Monday, November 28, 2005

Natalia Vodianova

Annabel Rivkin writes "...By the time was Natalia 11 she was selling fruit and vegetables on the street, often until eleven at night.'My mother was one of the first people - it was a very clever idea - to say,"Why should I sell at the market when I can get to people on the road before they reach the market?" And so we did it, but my mother is no businesswoman. Sometimes we felt very rich and sometimes we had absolutely nothing to eat.' It's an enduring image, isn't it? A small, beautiful girl standing in the snow trying to sell something, knocking down the price, realising that her wares are waterlogged and trudging wearily home.

At 14 she was borrowing a friend,s car to pick up her stock and at 16 she set up a fruit and vegetable stand with a girlfriend and worked fairly happily, even though she admits that her hometown is 'miserable, grey and dangerous'. Mafia-run, with a corrupt police force and its own street code, Natalia nevertheless insists that it was 'dangerous only if you made it dangerous, if you walked at night, for example'. She doesn't talk about the grimmer scenes, but this is a young woman who clearly learned to defend herself early. 'My agency has a Polaroid of me from the day I arrived n Paris and it's frightening,' she says. 'It's a face that say, "if you come anywhere near me, you're dead."'

A Parisian model scout had come to Nizhni Novgorod and Natalia's boyfriend at the time - a male model - forced her to go along. Although the relationship didn't last, she later bought him a Mercedes to say thank you. She maintains that, despite the scary Polaroid, she was at that time more cheerful than she looked.'I was very self-protective, very moody, but I was happy inside. I was fascinated by Paris and by my first plane trip.

Natalia, 23 is one of today's most successful models. In possession of the lucrative Calvin Klein contract (now shot by Steven Meisel) that made icons of Brook Shields in the Eighties and Kate Moss in the Nineties, and the international face L'Oreal, she is nonetheless still and edgy editorial favourite. With the face of a child and the eyes of a lioness, her focus - both professional and personal - is immediately apparent..."

Natalia is Married to Justin Portman and has a three year old son called Lucas.

Orginal article published in the Evening Standard Magazine(25th November 2005).

Photo Courtesy of

Friday, November 25, 2005

IMAN Cosmetics

Iman's website says"...Iman is Founder and CEO of IMAN Cosmetics, Fragrances & Skincare, a beauty company that created the first cosmetics and skincare collection designed for all women with skin of color.

Launched in 1994, the IMAN brand philosophy holds that women with skin of color represent many races, cultures and ethnicities. IMAN Cosmetics is designed for African American, Asian, Latina and multi-cultural women with skin tones in a myriad of shades. The brand offers skincare and cosmetics, including 16 foundation shades. IMAN Cosmetics is sold throughout the world including the United States, Canada, UK, France, Brazil, Africa, and the Caribbean.

In 2004, IMAN Cosmetics announced its strategic alliance with Proctor & Gamble. Under the licensing and and distribution agreement, the prestige brand once again broke convention and is now available at mass retailers including Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Duane Reade.

In addition to running a global beauty company, Iman is actively invloved in several charities, including, The Children's Defense Fund, For All Kids Foundation, and Action Against Hunger. Iman's first book, entitiled I AM IMAN (Universe, 2001), was an autobiographical sketchbook of her career that questions the unserious business of fashion and beauty and its serious affect on identity. Her upcoming book, THE BEAUTY OF COLOR: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color (Putnam penguin) will be published in Fall 2005.

Iman began her career in the 1975 as a model and has challenged the prevailing notions of beauty ever since. The daughter of an African diplomat, Iman was born in Somalia and grew up speaking five languages. She studied political science at Nairobi University where she was discovered by lengendary photographer Peter Beard.

Her first modeling assignment was for Vogue in 1976. Iman was an instant success in the fashion world, and a muse fir fashion designers including Yves. St. Laurent, Versace, Calvin Klein and top photographers Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Annie Liebovitz.

A mother of two, Iman is married to David Bowie with whom she has a daughter Alexandria Zahra. Iman's eldest daughter is Zulehka Haywood..."

Photos Courtesy of IMAN and Careers In Beauty

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hilda Nwevoh

Akada Campus says"...19 year old Udi, Enugu State born Hilda Nevoh beat 14 other contestants Sunday 21st August to win the 2005 edition of the Nigeria Model Awards inside the banquet hall of the Sheraton Hotel & Towers.

