Madonna and Justin Bieber Are Stealing Jobs from Hard Working Models

Illustration: Joseph Larkowsky

Last night, as part of my quest for a better lifestyle after 2014’s debauchery and body battering, I went on my first ever sober evening date. No booze was consumed, I was elated. On my way home however, after checking Instagram, it felt as if I had fallen off the wagon pre-Prohibition and never managed to get back on. Was I drunk? Was I going insane? It turns out neither, and I realized it was actually true…

Lara Stone, model du-jour, was draped as luxuriously as a Prada mink stole over the body of teenage ‘heartthrob’ (using the term extremely loosely) Justin Bieber, sporting nothing much but a hint of denim and a body full of questionable artwork, lensed by indestructible duo, Mert and Marcus. Bieber had apparently been signed as the new face of Calvin Klein underwear and denim. God help us all.

Now, you don’t have to be a ‘Belieber’ to realize what a technically clever stunt this was from the branding team. Working with one of the world’s most talked about auto-tuned schoolboy, sweetheart Disney Prince looking. Screen-king turned DUI laden, protein shake guzzling, wannabe bad-boy extraordinaire, can only mean one thing; girls and flustered cougars alike are gonna wanna buy those pants.

The problem I have with this is that already, fashion is a cut-throat and demanding environment for some, mostly models, and the constant battles to land campaigns and deals to actually make a living means that modeling, as simple as it looks to outsiders, is one of the most brutal industries around. At least stock market traders already have money to throw about. Add to the equation that narcissistic (and again already extremely wealthy) celebrities, many of whom are trying to relaunch careers, are taking the jobs that are already very few and far between.

Versace illustrated by Joseph Larkowsky

Case and point made with the current Versace Spring 2015 campaign starring none other than the over-photoshopped singer Madonna. Donatella made a serious effort to push the idea of youth and new beginnings backstage after her show in Milan last September, but hiring a girl like Anna Ewers or Lexi Boling who do evoke a young Versace ideal would be a ludicrous suggestion when Madonna is trying to launch a new album. Since when did someone else’s advertising campaign become the new platform to sell your own garbage? The debate over if Vogue should sport more models than actresses on its covers is a mundane and pointless battle which nobody will ever win, but when Nicki Minaj, a woman famed for her Gluteus Maximus and pink wigs lands a campaign for Roberto Cavalli, you have to really reassess the situation. Same is to be said for famed (half for nothing) super couple Kimye landing the Spring 2014 menswear campaign for Balmain, with BFF Olivier Rousteing at the helm. I just cant imagine how they landed that! (If you think women’s modeling is hard, don’t even get me started on the world of the male model.)

One of the brands that is actually famed for using celebrities in their campaigns is Miu Miu, but unlike the tabloid hungry powerhouses, the cast is a little more unpredictable than the cover of US Weekly. Up and coming actress Stacy Martin was picked to front the Fall 2014 campaign, with previous faces including Lupita Nyong’o, Bella Thorne, newly cited Bond Girl Adele Exarchopoulos, and most frequently, Imogen Poots for SS15. These girls are not household names, but are trying to forge out careers for themselves just the same.

Fashion constantly batters us with a barrage of “new talent,” continuously reminding us that they are ‘investing’ and ‘nurturing’, all key buzz words in the world of convincing consumerism; however, I feel it’s time to hang up the tawdry celebrity, leave them for the covers of numerous glossies parading as fashion magazines, and give back the campaign to the model! After all, it is their job.

The 10 Cutest Instagrams You Missed from Milan Fashion Week Day 2

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If you can’t be there, then peeping all the best Instagrams is a close second best.

Saskia De Brauw getting some yoga in before the Fendi show


How many hands does it take to do hair at Fendi? Approximately five.


An anomaly at fashion week: Michael Carl manages to get a workout in.


Cara and Joan doing what they do best at Fendi.


Highlighter-as-eyeliner at Max Mara. [Editor’s note: of course Emily, the organization freak, like this — A.S.]


Gemma Ward is BAAACK!!!


Coco Rocha front row at Moschino, in Moschino.


Backstage at Fausto Puglisi.


Spotted: Elle Woods at Moschino


It’s a Jeremy Scott / Barbie world at Moschino.

Can We Talk About Gemma Ward Opening Prada?!

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It’s happened before. Liberty Ross on the runway at Alexander Wang, Giselle at Wang, Kirsty Hume at Proenza Schouler… our favorite supers tend to come back now and again, and it’s always a thrill, but, YOU GUYS… Gemma freaking Ward opened the Prada show.

We have missed her dearly for ages. We’ll always have the treasure trove of archival glossies she’s appeared in over the years (up until 2008 when she quit the biz) and sure, we can catch her on film (did you know she was in The Great Gatsby?) but seeing her back in her element today? Everything.

We hope this means we’ll see more of those ethereal, doll-like features in editorials and ads soon. And in the mean time, thanks Miuccia.

“Bigger, Better, and More Leather!” for Zana Bayne

Models backstage at Zana Bayne. Photo by Sonny Vandevelde. 

Maybe it’s because it’s impossible to resist a cute baby, but more likely the romantic mood and beautiful styling of Zana Bayne’s spring 2015 collection did me in. However I got hooked, I am, and I had the pleasure of speaking with the designer about real life moments on the runway and what’s next for her brand. 

