Julia Nobis is not above self-deprecation. For a recent friendly meet-up with an ex-boyfriend, she wore a rugby shirt and jeans — topped off with a floppy beanie and a hot pink tutu. “I love making him feel uncomfortable by dressing like a complete idiot,” says the 19-year-old model in her charming Aussie twang.
On this particular afternoon, Nobis is looking far less festive, her gangly frame covered in a hoodie, tank and jeans (albeit from Richard Chai, Alexander Wang and Superfine), oversize headphones strung around her neck. This is her typical getup. “I’m very much a first-shirt-on-the-pile, whatever-jeans-are-clean kind of dresser,” she says, noting that she’s always favored a tomboy, minimalist aesthetic. As a kid she dressed “like a straight-up boy. I used to get mistaken for one all the time, like, ‘Uh, sir?’”
It’s that pseudo-androgynous streak (coupled with some striking facial features) that has made Nobis a veritable industry darling, the most in-demand model for the fall 2012 season, walking some 72 shows. Her secret to keeping calm through it all? Playing the guitar, which she does backstage whatever chance she gets. “I bring it if I’m somewhere for more than four days,” she says.
It was just four years ago that Nobis was introduced to the modeling world. Then 5 feet 10 inches tall (she’s 5 feet 11 inches now), she was spotted at a Sydney train station on her way home from a high school drama club meeting, skateboard tucked under her arm. “A woman tapped me on the shoulder and I thought she wanted directions,” Nobis recalls. “She asked me, ‘Are you a model?’ I outright laughed in her face.” She signed with Priscilla, her mother agency, a few days later, but made it clear she wasn’t going to give up school. “I told them, ‘I can work during holidays, maybe after class,’” she says. “I thought modeling could be like a hobby.”
So she focused on her studies, doing a test shoot and some small jobs here and there until her senior year, when her booker asked if she’d like to do a show at Sydney Fashion Week. “I was absolutely terrified. I had never worn heels before,” Nobis says. She managed to make her runway debut without toppling over but it wasn’t entirely blunder-free. “They used gold leaf all around my eyes and I got a chemical burn from the glue,” she says. “I had these red panda eyes. I wore aviators to school that week.” Needless to say, that’s when a Ford Models scout came to town and wanted to meet her. Panda eyes and all, Nobis was signed. “She was like, ‘The minute you’re finished with school, you’re getting on a plane to New York.’” She flew Stateside that following January, just in time to make the New York collections castings.
Three years in, she’s got the runway thing down pat (not to mention a few campaigns along the way, including Burberry, fall 2010; Proenza Schouler, spring 2011, and Balenciaga, fall 2011) and looks forward to the end of each season, or what she calls Get Fat Month: “I just lay on my couch and eat Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream bars and Ferrero Rochers.”
Craziest Makeup: “The Chanel eyebrows were apparently 200 euros [$263] a piece so I had 400 euros [$526] on my face. I’d say that’s pretty crazy.”
Most Coveted Look: “Versus. It was jeans, a shirt and boots. I felt right at home and joked with Chris [Kane], ‘Look, if I just bailed wearing this, is that cool?’ I could have kept walking right off the runway!”
Most Difficult Shoes: “Yves Saint Laurent. I had these superhigh pumps. Even though my feet are long, they’re very narrow so they don’t stay in pumps. I had in four heel grips and tape all around the back. It wasn’t my best walk.”
Backstage Panic: “At Versace, I had the shortest change. I think there were seven looks in-between my first and my second. Everyone was freaking out about whether or not I’d make it. Thank God my first look was a big coat with snaps all the way down. It was like a striptease—I ripped off the coat and bam!” Best Trick: “This season at Giles, everyone was falling during rehearsal so we put hair spray on the bottom of our shoes. It acts like a glue—great for runway, not so good on carpet.”
Most Uncomfortable Outfit: “At Alexander McQueen, I had one of the big fur coats that had like five different types of animals in it. Then you’ve got a half-corset underneath and a tight belt so you can’t breathe; you’re overheating and you’re exhausted. We all were just standing around these fans backstage trying not to pass out.”
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews