Monday, March 31, 2008

German Special: Two For The Price Of One

I suppose this title is a bit misleading, since I'm obviously not selling anything. However, just placate me here and enjoy the kitschy deli lingo for a moment. Generally I only blog about one new face at a time, so as to make each post unique, or something equally sentimental. But what happens when you have two gorgeous, fresh faced German girls that both deserve some attention? Well, my solution is apparently to use a trite expression and group them together in one very special, very German post.

First up is the beautiful Natalie H., from Iconic Management in Berlin. Sure, Iconic has a bevy of beauties on their development board at the moment, but what impressed me about Natalie was the strength and intensity behind her eyes. Honestly, a stare that piercing is a very rare quality for any model, let alone a fresh face.

(all images courtesy of Iconic Management)

Now combine Natalie's steely gaze with her timeless bone structure and unique nose, and her appeal becomes even more brilliant. Standing at 5'9.5" with 32.5-23-34.5 measurements Natalie comes across as the kind of strong editorial girl that most agencies should be excited to mold and develop.

Our second German delight is the impeccable Reneé from Place Models in Hamberg. Don't let her soft, quirky aesthetic fool you, Reneé is definitely capable of delivering an equally impressive gaze. Perhaps its that juxtaposition of soft and hard that makes her all the more unique, because I simply adore the way her mischievous stare seems to betray the rest of her mouse-like features.

(all images courtesy of Place Models)

I'm not sure if this reference point will make sense to anyone, but Reneé has that very unique Heathers appeal to her. You know what I mean, totally an A+ student on the surface, but more than capable of breaking a few hearts before class. Trust me, it's more an observation of her projected attitude, than a visual reference to Shannen Doherty. Either way, Reneé is standing tall at 5'10" with a textbook case of 34-24-35 measurements, and the type of unique face that many an influential designer have been known to adore (and yes I'm looking at you Miuccia!).

Well there you have it, my first double-feature on my two favorite German girls at the moment: Natalie H., and Reneé. Enjoy!

Edited to add: I just realized that Natalie H. is in fact Natalie Hanackova and is actually Czech. I apologize for the mistake, but sometimes these things happen; Natalie's mother agency is Bohemia Models. Also, Reneé's last name is Saibert.

In Bloom: Charlotte O'Donnell

Elite certainly seems to be getting their footing back. After years of riding the success of Coco Rocha on the runways they delivered Karlie Kloss and Ali Stephens two seasons ago, and finally broke the Top Model curse with Alice Burdeu last season. Oops, are we still not supposed to mention that? Anyhow, it should come as no surprise that I'm always interested to see what kind of new girls they're signing to their expansive board. Well, it appears as if Elite is keeping their talent in the family and relocating the incredible Charlotte O'Donnell from Elite Toronto down to the development board in NYC (yet another wonderful offering from Canada!).

(all images courtesy of Elite Models)

There's a very expensive looking serenity to Charlotte's appeal, especially in those sparkling blue eyes, that reminds me of Giedre Dukauskaite to certain degree. More over, I love the way her wavy hair perfectly frames her long, structured, and yes slightly freckled, face. Charlotte definitely has a very particular aesthetic that I could see looking right at home on a Marc by Marc runway, or Teen Vogue editorial in the future.

Standing tall at 5'11", Charlotte is all the more bookable with her ridiculous set of 32-24-33 measurements that should make her a great runway girl in the future. Some girls can make even the most calm and peaceful features appear new and interesting again; Charlotte is definitely a part of that elite (I'm really sorry, but the play on words was just too tempting) group. I for one am eagerly anticipating her development!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fresh Faced: Janelle L'Hirondelle

Oh, Canada. There are plenty of times when people make jokes about Canada being our forgotten attic to the north. As far as I'm concerned, Canada is much more than that. After all, in high school it was also the place you could go to start drinking and gambling three whole years before you could at home. No one else had 'Windsor Weekends' growing up? Just me?

