Thursday, March 7, 2013

Australia's next top Miu Miu

miu miu FW1314 via
Cassi van den Dungen missed out on winning Australia’s Next Top Model in 2009. But she has just achieved something that has so far proven beyond the grasp of any actual winners of the high rating Australian reality show: she just walked the Miu Miu show in Paris.

For the uninitiated, Miu Miu is the younger ‘diffusion’ line of Italian luxury superbrand Prada. Unlike Prada, whose shows take place in Milan, Miu Miu is traditionally shown in Paris on the closing day of the show season.

The Prada/Miu Miu shows have launched the careers of many top models; case in point, Gemma Ward back in September 2003. Unlike in Ward's case, however, this was not a season exclusive for van den Dungen, who has already appeared in three shows in London and Paris over the past fortnight (the International Woolmark Prize, Giles and Maiyet).

Exclusive or not, Miu Miu is nevertheless considered one of the most prestigious shows of the season. Two other rising Australian stars were also cast: Nicole Pollard and Rhianna Porter, both of whom have had a fantastic season. Unlike van den Dungen, however, it was not the first international show season for either. In the video, that's Pollard at 3.48 and Porter at 4.32, followed immediately by van den Dungen:

To be fair to the Australia's Next Top Model winners Alice Burdeu, Amanda Ware and Montana Cox, their successes on the international show circuit post AusNTM (and in Burdeu's case, also extending to several international campaigns, such as D&G and Sonia Rykiel) have made the Australian show the most successful to date of all the Next Top Model franchises around the world. One of the reasons, perhaps, IMG Models has just signed as the show's agency affiliate. The Dutch version comes a very close second. Cox and co have booked some tremendous shows, from Chanel to Bottega Veneta, D&G and Tom Ford. But none so far have made it to Miucca Prada's cast lists. 

The Miu Miu show represents something of a full circle for van den Dungen and influential American casting director Ashley Brokaw, whose clients also include Prada, Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Proenza Schouler, not to mention top fashion photographer Steven Meisel. Exactly three years ago, it was Brokaw who first noticed van den Dungen’s potential, calling the then 17 year-old over to Paris on an exclusive option for Balenciaga’s Fall/Winter 2010/2011 show. Van den Dungen went home empty handed.

Motherhood intervened and van den Dungen's career took a momentary backseat. But with two major international shows under her belt in her first show season, meetings with influential players such as Brokaw and LOVE magazine editor and stylist Katie Grand - and 16 pages in Vogue Australia coming up next month - she is now poised to take flight. 


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