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.”
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye