Models off duty, in fashionspeak, is how we describe the style of those who project in their everyday lives a certain aura of coolness–casual, seemingly offhand, and yet entirely unattainable by mere mortals. Spending enough time around the nutty world of designers gives a person a greater perspective on creativity, and often a better appreciation of the craft. For these five supermodels, all beauty ambassadors of L'Oréal Paris, recognizing a star in the making is a skill honed from experience. Likewise for the makeup company, which through its sponsorship of Paris Fashion Week works with designers early on by supporting their shows. "It's interesting to see how many designers are taking on the big names of fashion," says L'Oréal executive Cyril Chapuy of the major débuts at Dior, Lanvin, and Saint Laurent. "And yet the shows that were the biggest successes were from new names altogether."
In addition to the established houses, L'Oréal provides makeup artists and hairstylists to promising brands like Koché, Off-White, and Wanda Nylon, which are helping to maintain the energy and excitement of Paris. Chapuy adds, "Fresh air in every métier is critical."
To preview the spring collection from Paris, here, five of today's biggest models show off looks from fashion's rising stars.
Styled by Leila Smara.
1. Karlie Kloss
Ten years ago, Kloss booked her very first campaign with Olivier Theyskens, then a rising young star who was transforming the house of Nina Ricci. "Mario Sorrenti was shooting, and I had these big, crazy shoes on and was dancing like I was a ballerina," she recalls. "They thought I was some tall, skinny girl from the Midwest, so I don't think they were expecting me to do all these weird, cool shapes. But they were clapping by the end." And she remains loyal to Theyskens, who after turns at Ricci and Theory is launching a signature collection this spring. "I love working with new designers," says Kloss. "There's a lot of pressure - you have to be really responsible if you're going after a big job and at the same time still be able to dream and not color inside the lines." Her own style walks a similarly fine line between the restraint of classic silhouettes and the wow factor of playful accessories. “I’m obviously enormously tall,” she says, “so I like keeping a casual look but edging it up in certain ways.”
(Kloss wears Olivier Theyskens dress, blouse, and sandals; Jennifer Fisher earrings; Cartier ring)
2. Doutzen Kroes
One of Kroes's fondest childhood memories is witnessing the moment when Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington became modeling’s holy trinity. “To be around those girls and see them work was amazing,” she says. This season, Kroes was reunited with Campbell on the runway of Donatella Versace, whose show underlined diversity by including supers from several decades along with the social media-savvy of today. Kroes sees a parallel with what is happening in fashion. “There is a new generation of designers too,” she says, “But there are no more rules. When I started, you did all the shows, and then campaigns, and then you got the contracts that made you rich. Now you just don’t know one clear path to success, but you can get there in many different ways.” Off the runway, she likes wearing oversize men’s clothes: “First, it’s comfortable, but it’s also cool to wear something bigger,” she says. And what does she like most on the runway? “It’s about characters again,” she says. “It’s okay to show your personality.”
(Kroes wears a Vionnet gown)
3. Lara Stone
Don’t expect an oration on fashion from Stone. “My personal style is, like, the most boring,” she says with a laugh. “You would probably not even call it style. Can you call jeans and T-shirts style?” Oh, but of course you can, and Stone is just being humble. She has a sharp eye for cut, fit, and most important, talent, gravitating toward an asymmetrical blazer dress by Virgil Abloh of the red-hot label Off-White for this shoot. “I’m thinking about stealing it,” she says. “In the show they had these glittering sequined socks that are my favorite thing ever, but they aren’t that comfortable, so I probably wouldn’t wear them.” Isn’t there something that makes Stone go a little wild? She laughs. “I do like a bit of a thigh-high boot, I must say.”
(Stone wears an Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh dress)
4. Irina Shayk
“My taste is very simple,” says Shayk. “Less is more.” So it goes without saying that she had no problem when Marc Jacobs asked her to close his spring show wearing a pair of silk shorts that left her naked backside as a lasting sign-off. There’s a funny story here. “When I went for my fitting, Marc said, ‘You know what? Last year we made you look like a grandma’–I was wearing a long skirt and a blue sweater–so he told me, ‘Now you have to have your booty out and close the show.’” Shayk says. Her response? “You know what I’m Russian, and I love it.” She adds, “So I joked, ‘That’s how I was able to buy my West Village apartment. Let’s bring it!’” Like Shayk, many of the young designers she encounters today “are not afraid to go out and try something different,” she says. “I was walking around Paris, and I saw a Japanese girl dressed as a Pokémon. That’s cool because that’s how she feels. Through fashion, you can express yourself and show who you really are.”
(Shayk wears a Maison Rabih Kayrouz top and pants)
5. Liya Kebede
Kebede’s hectic Paris runway schedule included stops at Haider Ackermann, Lanvin, Loewe, Paco Rabanne, and Valentino this season–not walking on the runways but sitting in the front rows, perfect as always. “I like a certain effortless look,” she says. “I wear a lot of jeans, men’s shirts, men’s sweaters, and flats.” Now also a designer and an activist, she still loves going to the shows. “I think it grew on me a lot after being in the industry for so long and working with really amazing people,” she says. “I feel that I can appreciate their work, as opposed to just being backstage and seeing what they do with one outfit. It’s hard for people to understand how much work it takes for that 10- to 20- minute show. It’s incredible.” One thing she has learned is that it’s not hard to spot talent. “You know when you see what they are putting on the runway, and I think everybody sees it at the same time,” Kebede says. “Then suddenly they are taking on big houses. It’s a nice privilege to be there when they are first starting, when you know they have something going on.”
(Kebede wears an Emanuel Ungaro dress and Christian Louboutin shoes. Earrings are her own)