With the victory, she represents Nigeria at the Ford Supermodel of the World contest slated for January 2006 in New York where she stands a chance of picking a $250,000 worth of modelling contract. Hilda, the fourth of of five siblings said she least expected to be picked as the winner as the competition was very stiff, even though she prayed to win.

The undergraduate of Economics from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology who dreams of becoming a renowned fashion designer after retiring from international modelling gave all the glory to God for her victory as in her words, "Any of the girls could have won. we all had our different unique attributes but i guess God has chosen this time for me and I am really excited about it. I am looking forward to the world finals and perhaps God will also help me win that one" .

Hilda was picked by head scout for Ford Super Model, New York, Robert Knapp who was the sole judge for the event..."

Photos courtesy of Acada Campus

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Oumou Sy

Although this Lady grew up without a formal education, she could now be regarded as Senegal's most internationally known haute couture designer.

Afritopic says "... As a child, she liked the feel of fabrics and she was always playing with the material in any form her fantasy allowed. She later developed interest in joining, stitching and sewing pieces of fabrics together to create works of art. Her interest grew stronger. She developed her capabilities further and started making dresses, which today, has developed into a successful fashion business. Her collections have been showcased at international fashion shows in Europe, Asia, Africa and USA.

Apart from creating high-class fashion designs, is very active in development programs in her home country. She founded a school of design, which provides training for Senegalese in diverse areas of product and fashion designs. According to Oumou Sy in a discussion podium during the Masala Welt-Beat Festival 2004, the graduates of the school are highly rated by employers in Senegal. Some of the graduates also find employment in the design industries outside of Senegal..."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Imane Ayissi

Endowed with the talent of being both a fashion designer and a model, Imane Ayissi seems to prove you can be succesful in these two related fields.Imane Ayissi's website says "... Born in Cameroon, Imane Ayissi arrived in France in 1990. This lover of fabrics has tailored for himself a strong reputation in the Afro-Caribbean community. In September 2002, he presented his eight collection Vogue Africa in the Daniel Buren Circus in Paris.

Imane Ayissi draws his inspiration from the pre-colonial Black continent to create a global fashion which goes beyond the ethnic label. He works his fabrics in a soft and pure way in order to reveal harmony and magnify the elegance of women, elegance being the key-word of this creator. Chic, distinction and a touch of aristocracy are features of his dresses. Innate respect of women that reveals without undressing and suggests the body rather than shows it, is characteristic of this designer who resorts to some daring to help those he dresses with their seductive power.

Imane Ayissi has had regular work as a model for several years, primarily free lance, fashion shows, fashion photography, and advertisements for Gap, Motorola, Gitanes… but also photographic studies with photographers Alain Herman, Gérard Valmer, Marc-Antoine Harmeau, Ernest Collins, Pascal Barin, Laurent Durant, Wade H. Grimbly, Charles Ossola, and Marc Robin.

In 1999, he posed for a series of paintings by Sasmayoux. In the same year, photographer Elias created a series of photos displaying the jewelry of creators from the Place Vendôme in Paris around Imane: Van Cleef and Arpels, Christian Dior, Cartier, Chanel, Boucheron, Harry Winston, Bulgari, Mauboussin and Fred. These photos were published in French fashion magazines and presented in an exhibit in Paris..."

Photos Courtesy of Stephane Tourne and Edward Collins

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Adriana Lima

In an article featured in Ask Men Adriana says"...Modeling is a tough job, your co-workers are your rivals, it really puts a damper on your perspective of other girls."

Superior Pics says"...First spotted while shopping at a local mall, 13-year-old Adriana Lima joined a Ford Supermodel of Brazil model search and finished 1st in the competition. In 1996, she competed in the Ford Supermodel of the World contest and placed 2nd. In the next year, she landed a contract with Elite Model Agency and subsequently packed for New York.

Under her new agent, Adriana scored a campaign for the fashion label Anna Molinari. She also managed to work with the world's top photographers like Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier, Peter Lindbergh and Ellen von Unwerth and appeared in several fashion and women magazines including Vogue (Italy) and Harper's Bazaar in 1997, Vogue (UK), I-D (UK), Marie Claire (Brazil), and Vogue (Italy) in 1998. She followed it up with the next year's appearances in Vogue (U.S., Germany, UK) and Marie Claire (Italy). She also stepped on runways for many prestigious designers like Cynthia Rowley, Vera Wang, Christian Lacroix, Emanuel Ungaro, Betsey Johnson, Girls Rule, Richard Tyler, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Randolph Duke, Ralph Lauren, and Valentino.

