The photographer asks Guess model Larissa Bondarenko to smile. She says no. It's not that she's irritable, even though she was just caught in traffic for nearly an hour; it's just that she's not too comfortable with her grin. "I don't like it," she says coyly. "I don't think it's pretty enough. I'm weird, what can I do?" The Russian-born model--equipped, incidentally, with arrow-straight pearly whites--is the newest member of what has become, one could say, a modeling dynasty. A number of her predecessors--most notably Claudia Schiffer and bombshell bride Anna Nicole Smith--have used Guess as a launching pad, transforming themselves from little-known faces into household names. While Bondarenko, 21, doesn't have grandiose expectations, she recognizes the importance of the exposure. "I don't expect a million-dollar career," she says, struggling with her English. "I like the recognition, though. People couldn't find me in the magazines before, but I was there. Now, they can find me. When I came to America to model, I learned what was a good job and what was bad. Guess represents prestige. I wanted to get this job since I've been in the business. Now, people come to the promotion events and wait in line to meet me--for my autograph." Having shot two Guess ads already--in Montego Bay and Paris--Bondarenko is anxious to do more, and perhaps, like those before her, she will be catapulted to the top. Along the way, she'd like to pursue another ambition. Guess which one. "I know every model says she wants to be an actor and it doesn't sound interesting or important, but I like acting," she says confidently. "I'd rather become an actress than a supermodel." It's a far cry from where she was four years ago. Growing up in Tashkent in Uzbekistan, in the former Soviet Union, Bondarenko was more inclined to run around the high-school track than walk down a runway. "My father always told me, 'Just wait, one day you'll have a line of people after you.' He meant men. I never thought of myself as a beautiful creature, though. I was also much more interested in sports than I was in beauty," she says. While she misses her hometown, and hardly has the time to run seriously, she felt at home in New York from the day she arrived two years ago. "I always knew that I would leave my home. Even though it is a beautiful town--warm, sunny and lots of roses, I just didn't see my future there. I didn't want to get married and have kids by the age of 20. I love the energy in New York," she adds. "There aren't many roses though."
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast