea, where girls competed to represent their country in the finale. But don’t expect Ford winners to go the way of television’s other top models—contracts have been awarded to past contestants Chanel Iman (on hand last night to present Kang with her contract), Camilla Finn, and Adriana Lima.
What makes a runway walk different from any other walk? As the gaggle of foreign teens in town to compete in tomorrow’s Ford Supermodel of the World competition learned, it comes down to a steely gaze, a sizable dose of attitude, and as little upper-body movement as possible. The girls (each a representative of her respective country) have been put through a whirlwind of fittings, photo shoots, and castings since arriving this past weekend. We were on hand to witness runway coach Mac Folkes lead the girls in their walking lessons—a difficult task, given that everyone spoke a different language. Folkes touched on everything from facial expression (“stop giving me ‘scared bird’!”), to balance, foot placement, and hand control (“no lobster claws!”). Also there was Eileen Ford, who opined on everything from one contestant’s ill-fitting stilettos to some saucy similarities between this upcoming runway show and a certain lingerie retailer’s catwalk extravaganza. Whether or not each girl taps into her inner Gisele before Wednesday night remains to be seen. They might want to take the advice of Miss Korea, who stomped down the catwalk like a seasoned pro and earnestlynoted that a great walk should come “from the heart!”