The collection felt like a growth and departure from the strict leather of previous seasons; there’s a lot of depth with the inclusion of the clean white pieces.

I have a totally romantic point of view when it comes to design. A lot of the initial inspiration, with the shirting and shirt dresses [a collaboration with Norisol Ferrari], was this idea of easiness and lightness, being able to bring something softer to leather. Which sometimes can come off really hard. So I wanted to bring something beach-y to the collection. One of the biggest inspirations was moonlit water on the beach at night. What would somebody be wearing in that setting? How would they be feeling?

Look 2

When I watched the show and saw these beautiful looks, it made me want to pack up the collection, move to a house by the water and fall in love… and then the baby at the end felt so perfect for that! I mean, that’s how it works in real life, right? How did the baby come to be in the show?

The model is Mollie Gondi, and that was her baby. I just thought it’d be a really beautiful way to end this romantic, fantastical show. I wasn’t really thinking so much about the symbolism as I was about the visual of just how impactful that would be. I like for people to draw their own narrative from having them [Mollie and baby Phoenix] in there. But I wanted it to be a really pretty, spring summer collection! I didn’t really realize how much having baby Phoenix at the end would really resonate with people. And it’s unexpected for a leather collection.

Look 25

There have been a few moments like that this season, where it’s not strictly models on the runway. Dustin Yellin walked at Nonoo giving his best white girl impression. That obviously had more humor and was less about symbolism… Travi$ Scott basically roughhoused down the runway at Mark McNairy. At your show, when cooed at the same time it was so funny.

I saw it over the monitor!

It was a nice connecting moment, everyone laughed at themselves after.

Yeah I think people are trying to find a way to bring more life to runway, and hearken back to the ‘90s runway where there was personality and a story. We’re all kind of trying to find a way to escape the fast walk and the same pacing. For me I love a little bit of attitude and sassiness… but even with the Gareth Pugh presentation, that’s another person trying to take something off the runway.

Opening Ceremony put on a play.

It’s something really special for people at the show. It’s a moment you’re experiencing.

What’s next, what do you hope happens for your brand?

After this we go into sales, bring everything to Paris…. Checking out the tannery over in Amsterdam, hopefully working on some leather innovations there. Visiting my friend who just had a baby — another reason why I had Phoenix in the show. I think in October we’re back in New York and starting on the new collection! I’m making pieces for a film this next week. I did a special installation for a fitness studio called Monster Cycle.

I’m really interested in focusing on the collection of handbags. There were five new styles for the show. We’re working on those. I’m trying to secure myself in as a luxury accessories label.

It does not stop from here. I’m glad it doesn’t stop. Bigger, better, and more leather!

Man Up and Get Sexy with Suiting

By the beautiful August we’re having, you’d be forgiven for forgetting to get your fall shopping in order. But here’s a hint to get you started: No cooler weather wardrobe would be complete without simple suiting– think of Helmut Newton’s models wearing Le Smoking — is there anything chicer?

Sure, you can show up in black, but borrowing a few more details from the boys’ll draw even more eyes. Herringbone and houndstooth looked good this season on the men at Saint Laurent and Valentino, and it’ll look just as good on you in this iteration from Tommy Hilfiger.


A print this subtle’ll draw all the right eyes just a little closer, so make sure you’re ready for the extra interest.

Kat (Marilyn) wears Tommy Hilfiger women’s houndstooth blazer and pant.

Photographer: Justin Bridges
Hair/makeup: Margina Dennis
Fashion editor: Alyssa Shapiro

Special thanks to Pamela Bell

Natalia Vodianova Poses with Her One-Month Old Son, Nude and Breastfeeding

And we say, YES. This isn’t a gratuitous photo, it’s motherhood, and it’s been taken by photographer Paolo Roversi as a gift for Vodianova’s boyfriend and son Maxim’s father, Antoine Arnault. It’s family, it’s love, it’s natural, it’s beautiful.

Below her photo she wrote,

Happy birthday baby from Paolo, Maxim and I. Love you @antoinearnault

She’s not the first public woman to publish photos of herself breastfeeding her child. Women from Jerry Hall to super Gisele to singer Pink have all done the same, and we say, more power to ’em. Click through to see a few below.

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Gisele’s ‘Heart Of Glass’ Playing At H&M Tonight

In New York? Heading to Times Square? If you weren’t considering it before, you might want to hop on a Midtown-bound train soon — Bob Sinclair will DJ at H&M in Times Square from 6-8, and he’ll be playing Gisele’s new song, Heart of Glass. Yeah, you know the one.

But seriously, is there anything the super can’t do?

Watch the music video below, then head to H&M for a little kick off to the weekend.


Get Nude With Grace Coddington

Cats, nude photographs, and cats. These are a few of Vogue creative director Grace Coddington’s favorite things. Profiled in the May 3 issue of WSJ Magazine, Coddington lets us in on the Simon Says of modeling in her very first (and very nude) photoshoot :

“I think I was very naive. It didn’t occur to me that it was a weird thing to do, but I thought Norman Parkinson was an extraordinary photographer, and when he asked me to take off my clothes, it was just the same as ‘Stand up’ or ‘Sit down.’”

Coddington has curated an upcoming nude photography auction for Paddle 8 titled, transparently, “No Clothes”.

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Photography by Arthur Elgort for WSJ. Magazine