Anyhow, I digress. I like to consider Canada more of a non-stop model making institution that always has something new and refreshing to share with the rest of the world. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Mode Models, the agency that brought us Heather Marks, Julia Dunstall, Johanna Strickland, and Meghan Collison, would have plenty of talent waiting in the wings. Take for instance the uniquely charming appeal of Janelle L'Hirondelle:

(all images courtesy of Mode Models)

Are you seeing the brilliantly executed expression behind her eyes? That very sullen and jaded expression works perfectly to form a sharp juxtaposition with her light hair and eyes, and her gamine frame. Sometimes it really is all about attitude, and as far as I can tell from her polaroids, Janelle is more than capable of delivering in that department. From serene, to aloof and back to disillusioned in a matter of three polaroids, she truly is a girl after my own heart.

At 5'9" Janelle comes across as a girl with much more to offer than just a few extra inches in height department (she's also boasting a killer set of 33-23-33.5 measurements). So, let us all take a moment to thank Canada, and the impeccable collective eye of the team at Mode Models of course, for continuing to provide new and refreshing faces.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Supreme Shifts

Do I really need to preface this post with another explanation of why I appreciate the branding and concise image of the models at Supreme Management? I thought not. Anyhow, the first part of this post is more of an update where Joice Maria Monback is concerned. I've been anxiously awaiting the chance to see how she photographs under Paul Rowland's direction, and I could not be happier with the results:

(all images courtesy of Supreme)

Joice comes across beautifully serene and emotive, and yet those bright amber colored eyes give her an unforeseen feline twist.What's more surprising to me are the recent shifts occurring on their board. It's always disappointing when a girl is dropped, and today five faces disappeared from the website (though I would highly doubt that any of their careers are close to over). However, in more surprising news, one of last season's breakout stars, Martha Streck made her debut on the Supreme board. I for one had always imagined that she would go to Women, but after seeing her polaroids, I completely understand the decision. It's all about the intensity in her eyes and the way Martha embraces her fiery locks.

Long live the unique Brazilian girl. Years after Gisele came and invented the Brazilian bombshell, and the Supreme triplets of Carolina, Caroline and Daiane challenged that concept to its very core, I find it refreshing to see that Brazil still has plenty of new takes on beauty to present to the world. And with the new vacancies on the Supreme board, its only a matter of time until even more intelligent takes on beauty will be presented (Willamijn Koppelman for one, and perhaps Dasha Bichevina?). More than anything, I look forward to even more polamania on the Supreme front. Cheers!

ETA: I stand somewhat corrected. Or at least I'm hypothesizing that something different happened. First off, the point of this blog is not to gossip. However, I did make mention that five girls were "dropped" by Supreme, by which I meant they were no longer on the website. After some sleuthing with Vicky, I came to discover that they all shared the same booker. Given the buzz about this new super-agency looming, I suppose we'll be seeing them soon?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fresh Faced: Suzie Bird

So, if an onomatopoeia is the formation of a word based on sounds, do we really have any equally exclusive word for when things are named after what they look like? Well in the case of Suzie Bird at Elite Paris, I suppose I'm just going to call her last name apropos, as there is something decidedly avian about the shape of her insanely high cheekbones, nose and lips. Yes, there are plenty of other models with similar pointed, bird-like features, but what truly is holding my attention is what Suzie does with her eyes. There is a very quite and stoic strength behind her big brown eyes that comes across as very confident in photographs.

(all images courtesy of Elite Paris)

More over, I'm really enjoying the subtle androgyny that Elite is building upon in these polaroids. There is something decidedly Jil Sander about the combination of a clean, strong, angular face and clean lines of the clothes Suzie is wearing. Anyhow, Suzie's debut on the Elite website has come without statistics, but from what I can tell her body is looking quite bookable (albeit about maybe 5'9.5"?) and her portfolio is actually quite nice for such a newcomer.

I for one am looking forward to watching Suzie's development process unfold over at Elite, and presumably Ford in New York, which will hopefully include more of those avant-garde polaroids that I'm so fond of. In any case, Suzie is fast becoming one of my favorite faces on that Elite Paris development board which is already stacked with potential.

