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for the pleasure of the high-end Italian tire company's unknown clients — not to mention the entire internet — is so outdated that it can only plausibly exist today as an ironic, artistic gesture.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.
David Walliams has a way with the supermodel ladies. He and wifey Lara Stone are pretty much inseparable. And now comes word that Kate Moss will appear in the comedian's The Boy In the Dress, his children's book that he's furiously adapting for BBC1 in time for the holidays. The subject is typically controversial Walliams-like material, about a twelve-year-old boy who crossdresses. "It is a funny and poignant story about what it is to be different," Walliams told The Telegraph.
Therefore, the supe will play herself in a fantasy sequence that is not like other boys' fantasies. Moss and Walliams have been friends forever, so the announcement isn't hugely surprising — but intriguing nonetheless. And there's more good news; Walliams has tapped another UK favorite to appear, none other than Jennifer Saunders, she of Ab Fab fabulosity.
One of the buzziest new faces to emerge from the spring collections is French-Ivorian Aya Jones N'Guessan. In her first modeling gig, the nubile newbie walked exclusively for Prada in Milan at the spring shows a couple of weeks ago, whereupon casting directors tripped over themselves to book her for the following shows in her hometown of Paris. Ultimately she chose to walk only a few, but they were some of the best: Miu Miu (of course), Valentino, Maison Martin Margiela, Sonia Rykiel, Viktor & Rolf, and Giambattista Valli, among others.
Aya has been compared to ebony goddesses Naomi Campbell, Noémie Lenoir, and Marihenny Rivera. There'll be plenty of opportunities to mull it over since it's very likely that, for the spring 2015 editorial and campaign season, Aya will be everywhere.
Putting the chic in Chicago, Lexi Boling was signed on her second visit to Ford Models in the Windy City (they told her to come back when she got her braces off). It's been a whirlwind ever since for Lexi, most known for her legs that don't end and her intense gaze that some have likened to a 'death stare.' At the spring collections, she walked 23 shows in New York alone and too many to count in London, Milan, and Paris, where she clocked appearances at Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Céline, Givenchy, and Loewe. We also noticed that, death stare notwithstanding, she's one of the liveliest girls backstage, hamming it up at every turn. Magazine editorials have been pouring in, too — everything from Italian Vogue to Numéro. Everyone's watching sexy Lexi.