Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The circuiteers - Australian models at the Spring/Summer 2013 shows

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Julia Nobis is currently enjoying something that she likes to call “fat month” – the period immediately following the gruelling ready-to-wear show season, when she winds down. Show seasons are hard work for leading models such as Nobis, who was the season’s top runway face for two consecutive seasons up until the latest shows round that finished a few weeks ago in Paris, walking in more shows than any other model. This season Nobis lost that crown - she walked in 62 shows, making her Spring/Summer 2013's third busiest showgirl, in terms of show numbers, after Tilda Lindstam (69 shows) and Ava Smith, Erjona Ala and Tian Yi (64 shows each) according to the modelwatchers at The Fashion Spot (and many thanks to TFS for its painstaking show-combing). But that's still an impressive tally. How many Australians followed in her footsteps this season? Nineteen by our calculations. And if you have been tracking the progress of Australian models on the world’s runways for the past four years via frockwriter, you’d be right in thinking that that sounds like a steep dive in numbers on the previous Spring/Summer season – a 50percent drop in fact.

Thirty-four Australian models did the Fall/Winter 2012/2013 show season in February/March. Thirty-eight did the Spring/Summer 2012 season. The latter was a dramatic increase on the previous season, Fall/Winter 2011/2102 (27) and Spring/Summer 2011, six months before that (16).

So has the fashion world cooled on Australian models?

The world’s biggest model agency, IMG Models, doesn’t think so. Having just invested in opening up an Australian division to better source from and service this market, they would probably say that of course.

“I’m pretty confident that the love affair with Australia has not ended” IMG Models Australia general manager Danielle Ragenard told frockwriter. "Seventeen [since revised to 19] Australian models is still an incredible number - when you think back a couple of years, you were lucky to have maybe three or four”.

IMG Models now represents in Sydney Miranda Kerr, Nicole Trunfio, Bambi Northwood-Blyth, Shanna Jackway and Tori Trigg. The love affair with New Zealand models looks to be ongoing as well, with Kiwis Ella Verberne, Casey Lee and new breakout star, Anmari Botha, also on the company's books. Botha walked in 31 shows this season - her first complete show season after making brief appearances at Paris haute couture shows in January and July and walking in a Givenchy exclusive for the FW1213 ready-to-wear season in March.

A far more likely explanation for the drop in Australian numbers this season, suggests Ragenard, is the ROI factor and the cold, hard reality of the show circuit. Many antipodians have been encouraged by the tremendous successes of some of their Australian peers to try their luck on the show circuit. Not everyone has fared as well as Nobis, Gemma Ward, Abbey Lee Kershaw and Catherine McNeil.

“The season before maybe they thought ‘I’ll give it a go’, but it’s expensive and exhausting and only a few get success from it” added Ragenard.  “It’s still a prestigious way of putting yourself in the modelling ballpark but it just may not be viable to spend a month travelling around at great expense, hoping that you get booked on shows. Pending what you’ve done in between, if you haven’t scored any editorial, any campaigns, made any progression between then and now and if you don’t have any new pictures… agencies would be saying, ‘We’ve got another dozen new faces going out this season’. You can only be a new face once. If you’re a new face and nothing developed it’s really hard to sell them a second time. It’s kind of like, ‘We thought you had potential, but nothing happened.’ It’s tough, it’s brutal.

“If you make a splash and do the shows and nothing develops then it’s kind of worse than not going out at all. You’re putting yourself out at that level and if it’s not backed up by bookings and if you’re not available to capitalise on the opportunities that come from the shows, do the castings for the campaigns and shoot the editorial, then in my mind you shouldn’t do the shows. You only get one bite at the cherry”.

Priscillas Model Management represents both Nobis and Ruby Jean Wilson – who may have only done four shows this season, but nevertheless made quite an impression, opening and closing the Marc Jacobs show in New York and closing Louis Vuitton in Paris. But the agency also had a number of models sit out this season, including Dempsey Stewart.

“A lot of girls like to give it a shot and then they realise the reality of how hard it is, doing the shows, the competitiveness of it all” said Lizzi Leighton-Clark, Priscillas’ head booker. “They can have a really great season, but unless they have staying power, they’re not necessarily going to have another great season. I’m sure there are a lot of girls who gave it a go but maybe it wasn’t as successful as it was before. It’s really hard doing the show circuit. Unless you are in the right place physically and mentally, it’s just not worth the toll”. 