Edited to add: Just a brief editorial here, but I would like to note that no modelista in the online community ever truly discovers a girl; we're not in that realm. However, when I'm not the first to come across a model online, I am at least wise and considerate enough to credit and thank those who did. To me, there is nothing more underhanded than passing off someone's work and ideas as your own.

Monday, March 24, 2008

In Bloom: Laura de Lannoy

Here's a little story for everyone before I delve into this. Once upon a time, on the last day of 2007, I spent the morning online with Penelope from MNP, searching through the bevy of new faces presented during the reopening of the Way Model Management website. Generally, Penny tends to prefer a slightly softer face, compared to my tastes for a more intense look. However, when our tastes meet (and Way seems to have a habit of making that happen), the results are laced with enthusiasm on both parts. So imagine my excitement when I saw Brazilian Laura de Lannoy who seemingly epitomizes the convergence of our tastes as she's both youthful and intense behind her eyes, and all around stunner at 5'11" and 31-24-35.

(all images courtesy of Way Model Management)

Fast forward to this morning, almost three months afterwards and not an update to be had. I was actually planning on profiling Laura sometime this week, so imagine my surprise when I saw Laura profiled on O2W this morning! Plus, it turns out that Penelope's initial guess that Laura would end up at Marilyn was correct after all. Though I secretly loath how archaic Marylin's website is, their board is finally starting to come back together again, and Laura should make a great addition.

She's tall, youthful, and has the devious quality to her stare that I will always find incredibly alluring. It's just again reassuring to know that other people are seeing the same potential that you do. I just cannot wait to see how Laura develops under the management at Marilyn

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fresh Faced: Paulina Szulda

You have to hand it to the modeling industry for continuing to keep things fresh, season after season. Just when you might have thought that Next was going to continue force feeding us Catherine McNeil fever, they bounce back to expertly deliver Abbey Lee Kershaw and Karmen Pedaru last season. Oh, and they bought out Karlie Kloss' contract from Elite. So it should be no surprise that I've been looking to see which of their new faces would leave me waiting for September. Well that girl just so happens to be the incredible Polish beauty, Paulina Szulda from Gaga Models.

(all images courtesy of Next's PhotoASP)

There's something enchanting about the way Paulina's perfectly bow-shaped lips mimic the angles of her strong jawline. Combine that with those piercing, moody blue eyes, and her 5'1o" frame and 33-24-35 measurements, and Paulina could very well be one of the most promising new faces at Next this moment. Also, thank god some agencies are still providing these basic digitals for first impressions. I know I mentioned this before, but I obviously prefer to see beauty in the raw before I have to see it airbrushed to all hell. It also makes a transformation like this below, all the more impressive.

Well I for one am entirely sold on Paulina's potential. Plus, I cannot help but think that Paulina would look right at home on the Jil Sander runways. Hopefully the next few months will be friendly to Paulina's development, because she certainly has all the raw goods.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Updated: Aneta Bielecka

First of all, I love O2W a lot. No, really a lot. They stand for new faces, and enjoy the development process as much as I do. Plus, their track record is impeccable and taste level in models is uncanny. Needless to say, I was somewhat surprised when I presented my discovery of Aneta Bielecka to Julio, only to find him equally impressed.

More than anything, I'm just happy to finally have a last name for this beautiful girl. Well, that and I'm pleasantly surprised to see how motivated and tenacious Aneta was in starting her own career. Some may call it conceited when a model submits her own pictures (i.e. the start of Doutzen's career many a year ago), but I call it motivated. To know that you have that special something is not arrogant, so much as it displays a sense of confidence and an understanding of the business.

I would be lying if I claimed to not be the slightest bit satisfied that my taste passed the test at O2W. After all, its reassuring (though not necessary, of course) when your eye for talent, so to speak, is confirmed. Perhaps this is only meaningful to me after not landing the job of my dreams a week ago, but it is truly an honor to be called a "vigilant colleague" by people who share the same enthusiasm and love for this field.