Adriana's first big break was being the model for a Vassarette printed advertisement in New York's Times Square. She later was hurled towards the spotlight after being chosen as the spokesmodel for Guess?. Adriana starred in the company's Fall 2000 ad campaign, which was shot by Pablo Alfaro in Northern California, along with several other young fresh faces. Soon afterward, a string of campaign offers followed, notably Anna Sui Jeans, Bebe, Gasoline, Mossimo, BCBG, Keds and XOXO.

Another modeling job arrived when Adriana became the spokesmodel for Victoria's Secret. She modeled in the company's catalogues and ads with supermodels Heidi Klum and Laetitia Casta. She also appeared in the popular TV transmitted lingerie shows, The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, which she debuted with in 2000 and later became the show opener in 2003. Currently, she starred in the Italian TIM mobile Commercials.

On screen, Adriana has been profiled on E! Entertainment Television, The Travel Channel, Viva, Extra and Whipple's World. She also shared the screen with Mickey Rourke, playing a wife in the BMW short film, The Hire: The Follow in 2001. In November of 2004, she guest starred in "The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn..."

Photos from

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Mariacarla Boscono

Recently annouced by H&M as a replacement to Kate Moss, Mariaclara Boscono started modeling at the tender age on seventeen. says "... "My parents traveled a lot, all over the world. They lived for seven years in Thailand before I was born. Then my Mom got pregnant and my family moved to Rome. My mom is from Tuscany and my Dad is from a little city where most of the fabric is made in Italy.After Rome we all went to Providence, then to Key West when I was two years old. I went to school in America.

They had this shop where they were selling Saucony. The shoes. They invented that. They were featured in Time magazine which did a big interview on them and things started to go well.After that period they decided they wanted to go back to Italy for me to study. I was Italian, they wanted me to grow up in Italy.

Then when I was 9 my Dad went to work in Kenya. He had this cave with this beautiful
material... huge... molto... unbelievable when you walk in. Because when you walk in, you're in this huge hole in a mountain. The material was... I don't know what the name is in English... but

it's very very white. So you have this beautiful light pouring in. We did five years there in this little village which is between Malindi and Mombassa. The village we were living in was really small, Kilindi. It wasn't even on the map then. It is now but not then. But it was the most fantastic five years of my life. Have you ever read this book... I can't translate the title but it talks about the unique feel and smell and taste of Africa. The heat, the slow life. Hakuna matata. Everything was like that.

But at one point you had to go back to reality, because that's a more fantastic world which was a beautiful thing to experience, but as a kid, it was strange for me too. I had no friends. I was alone in this huge house, in this huge park, with this huge balboab tree. You had to watch out everywhere because there would be snakes everywhere, falling down from trees, in the toilets,in the rooms.

I had this little puppy which we found in the streets called Pippo. We had this iguana, who just walked into the house one day so we adopted him. We'd feed him. We'd call him and he'd come for his food, like a pet. But I never touched him. He was huge. I was a kid and he scared me."

I find that the fashion business is not geared to keeping the model forever, anymore.
I think that's a really good thing. It's a business of the new. It's a young thing. It doesn't last forever. You have to move on! It's very unreal. I'm lucky that I can keep my feet on the ground.

I'm from the countryside. My mom, she calls me every day. All that helps me to see it for what it is.

For my future, what I would like is to have a magazine. It has to be a homemade, high quality travel magazine. Not as professional and cold as National Geographic. In that vein, but more homemade, more poetic! You go somewhere, you're a very good photographer, you're a very good writer and you go for a holiday and then you come back with an amazing story about this guy you met... who teaches you how to cook fish on the beach. Very personal. Like a letter from a friend..."

Photo by Don Ashby and Courtesy of STYLE.COM

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Atong Arjok

She has modeled for Lacoste, Ghost, Rachel Comey, Heatherette and Catherine Malandrino and has appeared on the Magazine covers of Sass & Bride and Hong Kong Luxe among others. This Elegant Model from California but with roots originating from Sudan is one of the top models to look out for in the next coming months.

Photo Courtesy of The ones to Watch

Friday, November 04, 2005

Manish Arora

Recently commissioned by Reebok Rbk to design is couture sneaker collection, 33-year-old Manish Arora from New Delhi now adds to the increasing number of Indian designers that appeal to the international fashion community.