Sydney’s Chic Model Management was represented by Montana Cox, Shanina Shaik, Nicole Pollard, Catherine McNeil, Jemma Baines, Chrystal Copland, Joel Meacock and Kaila Hart at the SS13 shows, while other Chic faces such as Rose Smith and Myf Shepherd sat this season out. The agency's biggest name, Kershaw, is of course shooting Mad Max 4 in Africa.

“It’s really tough for the new faces - they would come out of that [month] probably with a negative financial position, let alone any money made” said Chic director Kathy Ward on the season's Australian no-shows. "But it’s an opportunity to showcase their talent and to be noticed by the designers. But there are also other jobs happening while the shows are on. Montana didn’t go to New York because she was still working in Australia. The international agents put together the showpacks and they’re not necessarily going to put girls in their showpack that they don’t think are going to do a lot of shows because it’s not worth their while. Perhaps the international agents became a little more selective this season. It costs them time and money to promote a girl”.

Added Ward, “Doing the shows, as glamorous as it sounds, I think it’s incredibly hard. From what Jemma Baines was telling me: being kept waiting for 6-7 hours so that someone can look at your book, then they say ‘No you’re not right’. Then she’d receive her schedule for the next day’s fittings and castings at 1-2am in the morning, so she’d have to stay up until then to plan her day. There’s all these elements.. also having to navigate yourself around a city that you don’t necessarily have a good grasp of. But she accepts that that's all part of what you have to do. In the case of Nicole (19),  Kaila (18) and Montana (19), they all had their mothers there and I think that’s really, really important. Even though Nicole and Kaila did one show each exclusively, having their parents there really helps them cope with the demands and the challenges that appearing in a fashion week show poses”.

According to one international agent – Greg Chan, Senior Executive Manager at IMG Models New York – Spring/Summer 2013 was a strange season all-round. 

Previously a Senior Agent at Wilhelmina Models, who took several months sabbatical before joining IMG Models last month, Chan has made several scouting trips to Australia and was responsible for signing a number of local names to the US market, notably Melissa Johannsen and Joel Meacock.

“From my standpoint, yes I felt that the season was a little weird - but it has nothing to do with the Aussies” said Chan. “If you look at the show packs they all were a bit smaller. Now keep in mind this was my first time not at the shows in 16 years but I think less people made the expensive trip to compete and for the Aussies in particular that’s a long way. For summer Europe shows there will always be hordes of kids out of school and the designers will always have to fill their slots, but looking at the shows online the quality was different. There are always going to be some good new faces but in my mind [there were] no new true stars. Not as many of the big show faces showed up this season. To be honest even now the season feels weird. It just feels like there’s less money in general out there at the moment and I think the kids smell it. Less kids are willing to fork out the dough to take the plunge because they know it’s becoming a mostly money-losing business. It’s weird everywhere but the Aussies aren’t going anywhere as far as I’m concerned”.  

BCBG Max Azria
Jason Wu 
Zac Posen
Victoria Beckham
Derek Lam (opened)
Alexander Wang
Prabal Gurung
Rag & Bone
Tommy Hilfiger
Narciso Rodriguez (opened)
Diesel Black Gold (closed)
Marc Jacobs
Marc by Marc Jacobs
Tory Burch (closed)
Vera Wang
Reed Krakoff (closed)
Proenza Schouler
Michael Kors
Made in Africa by Arise Magazine (closed)
Alberta Ferretti
Angelo Marani (opened and closed)
Roberto Cavalli (opened)
Missoni (closed)
Jil Sander
Bottega Veneta
Rue du Mail
Gareth Pugh
Nina Ricci
Dries van Noten (closed)
Christian Dior
Haider Ackermann
Maison Martin Margiela
Vanessa Bruno (opened and closed)
Saint Laurent (opened)
Giambattista Valli
Viktor & Rolf
Alexander McQueen
Miu Miu
Louis Vuitton