Anyhow, thanks to their sensational connections at O2W, Julio was kind enough to share with everyone the background story on Aneta:

After one of our more vigilant colleagues brought Aneta Bielecka to our attention, we contacted our wonderful friend Gosia at Avant Management Warsaw for details. Now 17, this Polish girl from Wroclaw was discovered last year when she took the proverbial bull by the horns. Aneta did what any 180cm tall gorgeous girl with “big blue hypnotizing eyes” would do. She got on the internet and sent in some photos. Of course Gosia was amazed. So much so that she trekked to see Aneta in person and just knew Avant “had to have her.”

It is hard not to state the obvious. That height combined with 81cm-60cm-90cm measurements merits thick Sharpie check marks in the plus column. Oh but there’s more. Turns out she’s graceful too. And in the last few months her development has come along nicely, building on an already impressive confidence that will be “super on the runways.”

Aneta’s interests include photography and painting. She’s athletic as well and will be glad to take you on in her two favorite sports, a game of volleyball or a tennis match. Her dream? The cover of American Vogue.

Go for it, we say! Thanks so much to Gosia for her enthusiastic assistance.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

In Bloom: Ryan

By far, one of my favorite features in a model is androgyny. Generally I prefer that those features show in their face, but I suppose I'm still gullible enough to fall for a girl with a boy's name. So it goes without saying that I would feature a girl named Ryan from Folio in Montreal. Not only that, but this latest Canadian import just debuted on the DNA website today. Given my new fascination with wider faces on models, Ryan is coming across very bookable to me. Those wide cheekbones perfectly offset her luminous blue eyes, and intense stare.

(all images courtesy of Folio and DNA)

What impresses me thus far about Ryan, is her ability to give a varied and yet suitable range of expressions in her face, so early in her career. Her above photos are strong and crisp enough to make her future on the runways look quite promising, well that and her 5'10" frame and 34-24.5-35 measurements. Speaking of which, was that Ryan who shot the Rad Hourani Look Book? I mean clearly that's a Rad Hourani look in the third image above. If anyone knows, I would love confirmation.

Anyhow, her softer shots demonstrate Ryan's porcelain skin and bright eyes, making her a strong candidate for beauty editorials in the future.

The question is now, whether DNA can keep her career focused on the luxury, editorial markets because some of her more commercial shots (while nice to building a portfolio) seem to be selling Ryan a little short of her potential. I strongly believe that DNA will be coming back into their own next season, and hopefully Ryan will be at the head of the class. Well, either her or Lizelot Rippen if the partnership between Viva and DNA remains as strong as it has been.

An Aesthetic Shift For Elite

Sure, this blog is primarily focused on showcasing new and developing faces in the modeling industry, but to ignore individual agencies and not showcase interesting developments on that front would be irresponsible. So I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight a shift that I'm beginning to notice over at Elite Models Paris, particularly in their development board.

It should come as no surprise that the new partnership between Ford Models in New York and Elite Models in Paris has been producing some strong talented on both fronts. I've been quite enamored with the selection of faces on the Elite's development board for awhile now, and it seems they are starting to really come into their own as far as aesthetics go. Take a look at these recent polaroids for Natasha Belebrovik, Loris Kraemerh, Jennifer Messelier, and Louise Houdart:

(all images courtesy of Elite Models Paris)

Do you see what I see? There is a very vintage, but decidedly youthful and spontaneous quality to this styling that is beginning to clearly define these girls. Look, it goes without saying that Paul Rowland's polaroids for Supreme revolutionized the impact of one of the most basic elements of marketing a new face. Copy cats of the Supreme method have usually paled in comparison, at least until this shift at Elite Paris. The styling is avant-garde without being pretentious, and that achievement should not be overlooked. My favorite choice thus far has to be Jennifer Messelier's bow above, but I am also quite fond of this bee piece used again for Messelier and Hana Jirickova:

I love that retro feel in terms of color and quality, juxtaposed with the playful and fresh styling. As seemingly minute decisions such as these become more repetitive, I cannot help but wonder if Elite Paris is starting to carve out its own branded image (or better yet, when this method will be implemented on Adama Diallo)? Anyhow, in an industry that revolves around selling image, and making it a tangible, lucrative commodity, a strong marketing strategy goes a long way.