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SS 09 BUZZ: Prada or Calvin...Who carries the career weight these days?

IMG Pernille is a shoe-in for Top 10 Newcomer SS09IMG Pernille is a shoe-in for Top 10 Newcomer SS09

We brink on August. And here we go again. The inbox at MDC is getting clogged with all those in-coming new beauties all being glossed to walk that fine line forged by the likes of Daria or her long lost contemporary Elise Crombez . The dream line? A Marc Jacobs here, an Anna Sui there, maybe even the Calvin. Then she gets to Milan. she opens Prada. All the editors see the sensational new beauty and presto. Add water and we have an instant star. Or so the mythology runs.
Roughly a year ago I outlined in a post titled "Can NY Get Its Groove Back?" all the reasons why New York City had lost its market leadership in the new model sweepstakes. To recap: timid casting directors and even more uninspired clients who book one season behind every other city AND a visa blockade that lumps models in the same category as computer engineers (Oh the irony), ensuring they certainly don't end up in NY in their first season.
The interesting thing is we face a SS09 with a good 10 FW 08 breakout stars set to walk for their first major season in NY. Think Iris and Amanda Laine at Supreme, Natalia Chabanenko at Women and Anna S from Silent. You could almost cast a whole show from their ranks as that mob represents campaign faces and cover girls as well as editorial must-haves. Now process the fact that Amanda and Iris did every NY casting imaginable but were found wanting by most of this city's showrooms. Will history repeat itself? It wouldn't be history if it didn't.
By way of full disclosure I should say 5 of MDC's Top 10 NY Newcomers slots are already clinched. The really brilliant agents of the business have deduced that the stakes have been raised and to compete, a girl has to enter the September market with as much advance ammunition as can be secretly stockpiled. The perfect case in point? Pernille at IMG whose "walk" video MDC premiered on MDX . That girl's path has been so beautifully laid I do not doubt that one of the earliest Top 10 Newcomer SS 09 slot will go to her. Unless NY designers suddenly become abruptly directional, it is going to be brutally difficult to get those other first season girls on the map. Any agent who thinks the game starts in August will find themselves behind the cycles already pre-plotted at IMG, Women, Supreme, Elite (which is really good with that Calvin show) and Next.
The great outside hope for the NY shows to produce a star is most distinctly the Calvin Klein. Through Irina K to Karlie Kloss, Toni Garrn and Ali Stephens, that is the one show exclusive that has come to gain value for the future of a new model's career. The hawk eyed crew at Calvin are very aware of this. Politically what Prada and a Prada slot means for Milan, Calvin carries that career weight in NY . Their prime girls have been marked off. Mysterious beauties are being whisked in and out of the showroom with cloaks over their heads and every good manger has the challenge of balancing that very Calvin booking against the uncompromising demands for exclusivity that will be traded by the Prada showroom. But how do you deduce which girl is better for Calvin and which for Prada? Unlike the Prada, the tastes at Calvin have been shifting back and forth . Is it a Karl Templer vision (uber blonde works for that) or should we be reading Camilla Nickerson's editorial tea leaves for clues? The choice, for instance of Suvi for Calvin FW 09 makes total sense when you measure how much Ms Nickerson loves working with her. I feel a little sorry for those NY agencies who are completely counting on one European show to build the career of their girls on. The verdict can only come in by late September , which means for those girls who get the thumbs down, SS09 will be over for them. It's going to be a game of wise choices against a booby-trapped chess-board and TI is already pulling up his front row seat to watch the explosions. The games have begun.

Taste is a dictatorship.

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