Bharat Textile says "...A product of NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) Manish graduated from the faculty of fashion Design in 1994. On his graduating year he bagged the 'Most Creative Student' of the year award for his final project.

He also was the first runner up at the Smirnoff Fashion Awards held in Bombay in 1994.

Visualization has always been the designer's signature style and Manish Arora, after emerging from the portals of NIFT also participated in the much respected 'Young Asians Designers Competition' in 1995, held in Jakarta that year. At the show Manish presented 'KAL YUG', yet another highly stylized and humorous presentation. This won him the 2nd Runners up award and also the Most Original Collection award. It was in Jakarta that Manish was offered the job of a stylist for the French Vogue by its editor. But he preferred to stay back and launch his label' Manish Arora'.

Manish has had various shows in different parts of country each reflecting the designer's unmistakable style in a new way. His first solo show in October '98 at The Park hotel was one of the few shows that year that received such rare reviews. He has also been the official designer for the Vimal suiting and shirting campaign for the year 1998-99, and represented India at the Hong Kong fashion Week, held in Hong Kong in January 2000.

He was also a part of exhibition on Kitsch held at India Habitat Center. This exhibition saw the work of various well-known artists of India such as Atul Dodhia, Anjolie Ela Menon, Ram Rehman and many others, among which, his work stood out for its originality. It was at Selfridges (London) in May '02 where he exhibited a similar work of art.

Keeping in view the upcoming market of ready to wear he has launched a new line of women's wear in February 2001 under the label 'FISH FRY', for the same he was also associated with Bacardi for a series of shows in various cities.

It was in the year 2002 that Mr. Martand Singh chose a few leading designers from our country to design clothes made from khadi to revive this age old Indian fabric, it was inaugurated by honorable prime minister of India Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the same was showcased in all the leading cities of our country.

There was a full-page advertisement of Manish Arora for lord And Taylor in the Sunday Times, New York and he was also featured in the Women's Wear Daily for his new collection.

Manish has made costumes for a Bollywood film and for a French Film that is currently being shot; he has dressed the likes of Bianca Jagger. Anoushka Shankar wore a dress that he specially designed for her at the Grammy Awards 2003. He is opening his second Manish Arora/Fish Fry store in Mumbai by September this year and at the same time is also taking part at the trade fair in Paris.

He is retailing at Carma in Delhi, Ensemble in Bombay, Fflio in Bangalore, Zenon & Kali in Kolkatta, Zingara in Cannes (France), Cafe Des Baines in Geneva (Switzerland), Lord & Taylor in New York, Morini in Forte Det Marmi- Italy, Papini in Catania-Italy, Torregrossa in Palerito-Italy, Frank and Fics in Paris and his first flagship store at 1-M.G. Road, New Delhi. He s also retailing through BE: outlets (a division of Raymonds limited) in eight cities in India and Dubai.

It was during this fashion week that Manish has formed an alliance with one of the leading retail stores in the world, Maria Louisa (Paris). It is a store that houses all the leading brands such as Helmut Lang, Alexander Mc Queen, Balenciaga and John Galliano..."

Photos Courtesy of Time Magazine and Mid-Day

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ade Bakare

Cape Fashion Week says "...The Ade Bakare (Couture) London label has now become synonymous with classic yet modern fashion over the years. The label, which was started by Ade Bakare in 1991, has now grown to include other lines such as Shoes, Bags, Scarves and Jewellery.

This enables his ever-loyal clientele to have the Ade Bakare complete look and experience.

The label, which attracts women from all walks of life; celebrities, royalty and the working lady, was set up in 1991 with the assistance of the Princes Youth Business Trust (PYBT). The Ready To Wear Collection sold to stores and boutiques across England , in places such as London , Guildford Esher, Amersham and. Sheffield, plus Scotland and the Channel Islands .

Due to an increasing demand for couture by private clients Ade Bakare decided to open a salon on Grosvenor Street in Mayfair to cater for them. The showroom, which was opened in 1997, was a huge success and immediately put Ade Bakare on the International Haute-Couture map, attracting clients from American, France, Italy, Germany, Nigeria and the Jamaican Islands.

At the Mayfair Salon, Ade Bakare's first floral fragrance for ladies called 'Breeze' was launched in 1998 and which now includes a scented cream and scented candle introduced in 2000 for the Millennium.

