7 posts tagged "Andrew Weir"
If you’ve been walking around Soho this week, you’ve probably noticed the mob of lanky girls clad in black, clutching portfolios, and rushing from one open call or fitting to the next. Casting director Andrew Weir (who works with Thakoon, Viktor & Rolf, and Jen Kao) estimates there are over 1,000 models in town for NYFW, and predicted that out of the hundreds of fresh faces he’s seen the past few days, there are “maybe a handful of rookies with the potential to actually break through.” Of the brand-spanking-new girls, Weir called out Russian beauty Lena Lomako (Women) and Caroline F. (Elite Management), who he says “looks perfect for Celine.” We’ve got our eyes on several girls, too. Icy Dutch blonde Stef Van Der Laan (pictured, top right) and Grace Mahary (pictured, top left), who previously starred in a Trey Songz music video. Both made a splash as exclusives on the Givenchy Fall runway, then went on to rack up key Couture appearances in July (Van Der Laan walked Chanel and Atelier Versace, while Mahary popped up at Givenchy again). We wouldn’t be surprised to see each of them do upwards of 50 shows this time around. Others on our radar include 18-year-old South Carolina native Madison Headrick (pictured, bottom right), who made her catwalk debut at Prada, then turned up in the label’s latest ad campaign, and Margita Zuchova (pictured, bottom left), who recently did the Alexander McQueen Resort lookbook and stalked the Dior Couture catwalk. Still, you can never pinpoint just who is going to blast off until the shows get under way, so check back in for our model updates at the end of each city’s fashion week.
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.
Before a model hits the runway—and before she snags her first editorial, her first ad campaign, and her first billboard—she’s got to make it past the sharp eyes of fashion’s casting directors, who are tasked with finding the perfect girls for designers’ exacting visions. In our fashion week series, the industry’s top casting gurus share their thoughts on who we’ll be seeing this fashion week—and beyond.
Andrew Weir casts Thakoon, Rebecca Taylor, Jen Kao, and Rachel Zoe in New York this season. Below, he weighs in on a few of his favorite new and new-to-us faces.
Maria Tomaszewska at FORD (left): “[She] has a neoclassical feel, and reminds me of an [Jean-Auguste-Dominique] Ingres painting.”
Maja Hansen at WOMEN (center): “She is strikingly beautiful, like a 1980′s Vogue cover girl.”
Ilse De Boer at IMG (right): “Has a powerful combination of features, making her one of the strongest faces I’ve seen in a long time.”
The fashion flock have jetted to Paris for the last leg of the Fall 2011 défilés, and along with the editors and front-row mainstays are the runway models, of course. For Dutch duo Viktor & Rolf’s upcoming Saturday show, Andrew Weir held an intimate casting in the 11th arrondissement heavy on the boldfaced names and sprinkled with up-and-comers. Notably, Victoria’s Secret regular Candice Swanepoel, who’s coming off a strong Milan season walking Fendi and Dolce & Gabbana, wowed the casting director. “Candice is a beautiful girl who sends a hush over the room when she floats in,” Weir raved. “She reminds me of what the girls were like when I first started in this business.”
Among the casting’s other stunners were IMG’s Joan Smalls and Elite’s Caroline Brasch Nielsen, who debuted just a year ago and has already fronted Valentino and Marc Jacobs campaigns. On the fast-rising front, DNA’s Saskia de Brauw and Emily Baker are having a buzzy moment, while a few older, more established names, like Delfine Bafort, were on hand as well. For newbies, the openings are slim, but possible. “I have no rules when it comes to casting,” Weir claimed. “But in New York, I can be more experimental, while in Paris, I lean more towards elegance.” And for those looking to capitalize in Paris, the stakes are on a big exclusive. Said the casting director: “A girl can be successful in New York by walking numerous shows, while in Paris the most successful can walk one.”
Top row, above: Candice Swanepoel and Joan Smalls; Second row, above: Aymeline Valade and Delfine Bafort; Below: Marique Schimmel and Iris Egbers.
The gridiron faceoff was fierce yesterday for Super Bowl Sunday, but so was the catwalk competition at ACW Worldwide’s model call for the casting agency’s Fall 2011 New York shows. The lithe and the leggy arrived to try for a spot on the New York runways (ACW casts Thakoon, Y-3, and Jen Kao, among others), and even past success is no guarantee of a good placement. “I was very lucky,” said Kat Hessen (above left), who had a knockout debut Spring 2011 season walking Alexander Wang, Rodarte, Prada, and Miu Miu. “But the second season, you never know. You no longer have novelty on your side. It’s almost like you have to prove yourself.”
“There’s so many new stunning girls each season, but you want somebody that’s not a robot,” explained agency founder Andrew Weir of the process. (Those who want to go deeper into the casting world can also check out his newly launched blog, Weirdiary.com.) “They mostly start so young; many of them have nothing to say yet. But sometimes you’ll meet a young girl who has this amazing style at an early age.” Iris Egbers (Supreme) and Alex Yuryeva (Silent) were two newbies that caught his eye.
There were, of course, catwalk veterans like Rose Cordero (above right), Jourdan Dunn, Eugenia Mandzhieva (above center), and Sophie Srej, too. It was also nice to see a concerted push toward more diversity in the field. Compared to years past, there was a noticeable uptick in young Asian and black models (Li Ming and Melodie Monrose stood out). “That is something that is really exciting,” Cordero enthused. “There used to be certain clients who never hired black models. But ever since Italian Vogue started casting us, it’s been amazing. It really started with that.”
For all the exotic names and new faces, there was only one that created something of a frenzy. Crystal Renn, with her notorious curves (or purported lack thereof), had the casting practically at a standstill. The Ford model, who was game even for an impromptu photo shoot with the press, stopped to chat. “In modeling, there’s not much freedom,” Renn said of her not plus-size but not stick-thin frame. “If you started with a size 35 hip, you’re expected to stay that way. I made a decision in my career to let my body be where it wants to be. I know they say that this industry is all about looks, but the key thing is what I have on the inside. It’s what sets me apart.”