Mica Arganaraz was the surprise hit of the spring shows, where a slow burn over several seasons erupted into full Mica mania. Daringly, the floppy-haired Argentinian artist skipped the New York and London collections, and walked exclusively for Prada in Milan before resurfacing at a select number of shows in Paris. These included Céline, Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Givenchy, the campaign in which she also appears. It's unclear whether that would have happened if Mica hadn't first appeared in Prada's fall campaign, the first model to fly solo in a Prada campaign since Sasha Pivovarova some years ago. Miuccia must be very smitten because she's also had Mica open Miu Miu in Paris three in a row. Could a lucrative beauty campaign be far off?
Of all the silver-haired queens on the scene today, none is as surprising to bump into as Joan Didion in an ad for Céline. The reclusive novelist, screenwriter, emotional explorer, and literary beacon for scores of would-be essayists (who didn't want to write the next Slouching Towards Bethlehem?) is seen in her trademark oversized sunglasses and simple sweater, as well as a large pendant necklace seemingly heavier than the icon herself.
Didion was immortalized in the beatnik-chic ensemble by Juergen Teller — fittingly, given his predilection for superannuated subjects. In the same spring campaign, he also shot model Freya Lawrence and French dancer Marie-Agnes Gillot. Didion devotees will surely make the connection between the now-famous image of the author in her Corvette Stingray on the cover of her book The White Album and the car that Daria Werbowy, trusted multi-seasonal Céline muse, posed in for the recent cruise campaign.
Joan Didion's The White Album (1979), Daria Werbowy for Céline cruise 2015
That Joan Didion, especially at 79, couldn't give two hoots about fashion or glamour is exactly what makes the campaign so unexpected — and compelling. In a fashion advertising landscape littered with out-of-place Hollywood actresses and shill-anything reality-TV stars, Didion remains the very embodiment of depth, authenticity, and inspiration. Never mind that the giant wayfarers appear to be sliding off her face; it just adds to the charm.
Watch this video refresher created by Didion's nephew, Griffin Dunne, to help fund a Kickstarter campaign with the aim of finally making her definitive documentary. The goal of $80,000 was shattered in less than a day...
Probably to our detriment, we've never covered a male model in Model Mania. But, you see, Jacob Bird isn't any male model. Depending on his mood, he might even tell you he isn't male at all.
That's because, when the 21-year-old Londoner isn't walking the runway for the likes of Raf Simons, Walter Van Beirendonck, Robert Geller, and J.W. Anderson, he's donning a wig and slinking around town as Dinah Lux — his nom de drag — usually with Ben Jarvis, fellow model and boy toy. In fact, speaking of drag, Jacob was scouted at the opening of a Sephora shop in New York, waiting for none other than Amanda Lepore to warble a few of her hits.
And when Jacob isn't tickling pink, he's tickling the ivories. A pianist and composer, he studied classical music at Cambridge University and graduated with honors over the summer. Good timing, as the Tokyo spring '15 collections were beckoning. He walked Factotum and Discovered, among others — as Jacob Bird, this time.
We dug around his Instagram (@jmallinsonb) and found Dinah in rare form...
Pirelli calendars are best when cheeky and character-driven, like Steven Meisel's just-released 2015 version. After all, the notion of having the world's most well-respected and well-paid models bare their breasts (and then some) for the pleasure of the high-end Italian tire company's unknown clients — not to mention the entire internet — is so outdated that it can only plausibly exist today as an ironic, artistic gesture. A lot like a fashion editorial, you could say, in which case it helps to have two other women at the top of their game on hand, stylist Carine Roitfeld and make-up artist Pat McGrath.
From cowboy to cheesecake, Meisel captured top models of today in exaggerated poses of yore. Natalia Vodianova, Russian mother of two, writhes coquettishly in a see-through teddy; TED Talk alumna Cameron Russell strums a ukulele with a Hawaiian flower in her hair; Brazilian bombshell Isabeli Fontana only needs a horse to make her cowgirl getup complete; plus-sized gal Candice Huffine returns to the calendar as a whip-wielding dominatrix; while Gigi Hadid, girl-of-the-moment and daughter of a Desperate Housewife, deflects the male gaze with her nipple-pierced armor...
January: Adriana Lima
February: Natalia Vodianova
March: Joan Smalls
April: Candice Huffine
Now that the dust has settled, it turns out Dutch newbie Maartje Verhoef ruled the spring runways, walking a total of 66 shows. Only two years ago, she landed her first gig as a Prada exclusive, but rightly had to wait for school to finish before continuing her marathon. Exactly two years later, she clocked virtually every important show, from Dior and Chanel and Burberry to Loewe and Margiela and Proenza Schouler. She even claimed the coveted opening or closing slot at Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Jonathan Saunders, and Hermés — a sort of victory lap, and a well-deserved one.
Calvin Klein could hardly have picked a more unconventional model than Myla DalBesio for its new Perfectly Fit underwear campaign. More than a pretty face and giraffe legs, the Brooklyn-based artist produces multi-disciplinary works that skewer, she says, "American trash culture." One performance piece from 2011, called Young Money, saw her accost volunteers with aggressive lap-dances. Topless (a state she seems entirely comfortable with), she opened champagne bottles with her mouth and writhed in wet dollar bills on the floor.
Racy performances-cum-cultural critiques aside, the curvy 27-year-old has been modeling for some time, most recently signing with Ford. Mostly she's shot with art-minded photographers including Ryan McGinley, Roe Ethridge, Mark Seliger, and Terry Tsiolis, and for alterna-titles such as Dazed & Confused and Oyster. As both insider and outsider, she has mixed yet sharp views of the industry. "There is a lot of dark shit that happens," she told Bullett magazine. "But that’s like 1% of it. The reality is that 99% of the time, it’s fucking amazing."
Myla describes herself as an "in-betweeny," meaning, at size 8-10, she's not thin enough to be a typical size-zero model, but not large enough to be considered plus-sized. Nonetheless, she looks pretty fantastic in the campaign, lensed by Lachlan Bailey, alongside Lara Stone, Jourdan Dunn, and Ji Hye Park. That they appear together without overt body-image messaging is encouraging, a message in itself. If only there were more girls like Myla, audacious and opinionated.