Over the years the Ade Bakare Couture label has attracted worldwide press, especially in America , Germany , Monaco and Nigeria , where he has received a lot of press and media coverage, especially during the Royal Ascot season.

Plans for the future include opening branches in Europe, North America and Africa .

Ade Bakare was born in Bromsgrove in England . He studied to University level in Lagos , Nigeria at the University of Lagos . He returned to England to study Fashion Design at the Salford University College , Manchester , where he gained a HND in 1990.

Ade Bakare then went on to work for two internationally known Couture designers in London; Victor Edlestein and Christina Stambolian, before setting up his own label in 1991.

The Ade Bakare Couture label is aimed at the sophisticated woman who likes to appear glamorous at all times. The label uses natural silk fabrics such as French dupion, georgette, chiffons,duchess satins, lace and 'Gazar' which Add Bakare has become well-known for. Add Bakare designs capture the true spirit of the feminine form and are designed in a modern way, always giving his loyal clientele something new to look forward to. Ade Bakare continues to design for the label including the Jewellery line, staging fashion shows in England and abroad, lecturing at fashion colleges and seminars, writing on fashion for newspapers and magazines.

Photo Courtesy of Cape Town Fashion Week

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Isabeli says"...Isabeli Bergossi Fontana (who occasionally simply goes by "Isabeli") was born on July 4, 1983, in Curitiba, in the Paran? region of Brazil. She has two siblings; brothers Harrison and Heric. By the time she was merely 12 years of age, Isabeli told her mother that she wanted to become a model.

In 1996, she was a finalist in an Elite Model Look Contest in Sao Paulo, and the following year, at the age of only 14, she traveled from her native Brazil to Milan, to start working as a model. This move helped Isabeli see her home as those from other countries see it; "Everyone wants to know about Brazil," she admits.

In 1999, when she was 16, Isabeli appeared in the Victoria's Secret catalog. This generated a bit of a stir in the fashion world, since Victoria's Secret reportedly violated its policy of only hiring models that were 21 or older. But such controversy helped, rather than harmed, Isabeli's prospects, especially in an industry that worships youth to extremes. A case in point: Isabeli revealed that when she was 16, clients complained that she looked too young; when she was 17, they thought she looked too old. C'est la vie in the world of fashion.

Nevertheless, she landed work with such world-famous labels as Valentino, Versace, bebe, and Ralph Lauren, strutting down fashion runways from New York and Paris to Milan. She appeared in international editions of well-known magazines like Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle, and also worked on a campaign for M. Officer, a hot, up-and-coming design house in Brazil, in which Isabeli was photographed in provocative poses that kept everyone guessing. She was also one of the models to appear in the coveted Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition in 2002 and 2003.
underage partygoer

Isabeli now lives in New York with her fiancee, fellow model Alvaro Jacomossi. Despite the hustle and bustle of her new home, Isabeli doesn't get caught up in Manhattan's flashy nightlife. She goes to movies with Alvaro (though she's not big on TV) and enjoys music, especially her "three R's": rock, reggae and rap.

With a promising career and a comfortable lifestyle, a model on the verge of superstardom could lose her head. Not so for Isabeli. Knowing that the career of a model is a short one, she's already looking to the future. She recently became a mother and she's even thinking of taking up acting, though she doesn't have the time to take classes yet. Isabeli is also prudent enough to invest some of her modeling earnings so that she can buy a house in Alvaro's hometown. But whatever she may do later on, Isabeli doesn't want to cut herself off from modeling completely.

Isabeli Fontana is one of many successful models -- including Gisele Bundchen, Ana Claudia Michels and Adriana Lima -- to come out of Brazil in recent years. But few can match her meteoric career path. She began with a notorious debut in the Victoria's Secret catalog at age 16, and within three short years, has become a fixture in the Paris and Milan shows, a model for celebrated designers from Versace to Valentino, and cover girl for more than her share of high-profile magazines.

If anything, this stunning ascent has taught Fontana to be realistic. Although she enjoys modeling immensely, she doesn't pretend that the youth-obsessed industry isn't without its flaws. With this in mind, she's already making plans for when she trades in her outlandish runway getups for more subdued business attire.

Of course, at such a young age, Isabeli's still got a lot left in her. Yet even as her appeal peaks, she'd rather spend an evening listening to music or going to the movies with her fianc? than whooping it up on the tow..."

Photo courtesy of Top Fashion Models