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August 20 2014

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4 posts tagged "The Society"

The Tao of Tao Okamoto: A Sneak Preview of the Japanese Supermodel’s Photo Exhibition Celebrating Her Fifteen-Year Career

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TAO OKAMOTO BY TIM RICHARDSON

Tao Okamoto is a “model” in every sense of the word. Since she began appearing on runways and in glossy editorial spreads fifteen years ago, the Japanese beauty has become one of the industry’s most sought-after faces (and helped break down barriers for Asian catwalkers). In recent years, Okamoto has extended her influence beyond fashion. In 2011, she helped raise funds and awareness for victims of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that rocked her home country. Last summer, Okamoto made her acting debut in the X-Men blockbuster The Wolverine. Keeping up her silver-screen streak, she was cast in the upcoming action flick, out in 2016, Batman vs. Superman, and also made her first TV appearance in the new Japanese miniseries Chi no Wadachi.

Adding to her already-full plate, Okamoto has found time in the past year to do a special series of shoots—commissioned by her New York agency, The Society Management—with fifteen emerging photographers to honor her fifteen-year-long career. The resulting exhibition, Tao Okamoto 15, will be unveiled tonight at Hudson Studios in Manhattan and is open to the public for one day only. On view are unique images lensed by up-and-coming talents including Max Snow, Victor Demarchelier, and Santiago & Mauricio. An exclusive sneak peek of Tim Richardson’s portrait debuts here on Style.com. Below, we spoke with Okamoto about her latest showcase, balancing acting and modeling, and more.

Do you have any interesting on-set memories from the photo shoots for your new exhibition?
I remember the Maurizio Bavutti [shoot]. It was just the day before my movie premiere, and it was a funny experience because I looked totally different from one day to the next—from being covered in clay, which was an edgy, artistic look, to a glamorous Hollywood look.

Had you collaborated with any of these photographers before, and did you enjoy working with any one of them in particular?
I hadn’t worked with any of them before, but each and every one of them surprised me because they all had very unique, exciting ideas, so I can’t pick only one. I just followed and fit myself into each of their worlds.

How have your recent acting roles changed your outlook on modeling?
I think they’ve allowed me to become more fearless and to express myself in a bigger way. Acting has also freshened me up to the subject of photography.

Tao by VICTOR DEMARCHELIER

You sat in quite a few front rows during the Fall ’14 shows [Chanel, Givenchy, Stella McCartney, and Calvin Klein, to name a few]. What was it like watching fashion from the sidelines as opposed to walking down the runway?
I’ve always loved fashion and, of course, enjoyed my experiences walking on runways, but I love watching the shows as well! Now I understand more why it’s such a big deal for the industry, and why people work so hard before and during fashion weeks. It’s interesting to see the same things from a different angle.

Are there any designers whom you admire or credit for your success?
I cannot thank Phillip Lim enough for bringing me to the stage I’m at right now. He also made a special dress for my movie premiere in Japan last summer. There are a few more designers who I have strong relationships with, as more than just a model. I will always remember how they appreciated me at the beginning of my career, and I would love to repay them as an actress somehow if I can.

Do your fans miss that signature bowl haircut you sported a few years ago?
I hear that a lot and really appreciate it, but I don’t plan to return to that haircut at the moment. I’m enjoying my new look!

In general, how do you unwind?
When I feel stressed, I [do] karaoke and sing for hours!

Tao Okamoto 15 debuts tonight (7 to 10:30 p.m.) at Hudson Studios, 601 West 26th St., 13th floor, and will be on view to the public through Friday, May 9.

Photos: Tim Richardson; Victor Demarchelier

Making the Cut: A Look at Our Top Ten New Models List, and a Shout-Out to the Runners-Up

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Model Runner Ups

Believe it or not, there’s quite a bit of number crunching that goes into creating our top ten new models list. Each season, we go through the crop of fresh faces and break down each girl’s show list. We consider the quantity and quality of shows she walked and factor in exclusive appearances (yes, going the selective route can still pay off) as well as all-around buzz. One part of the equation that requires a bit more deliberation is deciding just who qualifies as “new.” Take Lexi Boling, for example. Technically, it was the Chicago-born catwalker’s sophomore season; she did Alexander Wang and several big shows in Paris during Spring ’14. But she didn’t pop up in all four cities last September and we couldn’t deny the impact she made this season, so we included her in our Fall ’14 roundup. On the other hand, someone who didn’t make the cut because we felt she had a tad too much experience was icy blond Nastya Sten. With sixty-three Fall shows under her belt, the Russian model was the most in-demand girl of the entire season. Meanwhile, we’re positively smitten with Natalie Westling’s flame-red hair and tomboyish appeal, but she simply didn’t stomp enough catwalks to qualify as a top newcomer. But that’s not to say that these ladies don’t deserve shout-outs. Below, we bring you the stats for Sten, Westling, and more noteworthy runners-up for Style.com’s top ten new models list.

