Natasha and Lily
This story first appeared in the October 27, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
If all of the season’s catwalks were to be rolled into one long running track, Russia’s Natasha Poly likely would edge out fellow golden girl, Britain’s Lily Donaldson, to the finish line. The seasoned mannequins were everywhere, sometimes book-ending the same shows. Tipping into double digits, Poly opened 10 major, mostly European, shows, including Stella McCartney, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli, while almond-eyed Donaldson clocked half that amount, opening Lanvin, John Galliano, Max Mara and Derek Lam, and opening and closing Gareth Pugh. Both closed nine shows each.
Straight off the runway, Poly is said to already be shooting back-to-back high-profile campaigns. “She’s had a beautiful season—we’re all speechless,” says her Paris booker, Women’s Eric Schaub.
Meanwhile, Gareth Pugh says he regards having a girl like Donaldson open his show as a way of assuring the lasting visual impact of his collection on a global level. “It sets a certain tone to open with Lily. As with the first time
I saw Kate Moss walk through a room, backstage at one of Alexander McQueen’s shows, [seeing a girl like Donaldson] is like seeing an ad in motion, only in 4-D, as there’s also the element of time and space,” says Pugh. “We felt so lucky to get such a big face. She didn’t have to do my show, but wanted to show her support.” Into her fourth year of modeling, the gangly 21-year-old, who was spotted shopping in Camden, England, at age 16, has already amassed a golden portfolio of campaigns, including Burberry, Chanel, Dior makeup, Jil Sander and Lanvin.
“I love the elegance of her attitude. It is difficult to be that perfect at hardly 17,” marvels Karl Lagerfeld of skyrocketing German model Toni Garrn.
Since her catwalk debut September 2007, where she opened and closed for Calvin Klein (going on to bag the brand’s spring 2008 campaign), insiders signal that the fledgling model has a long way to go. “I had the opportunity to work with so many designers that I admire and it was very exciting,” enthuses Garrn, who this season skipped school to walk for the likes of Prada, Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Gucci—not forgetting the Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel shows, bien sur.
“There is a touch of Brigitte Helm (who was that age when she did Metropolis),
with something fresh and innocent,” muses Lagerfeld. “There is also a touch of Claudia Schiffer when she was 18.”