The Freshman Class

New York Fashion Week FW 2012: 8 Models to Watch

The Daily Beast picks the freshest faces to watch at New York Fashion Week this season.

Startracks Photo

Startracks Photo

It’s that time of year again, when dozens of up-and-coming models compete for a spot in the fashion shows that will launch their careers. There’s 18-year-old Cara Delevingne, who’s set to take the fashion world by storm. 27-year-old Kati Nescher is also generating buzz, despite being a decade older than most newcomers. With a few tips from New York casting director James Scully, Lizzie Crocker predicts who will stand out this season.

Startraks Photo

Karlina Caune

Age: 18

Winning the annual Ford Supermodel of the World contest is arguably the most high profile entry into the modeling biz. After placing third in the 2006 contest, Chanel Iman was named one of the “World’s Next Top Models” by Vogue in 2007, and has since appeared in just about every issue of the fashion bible. Karlina Caune was crowned the winner of Ford’s 2010 contest, making her runway debut a month later. The Latvian officially stepped into the spotlight last season, walking in the spring 2012 shows for Yves Saint Laurent, Miu Miu, Stella McCartney, and Celine. Celine liked Caune so much they snapped her up for their spring ad campaign. Now that she’s officially gone haute, it’s hard to imagine Caune was the poster girl for Converse just last year. But her ability to seamlessly embody the aesthetic of two dramatically different brands speaks to this Baltic beauty’s versatility—an asset that will surely work in her favor on the runways this week. 

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Caitlin Lomax

Age: 20

Caitlin Lomax was a silent threat in last season’s shows (Prada, Miu Miu, 3.1 Philip Lim, and Louis Vuitton, to name a few), but you’ll have plenty more opportunities to see the Australian newcomer work the catwalk this season. The 5’10” bombshell is reportedly a favorite of super-stylist and LOVE editor-in-chief Katie Grand, who styles Loewe and Louis Vuitton. Most recently, Lomax was featured exclusively in the Prada Resort 2012 look book and shot editorials for Dazed and Confused and the racy Treats! magazine. With her strong track record and impish appeal, this girl definitely has the “It” factor this season.  

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Sissi Hou

Age: 23

With only a handful of editorials under her belt, including a recent shoot with V magazine, Sissi Hou is about as green as they come. But according to the blogosphere (and casting director James Scully) the 23-year-old Chinese import made a big impression in Celine and Louis Vuitton’s pre-fall 2012 shows last month and is expected to be all over the New York runways this week.  

Giancario Gorassini / Startraks Photo

Katryn Kruger

Age: 16

While Prada’s fall 2011 ad campaign introduced industry neophytes like Kelly Mittendorf and Antonia Wesseloh, the faces in its spring campaign are more familiar. But one newcomer, Katryn Kruger, stands out amongst the other seasoned pros. The South African newbie made her major debut in Paris last season, where she was an exclusive in Givenchy’s spring show. Just a few weeks ago, she bookended the Valentino couture show, modeling its opening and closing looks. Look out for Kruger on many a runway this season.

Cara Delevingne

Age: 18

British socialite and model Poppy Delevigne has long been a fashion darling and regular of London’s party circuit, but now her younger sister, Cara, is stepping into the spotlight. At 18, the fierce-looking blond already has several Burberry campaigns in her portfolio and recently walked in Chanel’s couture show. Burberry’s current campaign features the leggy Brit entwined with actor Eddie Redmayne, who starred opposite Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn. Delevingne’s dark eyebrows and delicately upturned nose resemble Victoria Beckham’s sultry features (incidentally, she turned down an opportunity to play Posh in an upcoming Spice Girls musical.) For now, Miss Delevingne (perhaps she added that extra “n” to differentiate from her older sister) is focusing on modeling and is poised to storm the fall 2012 catwalks.    

Marte Mei Van Haaster

Age: 19

The androgynous look may continue to dominate this season, if Marte Mei Van Haaster has anything to say about it. The Dutch native was studying to be a fashion and textile designer when she was scouted on the streets of Amsterdam by a local modeling agency. It wasn’t long before the statuesque brunette was scooped up by IMG Models and landed an exclusive runway deal with Prada in Milan last September. She also opened for Acne in London, closed for Celine, and showed off spring collections for couture bigwigs like Chanel, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent, and Valentino. Following a flawless first season on the catwalk, Van Haaster landed her first major ad campaign with legendary French fashion house Lanvin.

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Lara Mullen

Age: 17

When a model makes her catwalk debut for Alexander Wang, she’s bound to turn a few heads. When she does so a mere two weeks after being scouted and with no prior experience, she’s bound to capture the industry’s attention. Lara Mullen secured an exclusive with Prada last season, after the 17-year-old arrived in New York last September, walking for Alex Wang, Vera Wang, and Theyksens’ Theory before jetting off to London and Milan. She cemented her status as the season’s breakout model during her final shows in Paris, where she walked for Chloe, Givenchy, Dries Van Noten, and Celine. Her quintessentially British look has earned her comparisons to industry veteran Stella Tenant. She’s already bonded with the biggest model in the business, Gisele Bundchen, who helped Mullen get a new pair of shoes backstage when hers broke before the Givenchy show.

Startraks Photo

Kati Nescher

Age: 27

Though our youth-obsessed culture has a tendency to fawn over teenage models, 27-year-old Kati Nescher is holding her own amongst a slew of pretty young things. No one had heard a peep about the Russian-born, German-raised Nescher until she modeled Marni’s opening and closing looks last season before popping up again in Prada and Jil Sander. But it was in Paris where she really proved her versatility, walking for Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, and Yves Saint Laurent. With a son back home, Nescher will have plenty to talk about backstage with other model-mothers like Natalia Vodianova and Kate Moss, whom she walked alongside last season at Givenchy.