**model of the moment: sui he


I am so excited to write about Sui He because she will be the first Asian model that I have featured on this blog. I remember when using Asian models became "a thing"... in fact, my Asian roommate at the time was working as a FORD model and experienced the trend firsthand. The overwhelming and sudden use of Asian models, I have to admit, felt inauthentic to me. I remember when the casting directors for the Givenchy Haute Couture presentation in Fall 2011 chose to use an exclusively Asian cast, only to return to their usual casting ratios in the seasons following. Although I will not exclude the possibility that the casting director had thematic rather than racial motivations, casting models in such a way is not only gimmicky but objectifying. Race should not be used as an accessory, like bangles or platform shoes, to throw into a collection one season in order to make an amusing statement. I believe that beauty across racial lines in fashion media should be celebrated, not trivialized, and in order to do this we must respect the individuality of the women themselves. Beyond this, talent and talent alone should be used to define the appeal of any good model.

And talent, first and foremost, is why I have decided to feature Sui He here. I have noticed her face in photos over the past year, and when I recently saw an image of her against a bold red background, I knew I had to write about her. I love her strong but delicate, feminine appearance and her stunning beauty. Sui He's photos never feel cutesy and if anything, she has the ability to be intimidating right through the magazine page. Her images prove that femininity can be owned and worn proudly, and she emanates a natural sense of pride that seems to require no additional justification. There is no apology in Sui He's expressions and stance, and even seductive poses come across as purposeful and empowered. This self-ownership reminds us that to be an empowered woman does not have to mean striving for a tomboy-like toughness, as has been a trend in fashion over the past few years. Rather, to be an empowered woman means to define for oneself what femininity is and what it means, with no external validation required.

To interpret so much from the photos of any young model might seem like reaching, but most people will never know Sui He in person or even hear her interviews. Her contribution to our culture exists first and foremost within her photographs and the image of womanhood that she portrays therein. Sui He's real-life persona is not without merit: she is known within the industry for being gracious, patient, polite and friendly, and she seems like the type of model you would want to work with on the job. But her images reveal an inner strength and beauty that can be applicable to us all: within her photos, Sui He becomes the type of woman you would want to be.


Considering the current casting trends, a discussion of Sui He would not really be complete without an acknowledgement of what her racial identity means on a wider cultural scale. As much as I love Sui He for her talent as a model, I realize that Sui He's career in the industry represents something more symbolic for other women. As a white female, I cannot pretend to understand the experience of being a racial minority in media imagery, but I do understand the importance of inclusion. I have written before about how fair-skinned girls were something of a minority in fashion media imagery when I was a teenager, and although that has certainly changed now, the inclusion of Coco Rocha among the bronzed Brazilian models of the time offered a promising visual alternative for a girl raised in sun-tanned Southern California. For me, Coco Rocha's work allowed for one depiction of female beauty alongside what I assumed would become an increasingly diverse ideal. Today, however, fair skin tone and traditional Caucasian ethnicity are again being presented as more of a standard than a unique example of human individuality. Standards like this are both limiting and uninteresting, even when they might favor us, because they lack the diversity of expression that is so essential to respecting our inherent human commonality. I hope, then, that Sui He's foray into the modeling world represents not a temporary visual trend but rather a joyful and lasting inclusion. Upon seeing the photos produced by a model like Sui He, I think we cannot help but wonder at how such stunning incarnations of female beauty were ever excluded from the fashion model cast. More pictures below...





Sui He began modeling in 2006 at age 17, but only took local modeling work in order to focus on her education. In 2010, she signed with New York Model Management and began modeling full-time. Sui He has since appeared on the covers of Harper's Bazaar China, Elle China, Muse, W and i-D, and has walked in numerous runway shows. She is currently working as the face of Shiseido cosmetics for the Spring/Summer 2013 season.

In Vogue China November 2011, photographed by Hans Feurer...







One of the most interesting feats of Sui He's career is her work for the Ralph Lauren brand. The Chinese model was the first Asian model to ever open a Ralph Lauren runway show, and in 2011, she became the face of the brand. Her photos for Ralph Lauren perfectly encompass the class and traditionalism of the brand.




In Black Magazine #18 in Dec 2012, photographed by Michael Schwartz...





In Numéro #134 in July 2012, photographed by Sebastian Kim...




In Marie Claire US March 2013, "Spring Forward" by Alex Cayley...







In Vogue China March 2013, "Laser Cut Leather" by Sharif Hamza...







My favorite editorial... In Harper's Bazaar US May 2013, "The Best of Couture," photographed by Katja Rahlwes...







Backstage photo...


