Raquel Zimmerman has ruled the No 1 spot at MDC for almost two years now, signaling that she is indeed that rare, rare paragon of longevity. Open US Vogue today and there she still is poised and inscrutable as ever...mystery and reputation perfectly intact. But the upcoming FW 09 campaign and editorial season seems to be telegraphing that a new wave of defining models are rising fast to own this moment. Two very different girls are sweeping in from opposite career directions to bid as the next girl destined for that No 1 slot . On the right, the immaculate Natasha Poly who has witnessed a career that started blue chip from day one, with bookings that have swept through all the classic landmarks of impending star status . On the left lurks that most unlikely of sensations, Ms Lara Stone, a girl who has managed to pull virtually every power client imaginable under her sway in the last two years ranging from a Vogue Italia cover to an All-Lara French Vogue issue, culminating in her current inclusion in the US Vogue club. Whose moment is it finally then? Both girls have their supporters and detractors...and this is the quick synopsis of the sentiments swirling around each girl.
ARGUMENTS FOR NATASHA
1. No model in recent times has had a more pristine booking trail. None. It is one that has never dipped, never seen an off season and Natasha has never failed to upgrade her client list. It started at Vogue Paris via the imagery of Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin gained recent sanction from the Meisel camp in US Vogue and has entailed repeat clients like Blumarine, Jil Sander and Gucci as well as brands such as CK Jeans, Balmain and Givenchy.
2. Runway history= FLAWLESS.
3. Given her consistency and utter professionalism chances are Natasha at No 1 will not be suspectible to sudden dips in her bookings. As a classic beauty presenting a perfect fashion frame chances are she stands to match the tradition of Raquel and Daria as true long distance runners.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST NATASHA
1. Where is that classic clincher...that makes a No 1 indisputable...that big money blue chip cosmetic brand contract that truly sets a girl in a whole different context? Does it bode well to wait for that to fall into place before pushing Ms Poly to that No 1 slot.
2. Natasha going to No 1 continues a tradition of a journeyman model with no public impact and no media heat rising to the top in the eyes of industry insiders but adding little excitement to the overall fashion industry.
3. In that vein, Natasha has had a lot of editorial presence recently but beyond the group US Vogue fold-out , little solo cover presence.
ARGUMENTS FOR LARA STONE.
1. Her ability to pull in and hold fashion's biggest punters in constant fascination is a sign of a star model. Carine Roitfeld's All Lara issue , Inez and Vinoodh's landmark editorials with her , the Givenchy,CK/Jeans and Calvin Klein Cosmetics bookings all converge to make Lara seem quite consistent and coveted.
2. Since July 2008 Lara Stone has had 7 covers (W July 2008 with Daria and Kate by Bruce Weber, V Magazine Sept 2008 with Inez and Vinoodh, The Journal with Juergen Teller, ID November 2008, Vogue Paris Feb 2009 with Inez and Vinoodh, Japanese Vogue April 2009, US Vogue May 2009 (group) .
3. Lara Stone the grown woman in a sea of teenagers with a woman's body and a woman's presence inadvertently has risen to be a kind of cultural force. She's sexy and gritty and real that promises to take the idea of modeling outside the limited confines the fashion industry even as she challenges and changes the ideal of what a model can be. Maybe that's the kind of ideal a bored fashion culture needs right now.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST LARA STONE
1. The campaign history, while respectable is not remarkable relative to even a Sasha (who seems to be resurging this season now that she's in the Chanel camp) .Every No One thus far has proven to be a repeat offender with multiple blue chip brands. Is Lara then more of a highly celebrated editorial sensation as opposed to a client-keeper.
2. Is there room left to rise in Lara Stone's career trajectory? Or is the current moment a peak that will see an inevitable fall? After the Calvin Klein Cosmetics visibility is there really room left for a cross-over to the Cover Girls/Maybellines/Estees for such a rock n roll figure as La Lara.? It may be argued that Natasha still has a very visible fragrance booking on her CV, proving her preferred status as a commercial commodity.
3. Lara's clear disenchantment with the runway circuit leads one to suspect that being in fashion is not life or death to her. But do you survive this business without that desire to be the best at your trade?
And then as an addendum comes that sight of Sasha seeming to re-ignite after the inevitable slow Post-Prada season. Will the FW 09 bookings reflect a three way race. I'd be very happy to hear your thoughts.