In the Supermodel era of Brook Shields, Naomi Campbell, Christi Turlington, Cindy Crawford, and Tyra Banks, audiences and mass consumers were infatuated with the beauty and commercial appeal of these recognizable names in fashion. These women had the looks and the personality to be recognized by even the most illiterate to fashion. While it seems the times when models could be considered “super” has almost faded away, a face that can be seen literally, in one way or another, in most fashion magazines and advertisements is Karlie Kloss. I remember when I first was introduced to this budding model on New York Magazines fashion blog, The Cut, in 2008. It’s funny looking back on when I remember first seeing the video below, and not imagining the mounting number of spreads and shows she would star in from season to season from then to this present day has making her an inevitable stand out in the fashion industry.
In my fashion, what gets me giddy over this model is her signature runway walk that has deemed her FMO (First Model Out) and/or LMO (Last Model Out) in many a fashion show. The way she photographs and the rush of goose bumps I get from her editorial spreads when I turn the pages of Vogue send me into a out-of-body experience where I can picture her moving like a dream, and I, the photographer, have found that magical moment where I can feel that jolt of excited success as I press down on the shutter release button on that perfect photo that I know is going to inspire the masses. I can feel the electricity that Karlie would bring to set for it seems that because her intuitive sense of self-awareness, the audience, can basically see a story of how she moved in order to get the images we feign for—movements which are calculated but effortless, and ambitious yet graceful, all the while being creative and experimental in the process. It is this intuitive self-awareness and unassuming attitude that I most admire about the young, new age Supermodel.
In the May 2010 issue of Teen Vogue, Karlie appeared on the front page, solo, as the cover story for the month. In it, designer, Jason Wu exclaims, “She’s my lucky closer. She has such presence. You see so many girls who are so young; it’s not often that you find one with Karlie’s poise. I don’t think we’ve seen that since the supermodel days.” John Galliano agreed stating in the article that, “She has a frisson of old-school glamour.” He quotes, “She’s a chameleon. She becomes this other creature in front of the lens. She thinks about her role, her pose, her part. She’s able to step in front of [photographer] Steven Meisel and all of us be totally in control and self-assured, delivering pose after perfect pose.” Although she brings professionalism to her work that allows people to enjoy working with her, all throughout the article she is described as unassuming and sweet—so sweet, that Alexander Wang accounts, “She baked me peanut butter cookies when she came in for her fittings.” He also goes on to say, “Even if you’re the most beautiful girl in the world, if you make everyone’s life miserable, you won’t get far. Karlie is a rare balance of beauty and personality.”
In 2009, I recount picking up every issue of Vogue that year and seeing Karlie in yet another fantastic Vogue spread that, in my fashion, always seemed to over shine the other spreads in the magazine in regards to both her presence and the amount of the spreads she was in, considering that year she was the most photographed model in Vogue [source]. After having only debuted two seasons prior she obviously most favored in the Vogue offices that year, and her multitude of dreamy spreads show how in demand she was, and still is, at the top tier of fashion. Some of my favorite spreads from that year can be seen below from the September and November issues. Thanks to the styling and the luscious frocks she models, she already appears amazingly beautiful, but on top of the glamour of the clothes, Karlie’s smoldering eyes, highly arched eyebrows, and long lean limbs, are the features I am drawn to most. In most every photo I noticed I first am drawn to her eyes, then to her body, then to the clothes. After piecing it all together and viewing the photo as a whole, I feel that each photo resonates a certain glow and allure in which through feeling I am drawn to think of what it must be like, and feel like, to wear what she is wearing and move the way she is moving to look as gorgeous as she does. It is this thinking that pretty much occurs whether I see her photo in Vogue or in another publication, and is why I understand her demand in fashion as it pertains to making women dream. She is a quintessential model in all aspects.
The reason I feel she is so effective as a model is because her presence on the page more so conjures a feeling of how would I look if I were to be moving like she was; how would I look if I were standing like that? It’s like looking at her photos is more than simply looking at a photo, but her look makes it so easy for women to dream, for her poses reveal a poise that only natural movements of an innocently beautiful person would make. From the New York Magazine video above we learn that she has had training as a ballerina, which probably attributes to her grace and poise. Her training, she says, has definitely helped her in her modeling career, and it shows. She says herself that ballet, “is a beautiful thing that teaches you how use your body and to move.” The amount of concentration and artistry that goes into being a ballerina would, of course, gear Karlie to appear as beautiful as she does for in ballet one is practicing being graceful. Me, personally, I practice yoga. I find that yoga is a great tool to use to really understand how to sync your mind with your body and move in a more controlled manner that is also fluid and relaxed. I find that being tall I tend to have problems being coordinated. Yoga has helped me to feel out my body and how it operates because with each practice I make it a point to make my poses more precise, and easier to fall into, thusly I am able to recognize parts and pieces of my body that help me to gain that control. By recognizing those muscles and stretching them so they are more limber, I am able to recognize them outside of my sessions which help me to gain a clearer awareness of my body on a daily basis, no matter what I am doing, which helps me keep from tripping over myself all the time.
In my fashion, I feel we all need something in our lives that helps us learn how our bodies operate and what helps us to keep control. I noticed, too, that by practicing yoga and being aware of my body’s functions, I am able to be more relaxed with my movements and portray a sense of easiness. In my fashion, being effortless is at the heart of style, for if it’s not easy to be whom you are and who you want to be, then you are not really living at full capacity because you are too busy trying to be something that is obviously not you. Personally, I concentrate on making my movements fluid, relaxed and natural. I find by concentrating on moving in that fashion helps me to think fluid, relaxed and natural which helps to relieve unwarranted stress. When you are moving throughout the day, thinking about too many things at once can really put a damper on how you appear for if your mind is disheveled then you will appear disheveled. This is why I have such a passion for Karlie. By instinctively knowing her body, she is very good at emoting a feeling of movement, and showing a purpose for the clothing she models. She is an awesome example of a dynamic woman who can own any look, and it’s this confidence that I think women would aspire to have themselves. I feel women can look to Karlie as a fantastic example and aspire to seem as “womanly-in-control” as she is.
As I have mentioned this month in my (June Letter from the Editor), based off the four qualities Olympic hopeful Alexandra Raisman aims to exude while she is performing (power, strength, grace and artistry), I feel bearing these characteristics in mind when we walk, work, and move throughout our day will enhance our presence and translate a strong sense of self. In my fashion, exuding a strong sense of self is the first step to leadership and taking control of one’s life and being able to contribute to the prosperity of others. If the people around us cannot see that we are confident in whom we are, and that we know what our personal capabilities and limitations are, it leaves the field open for people to assume what they want about us, and take advantage of our time and energy by using us for their own selfish benefit. I have a strong disdain for people who think that others are beneath them, and that they can intimidate and take advantage of weak-minded people, but the first step in preventing others from taking advantage of you and determining your fate, is to make sure they cannot come to that inclination from the get go (which is where personal style comes to play) for the best way to do that is to exude a strong and steadfast sense of self, and a sense that you are the master of your fate, and what you do in this life.