The 9 Models That Fashion Is Obsessed with Right Now
Is there really any question that big models with big personalities are back?
For a while there, after the turn of the millennium, it seemed that any sign of personal expression had gone entirely out of fashion among the young women who walked the runways. But now hardly a show goes by that doesn’t encourage the audience to pay as much attention to the girls as the clothes, and that is largely the result of efforts in recent years to celebrate diversity in the industry whenever possible. Suddenly, it’s safe to love models again.
Perhaps the most obvious example of this change of attitude comes from Brandon Maxwell, the young star of the New York collections who cast his February show with a breathtaking lineup of confident women, including faces both fresh and familiar—Maria Borges, Karlie Kloss, Riley Montana, Shanelle Nyasiase, Joan Smalls, and many more.
Wherever you looked during the fall collections, which not incidentally celebrated the style and spirit of the 1980s, there were wonderful appearances by supermodels of seasons past, best exemplified by Natalia Vodianova, Raquel Zimmermann, and a sultry Imaan Hammam tearing up the runway at Versace. Irina Shayk didn’t disappoint at Bottega Veneta either, and Cara Delevingne charmed at Burberry, wearing a rainbow-striped faux fur as part of an LGBTQ+ tribute by departing chief creative officer Christopher Bailey.
There were weird moments too, such as when Russian model Unia Pakhomova opened the Gucci show, carrying a replica of her own head. And there were sweet moments as well: when models in the Sonia Rykiel show laughed and danced in honor of the house’s 50th anniversary, and when Gigi Hadid led the Tod’s show while clutching an outrageously adorable puppy.
“Wasn’t it a beautiful show?” asked Bella Hadid the next day. “There were all these puppies backstage, and it was just the cutest thing.”
Also cute? The fact that designers are citing models as muses and aligning themselves with those who share their values. Here, they identify their latest model crushes.
For more stories like this, pick up the May issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download now.
“I have so much respect for Hunter Schafer’s courage in her personal activism. Teenage years are hard enough, but to be the face of a campaign against transphobic bills like North Carolina’s HB2 and speak as eloquently as she does on these issues on the national stage, all while pursuing a modeling career, that deserves some serious love.”
“What’s most inspiring about Sara Grace Wallerstedt is the otherworldly quality she projects when trying on the clothes. Her look transports you and gives you something completely new.”
Paul Andrew for Salvatore Ferragamo
“Giedre Dukauskaite is the most tenured, timeless, and versatile of models working right now. She adds a strong, confident yet feminine and joyful twist to whatever she wears.”
“Cara Taylor walked in and immediately lightened the mood for me. She tried on her dress and told me she felt like a princess, and then we ate chicken nuggets and had a good laugh.”
Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior
“I love Adwoa Aboah because she represents a new generation of models using their position to support other women. In addition to her beauty, her strength and her passion really stand out.”
Jeremy Scott for Moschino
Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia of Monse
“Erin Wasson is the modern idea of a woman who isn’t defined by her man. She’s her own force to be reckoned with and inspires confidence throughout the modeling world today.”
“I love Vittoria Ceretti’s sophisticated, elegant, and mysterious beauty. She is classic yet modern and represents a new generation of Italian beauties in the world.”