Monday, July 18, 2011

Mezi (fashion) plate: Anja Konstantinova dances around model protocol

patrick mcgreal for mezi jewellery
Another day, another big buzz new model, it seems, is springboarded out of the Australasian market. Twenty year-old Anja Konstantinova is not, however, just another sultry, sun-kissed Aussie blonde. Russian-born, Konstantinova has spent half her life downunder, moving here in 2001 with her prima ballerina mother Irina Konstantinova and father Sergei Konstantinov, both former principal dancers with the Kirov Ballet who now teach at The Australian Ballet School. Signed to Sydney agency Priscilla's six months ago, Konstantinova did just two shows at May's Australian Fashion Week (Ellery and Friend of Mine). But she has obviously caught the industry's eye. Since then, according to Priscilla's, she has shot for Vogue and GQ Australia, Oyster (five stories), Grazia (four stories), Marie Claire, No, Pages Online, Poster magazine, a Ksubi calendar, an Oroton catalogue and the Spring/Summer 2011/2012 campaign for rising Sydney jewellery brand Mezi. Above and below is a first look at the Mezi campaign shot by Patrick McGreal.

Repped by Viva in Paris, Marilyn in New York and Models One in London, the international market is also beckoning.

Last month Konstantinova flew to Paris to be shot for Jalouse magazine. In the US she has already shot campaigns for Urban Outfitters and Wildfox Couture, photographed by, respectively, Charlie Engman and Mark 'The Cobrasnake' Hunter.

All the hallmarks of a very promising modelling career, on which Konstantinova hopes to build over the next three and a half months in New York and Europe.

There's just one catch. Apart from her exotic Russian and ballet ancestry, there is one other factor which marks Konstantinova apart from the rest of the Australian model pack - make that the model pack, period.

She is only five foot four.

In an industry that has traditionally shut its doors to those under five ten, what's her secret? 

"She’s extraordinary and her personality is amazing, I think that that makes a big difference" says Priscilla's agent, Lizzie Leighton-Clark. "And she’s so well in proportion as well. She’s got such a great personality, such a great look, I don't think it matters".

The photographic studio is of course very different to the runway, where models tend to be of uniform height.

At 5'7" Kate Moss was one famous exception to the industry standard. Another Priscilla's protegée, Bambi Northwood-Blyth, also 5'7", has recently managed considerable success on the international runway circuit, booking prestigious shows such as Chanel and Balenciaga.

With the Spring/Summer 2012 show season just two months away, what realistic chance does the even more petite Konstantinova have on the international circuit? 

Notes Leighton-Clark, "I’m not sure about the shows, but I have no doubt that she’s going to be a major success. She might get one or two amazing shows. I think that everyone’s bored of the norm and looking for something a bit different".

photography: patrick mcgreal
hair and makeup: max may

all images supplied exclusively to frockwriter by mezi jewellery


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