Model Runners Up

Name: Nastya Sten (THE SOCIETY), middle right
Shows Walked: 63
Highlights: Opened Vera Wang, Tory Burch, Peter Pilotto, Chalayan. Closed Chanel, Diane von Furstenberg. Walked Altuzarra, Calvin Klein Collection, Proenza Schouler, Christopher Kane, Fendi, Versace, Alexander McQueen, Céline, Lanvin, Miu Miu, Saint Laurent.

Name: Natalie Westling (THE SOCIETY), top right
Shows Walked: 13
Highlights: WalkedMarc Jacobs, Giles, Fendi, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Valentino.

Name: Kate Grigorieva (THE LIONS), top left
Shows Walked: 17
Highlights: Opened Donna Karan, Barbara Bui. Closed Giambattista Valli. Walked Gucci, Versace, Isabel Marant, Céline, Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen.

Name: Iana Godnia (MAJOR), middle left
Shows Walked: 24
Highlights: Exclusive Calvin Klein Collection. Walked Burberry Prorsum, Christopher Kane, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Céline, Chloé, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, Nina Ricci, Valentino.

Model Runners Up

Name: Kasia Jujeczka (IMG), bottom left
Shows Walked: 22
Highlights: Opened/closed Aquilano.Rimondi. Walked Calvin Klein Collection, Alexander Wang, Prada, Marni, Dior, Lanvin, Miu Miu, Sacai, Valentino.

Name: Larissa Marchiori (THE SOCIETY), bottom right
Shows Walked: 14
Highlights: Opened Dries Van Noten. Walked Prada, Emilio Pucci, Alexander McQueen, Miu Miu, Sacai, Saint Laurent, Valentino.

Photo: IndigitalImages.com 

Model Ming Xi Adds Buyer to Her Résumé

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Ming XiMing Xi has been a top catwalker for several years now, but this season, the major Chinese model reversed roles and sat in the front row at several Paris shows, including Kenzo and Maison Martin Margiela, as a guest buyer and consultant for Hong Kong boutique I.T. Like Tommy Ton and his ilk, who often snap her the streets, the renowned Asian retailer can’t get enough of her eclectic personal style, and trusted her discerning eye. Here, Xi shares some exclusive snapshots from her front-row view and subsequent visits to the designers’ showrooms (where she doubled as her own fit model) exclusively with Style.com. She also called out some of her favorite pieces (with a little translation help from her agent at The Society). “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience because I just love the industry as a whole and hope that people will be positively influenced by my viewpoints, choices, and style,” Xi told us. Have a look at Paris fashion week through Ming Xi’s eyes, below.

Models at Kenzo

A group shot of models on a pedestal at Kenzo.

Kenzo

“The appearance of ukiyo-e prints on the coat and the capri pants gives the look a wonderful nomadic sensibility.” Continue Reading “Model Ming Xi Adds Buyer to Her Résumé” »

High Society

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“Have you heard about The Society?” It’s a question that’s been making the rounds in model-watcher circles for what seems like a year, and now The Society is no longer a secret. After a soft launch during New York fashion week, Elite Paris’ New York outpost—not to be mistaken with the nonaligned Elite New York—officially debuted its Web site yesterday with an impressive roster of established faces, including Lindsey Wixson, Sigrid Agren, Cora Emmanuel, Mackenzie Drazan, and Ming Xi, as well as noteworthy newcomers such as Marine Deleeuw, Josephine Le Tutour, and Manuela Frey. The agency will also represent musicians, including Grace Jones, Oh Land, and Lily Rose Cooper (a.k.a. Lily Allen). “We’ve had the opportunity to be super-selective with the girls we take on rather than being so volume oriented,” a representative told Style.com. “Elite understands the value of investing in a gorgeous face.”

The Society hits the ground running with a huge history and network already in place, which contains the Elite Model Look competition—the largest source of new models in the world. The polished Web site, which was designed by Ezra Petronio and features Santiago & Mauricio-lensed animations of each girl in a grid format (kind of like a glam version of Hollywood Squares, no?), sets the tone for one of The Society’s goals, which is “to promote original editorial content and do interesting projects that converge fashion and art,” a representative said. “It’s a bit different from the standard approach,” which is exactly what the New York modeling industry needs right now. Based on initial impressions, The Society is poised to become a major force.

Santiago & Mauricio / Courtesy of The Society