HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Guests at Tuesday night’s “Christmas in July” event at Talbots’ Madison Avenue flagship found Christmas trees, snowflake decorations and wrapped gift boxes on the VIP fifth floor. Amid the houndstooth pants, denim shirts, plaid pumps and colorful crewneck sweaters, models Niki Taylor and Ubah Hassan looked right at home, welcoming guests, leading them through the collection and gamely posing for selfies.
The open house kept Taylor from seeing her 22-year-old son, Hunter, model for Ovadia & Sons, but they planned to meet up after. He has been hitting the pavement in New York for the past two weeks, racking up 40 go-sees and a few men’s shows. Describing her son as “Six-three, super skinny and really beautiful,” Taylor said he has been making the rounds without any advice from her.
A mother of four, Taylor flies to New York from Nashville at least twice a month to meet with Talbots’ executives. Over the past three years, the brand’s family-like ways have won her over. She and fellow model Ubah Hassan enthused about how the company genuinely wants to know their opinions about fit and style, even though the pair are not formally involved with the development of the collection. Talbots also sends birthday and holiday presents, they said.
“As a model, we never say no to any jobs, but it is almost like a cherry on the cake when you actually get along with your client. First of all, they are women. They are very loving and caring. They celebrate our birthdays and send us Christmas gifts.” Hassan said. “It just makes you want to wake up at 4 a.m., in the cold, to catch the light [for a shoot],” Hassan said. “There aren’t a lot of clients like this left.”
Talbots also prefers that the models go easy on the makeup so that ads will appeal to real women, Hassan said. “They want women to feel comfortable, because all this is fake,” she said, tugging on her loosely waved hair. “I don’t wake up like this.”
Taylor agreed, taking it upon herself to leaf through some nearby displays containing some of her favorite holiday pieces, including a camel coat, holiday pins and the conversational sweaters.
Hassan chimed in, gesturing toward a cardigan and noting it can be worn in the fall with a vest or in the winter with a huge sweater. “When I shop, I ask myself, ‘How many times can I wear this?’ If I can’t do it two or three times, it’s not worth the money.”