Julia Haart, chief executive officer and chief creative officer of Elite World, which bills itself as the “largest modeling agency on the planet,” has spent her career designing shoes, lingerie and apparel that empowers women without sacrificing comfort. Nor does Haart believe that sexy and strong are mutually exclusive.
The designer prior to joining Elite World was the architect of a ready-to-wear collection for La Perla with built-in support, a fusion of lingerie and fashion, sharply tailored pieces with the complex construction worthy of a building engineer, and worn by Kendall Jenner and Naomi Campbell.
Diversity, another of Haart’s passions, was on display at E. 1972, the inaugural global fashion brand Haart designed for Elite World. “The runway was 18 to 38 [years old]. I’m giving the talent the tools to create their own brands,” she told WWD Saturday minutes after the show ended. Named after the year of Elite’s founding, E. 1972 doesn’t utilize sizes, rather, Haart is using body-scanning technology to eschew traditional sizing, making the line available to all body shapes and sizes. Consumers can order made-to-measure at e1972.com or at E. 1972’s international ateliers for a personalized fitting.
The global modeling agency has historically been one of the most egregious industries in terms of employment practices and allegations of sexual assault, abuse and coercion of models. The CFDA and other organizations around the world governing fashion weeks have issued guidelines to ensure models are adults, and working under humane conditions.
“A firm believer and fighter for freedom and individuality,” said Haart, adding that it’s a new day at Elite World Group.“If we don’t do something, who will. The problem is that it takes a lot of courage, and I want to help. I have two jobs that I take very seriously in this industry: the first is to empower every person I represent to create themselves as a brand, and give them longevity. The second is get all the dirty old men out of commission.
“The burden of proof always falls on the women. ‘Women should dress more modestly,'” Haart said, echoing the line society has used as an excuse to explain away the bad behavior. “Men should control themselves. I think it just takes a lot of people standing up. I have a unique responsibility to do that and create a safe environment.”