(Photo credits: The Fashion Spot, Fashion Gone Rogue, Fashionemia, MODELS.com, Fashion Scans Remastered)

Read More...

**model of the moment: doutzen kroes


Every design reveals a meaning or an attitude, even if unintentionally, for every design is tied by its very existence to the reality for which it was created. Thus, having good style requires both attitude and raw aesthetic appeal, for the beauty of the clothes must function within the reality of our individual lives. Similarly, the appeal of a good model more often results from an attitude than from her appearance or aesthetic alone. Among the countless models strutting down the runways or appearing for casting calls, there is no shortage of cut-and-dry beauty. The attitude of a model, much like the formation of a design, reveals the reality in which she herself chooses to exist.

For the modern woman, there are so many attitudes from which to chose, both in life and in our wardrobes, as evidenced by the multitude and variety of designs that fashion designers send down the runway each season. From the edgy-cool antics of Alexander Wang to the enduring "low-key collegiate funk" of Marc by Marc Jacobs (Style.com), at the heart of any style exists not just a look but a way of life, and the options are seemingly endless. Gone are the days when women (or men for that matter) must play out some limited persona. If the late 60's were free-spirited, or the early 90's rebellious, then today every attitude seems to be available at once. Style and attitude today are less a pervasive generational obligation and more a personal choice. Among the prepsters or beach babes or high-fashion goths, one attitude stands out to me of late. Let's call it modern elegance, or grace and composure viewed under a fresh light.

As the poster-girl for such a movement, I've selected Doutzen Kroes, a long-standing Victoria's Secret model, but nonetheless, a woman combining a rather nice attitude with her stellar looks. In a world of glossy self-promotion and exhaustive PR efforts, Doutzen Kroes is gracious in her honesty and composed in the most serene way. She's one of the few models to acknowledge the guilt she feels about her unique and inordinately paid job, while nevertheless admitting to possess an unquenchable desire to beat out the competition in her quest to rise to the top. She'll admit to a real-life workout routine, the tiresome pace of fashion week work hours, and the frustration of back-to-back fittings. She willingly acknowledges, similarly, travel and opportunity as amazing benefits in an exclusive and rarefied field of occupation. In other words, Doutzen is a real human being, vulnerable to the trials and tribulations that other more glamorous models may choose, in their own interviews, to omit. With Doutzen honesty never comes across as crass or rude, offering a reminder that an open conversation does not have to be a defensive one.

Upholding elegance does not mean to denigrate, by comparison, the delightfully rocker appeal of Kate Moss or the sweetly original girlishness of Lindsey Wixson. Elegance today is simply another alternative, a choice made in a world of seemingly endless possibilities. Modern elegance exists separate from the ironic or rebellious, but it is by no means a condemnation of such. I once read an article describing a girl as being "so classy you could take her anywhere." Doutzen Kroes, with her gracious attitude and breathtaking beauty, perfectly embodies this ideal. You can imagine her being composed, graceful, and elegant, no matter the scene. Doutzen's showcard...



I love that Doutzen Kroes, who grew up in the Netherlands, submitted her own photos to a local modeling agency. Most successful models are recruited by modeling scouts, but there's something to be said for knowing what you want and going for it.

Early Calvin Klein ads...



Doutzen Kroes has appaeared on the covers of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Elle, and has starred in campaigns for Calvin Klein, Valentino, and Tiffany's. In 2005, Doutzen was named model of the year by Vogue.com readers, and in 2007, she was selected by US Vogue as one of the world's next top models. While she got her start modeling for Victoria's Secret, her editorial work has made Doutzen an interesting model beyond the world of swimwear and lingerie alone.

Editorials...

In Elle France September 2012, photographed Alex Cayley...




In MUSE Fall 2011, photographed by Lachlan Bailey...






On the cover of Numéro China December 2011, photographed by Tiziano Magni...


This is my favorite Doutzen editorial by far... in Harper's Bazaar US March 2012, photographed by Daniel Jackson...









In Elle Russia June 2012, photographed by Thiemo Sander...







In Vogue Paris October 2012, photographed by Inez and Vinoodh...









In Vogue Netherlands December 2012, photographed by Patrick Demarchelier...




On the cover of Vogue Korea March 2013, photographed by Daniele Duella and Iango Henzi...


On the cover of Vogue Nippon April 2013, photographed by Mikael Jansson...


A few personal style pics from red carpet events...





With model Coco Rocha...


A brief interview...


P.S. Get more Doutzen Kroes on Twitter and Instagram.

(Photo credits: Fashion Gone Rogue, The Fashion Spot, SUPERMODELS, DNA Model Management, Beauty Sweet Spot, Coco Rocha's Twitter, Source Unknown)

Read More...