Is it me or did the average age of the current crop of Newcomers drop precipitously this season. Have I not been paying attention or did we just weather a sudden deluge of 15-and-unders flooding the catwalks of New York (IMG's Jac), Milan (Women's Auguste) and Paris ( Rose and Addison at Supreme/Women Paris). As such, those break out girls found their Paris bookings severely curtailed by the rule-set that meant Under-16's could not work the Sunday shows (thus the evaporation of Rose's Givenchy exclusive) nor fit past 8.00pm on weekdays. There were plenty of girls swilling around to fill in those vacancies, from Tao to Alina to Anna de Rejik, Bara Holtova and Luisa Kamshilina. These were all girls that appeared very high on the MDC watch list this season with 3 of those picking up some serious FW 09 campaign options (which means expanding that Top Newcomers list by 2 or 3 more faces) .
Imagine then a season where easily 20 breaking girls have come off all shimmery from the right FW 09 runway exposure. But who will survive? How will their managers convert all those exclusives and openings and closings into editorial (and more importantly) advertorial mileage. As such many of the SS 09 break out girls are already starting to register as dull in the restless eyes of those directional editors and photographers. It is one thing to walk the blank walk down the blank catwalk but it is entirely another to A. Engage the camera in photo-shoots for the mag pages and the ads while..B. Moving some product. Statistically of the flood of 20 each season , only 3 or 4 of those girls ever find any kind of career consistency and stories of ill advised arrogance on the part of some girls demanding opening slots before heading to a fitting just makes one shake their head ....As in..(sigh) ...here comes the back-lash.
But then there are girls who are moved across the chessboard in the right way. Take the beautiful case of Eniko, Marilyn's ace face currently shuttling, it seems, between the sets of Mario Sorrenti and Inez and Vinoodh in heavy heavy rotation. Though not catwalk perfect, it is a girl like this who now sits in prime positioning for the FW 09 campaign season, precisely because she's proven to have a life in front of the cameras. Eniko is a lot of things that is not ultra-fashionable these days. She's womanly and her portfolio of "sexy" shots is beginning to rival Lara Stone's. Eniko is not generic but there's the triumph. She's unique...distinct...emphatic. There is much about her that is too..too. But you remember her precisely because of that "too-ness". I wish I could be more articulate in mapping that "je ne sais quois" that will make it easy to calibrate the girls who will last and those who were just designed to walk a lot of directional catwalks but make no impact beyond those fleeting exits.
It is too early to say and too tenuous to reveal who's holding/confirming what these days but rest assured it is the striking and the extreme that seem to be filtering into the next phase. Among the buzz I picked up by some art directors is a disenchantment with the "multiples" ideal, that concept of an army of models rocking as many of the looks from the show as possible while waving as many possible it-bags as can be crammed into a double page. Two VERY big brands have already gone "Only Girl" which might mean even less work for those indistinct new faces who fail to distinguish themselves but more work for the models who matter. And that is precisely the way it should be, no?