= 62

Richard Chai
Tadashi Shoji
Peter Som
Tess Gibberson
Rebecca Minkoff (opened)
Boy by Band of Outsiders
Charlotte Ronson
Marc Jacobs
Rebecca Taylor
Vivienne Tam
Temperley London
Paul Smith
Simone Rocha (opened and closed)
Kinder Aggugini
House of Holland
Moschino Cheap & Chic
Véronique Branquinho
Rick Owens
Felipe Oliveira Baptista
Saint Laurent

= 29

Alexandra Herchcovitch
Bibhi Mohapatra
Boy by Band of Outsiders
Charlotte Ronson
Marc Jacobs
Marc by Marc Jacobs
Rachel Zoe
J.W. Anderson
House of Holland
Dion Lee
Vivienne Westwood Red Label
Antonio Marras
Maurizio Peccoraro
Emporio Armani
Moschino Cheap & Chic
A.F. Vandevorst
Moncler Gamme Rouge
Maison Rabih Kayrouz
Louis Vuitton

= 28

See by Chloé
Alviero Martini First Class
Felder Felder (opened)
Dion Lee
Jean-Pierre Braganza
Felder Felder (opened)
Tom Ford
Antonio Marras
Maurizio Pecoraro
Les Copains
Antonio Berardi
Laura Biagiotti
Alexis Mabille
A.F. Vandevorst
Maison Rabih Kayrouz
Shiatzy Chen

= 24

DL1961 (opened)
Lela Rose
Nicole Miller
Jen Kao
Chado Ralph Rucci
Academy of Art University
Naaem Khan
Mara Hoffman
Tracy Reese (opened)
Rick Owens
Manish Arora
Jean Paul Gaultier
Issey Miyake
Vivienne Westwood
Philip Treacy
Felder Felder
Martin Grant (opened)

= 19

Rebecca Minkoff
Theyskens’ Theory
Anna Sui
Made in Africa by Arise Magazine
Vivienne Tam
Roksanda Illincic
Mary Katrantzou
Jean Paul Gaultier

= 12

Felder Felder
Rag & Bone
Marios Schwab
Margaret Howell
Fashion Fringe
David Koma
Christian Blanken
Dion Lee

= 9

Guy Laroche
Helmut Lang
Paco Rabanne
Saint Laurent
Isabel Marant
Barbara Bui (closed)

= 8

shanina shaik, tom ford SS13/style.com

Jason Wu
Lela Rose
Nanette Lepore
Norisol Ferrari
Tom Ford
Ermanno Scervino
Alviero Martini First Class

= 7

sophie hirschfelder, dion lee SS13/style.com

Tess Giberson (closed)
VPL by Victoria Bartlett (closed)
Marc Jacobs
Creatures of the Wind
Louise Goldin
Dion Lee (opened)
Moschino Cheap & Chic

= 7

ruby jean wilson, marc jacobs SS13/style.com

Marc Jacobs (opened, closed)
Sister by Sibling (closed)
Louis Vuitton (closed)

= 4

joel meacock, perry ellis by duckie brown SS13/style.com

Perry Ellis by Duckie Brown
Timo Weiland
Billy Reid

= 3

tom bull, billy reid SS13/style.com

Michael Bastian
Porsche Design
Billy Reid

= 3

philippa gleeson, rachel comey SS13/style.com

Rachel Comey
Chado Ralph Rucci
Christian Siriano

= 3

rhianna porter (L) backstage at maria grachvogel SS13 via fashionising.com


John Rocha
Maria Grachvogel
Mikhael Kale

= 3 

jess gold, louise goldin SS13/style.com

Parsons MFA Fashion Design & Society (NY)
Louis Goldin

= 2

krystal glynn, givenchy SS13/style.com

Givenchy (exclusive)

= 1

nicole pollard, christian dior SS13/style.com

Christian Dior (exclusive)

= 1

kaila hart, givenchy SS13/style.com

Givenchy (exclusive)

= 1

SS13 photo gallery (all images via style.com)

1/ julia nobis, saint laurent
2/ codie young, marc jacobs
3/ jemma baines, chanel
4/ ajak deng, hermès
5/ montana cox, chanel
6/ chrystal copland, jean paul gaultier
7/ amanda ware, marios schwab
8/ catherine mcneil, saint laurent


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