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- American model
In the wild kingdom of modeling, it’s a known fact that these long-limbed creatures like to move in packs—typically in groups of three. Remember the Naomi, Christy and Linda posse? These days it gets lonely backstage with only your Instagram feed to keep you company— especially when you’re on your fourth city in four weeks. This Paris Fashion Week, I’ve spotted several burgeoning alliances forming. Let’s take a look.
Fashion’s Favorite Bad Girls: Issa Lish, Leona “Binx” Walton, and Lexi Boling
These alternative cool chicks are editorial gold due to their otherworldly looks and rebellious attitudes. Just ask photographer Steven Meisel, who last year shot a horror story spread with Mexican-Japanese stunner Issa Lish for Vogue Italia. The 19-year old Lish, who was discovered while waitressing at her dad’s sushi restaurant in Mexico City and could easily star as an assassin in Tarantino’s next film, admits she wasn’t the pretty, popular girl in high school.
Her cohort, Tennessee-born tomboy Leona “Binx” Walton, earned her moniker from her brothers, who growing up thought she resembled the alien amphibian Jar Jar Binks from the Star Wars franchise. Look who’s laughing now? The 20 year-old just designed her own capsule collection for Superga and is a favorite of designers such as JW Anderson and Alex Wang — she just walked in his final Balenciaga show.
Walton’s partner in crime is Lexi Boling, a gangly blond 24 year-old stunner who told Vogue Italia her best quality is “not caring about people.” Okay. You can see her laissez-faire attitude in her editorial shoots, like a recent one for Interview where Boling stares down the camera with a killer gaze. She doesn’t care what Kendall Jenner’s giant fan base thinks of her either. She and pal Walton were accused of bullying Kendall Jenner backstage at New York Fashion Week last February with nasty comments on Instagram. (She later apologized, but did she really mean it?)
The Calculating Queens of Reality TV: Kendall Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid
Half the fashion world is quietly cringing and the other half is gleefully cashing in on these social media titans — between the three girls, they have a whopping 45 million followers on Instagram.
What more is there to say about Kendall Jenner? The impossibly quiet half-sister to the yapping Kardashian sorority is now ensconced on the runway circuit (Marc Jacobs, Balmain), graces two current Vogue covers (Japan and Paris) and has momager, Kris, openly weeping at Kendall achieving her life long dream of becoming a model.
Her BFF Gigi Hadid is racking up fashion campaigns and magazine covers, while simultaneously swatting away the haters who have tried to body shame her. She might have been a little curvier then most of Oliver Rousteing’s skinny bitch brigade at the Balmain show, but that didn’t stop the French crowds from mobbing Hadid and beau Joe Jonas outside shows — not unlike Kimye a few seasons back. Then there’s her little sister Bella Hadid, who has made appearances at Marc Jacobs, Balmain, and Kayne’s Yeezy Season 2 spectacle. And when she’s not posing for selfies with T. Swift’s girl squad, she’s hanging out with her newly famous boyfriend The Weeknd.
The Blue Steel Knockouts: Joan Smalls, Doutzen Kroes, and Lily Donaldson
These supermodels don’t need to walk the runway anymore, but they make special appearances at the big shows for their famous friends including Ricardo Tisci and Oliver Rousteing. At the Balmain after party, this power girl trifecta was seen hanging with model-of-the-moment BFF Derek Blasberg.
Joan Smalls has come a long way since she was taken under the tatted wings of Givenchy’s Ricardo Tisci, who was initially struck by the native Puerto Rican’s gorgeous looks and her powerful queen bee-like walk. In 2011, Smalls became the first Latina to be the face of Estée Lauder. The company’s creative director Richard Ferretti explained, “The word supermodel is overused, but if there’s any woman of our generation who deserves the title, it’s Joan.” Enough said.
Her friend Doutzen Kroes may be 30 and a mother of two, but this Dutch beauty can catwalk circles around the reality TV girls. Kroes opened and closed Balmain’s show last week. Countless columns are devoted to the former Victoria Angel’s hourglass shape. (Gigi Hadid, take note.)
Like Kroes, Lily Donaldson, 28, has conquered the very insular world of high fashion as well as Victoria’s Secret Angeldom. After a horseback riding accident left her unable to walk in 2011, the Brit model came back with a vengeance and has become the queen of the catwalk. As long as she holds onto that lucrative Victoria’s Secret contract, she will keep her Regina George crown.