Lifestyle

Saintly Power Play

Sunday, October 14, 2018

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It's worthy of note that Saint International models have dominated the runways. SO has tracked them from New York to London, to Milan and Paris. They've made us proud. Indeed, there's none prouder than the model agency's CEO Deiwght Peters. Fourteen of his models (including an absolute stunner from Martinique) strutted for over 66 of the most important runways. This past season over all the major runways in all the fashion capitals. Powering alongside icons like Kristen McMenamy at Valentino, Stella Tennant at Burberry, Liya Kibede at Calvin Klein, Karen Elson at Dolce & Gabbana and Alek Wek at Marc Jacobs — a glamorous debunk, if ever there was, of the persistent myth that the curtain closes on models after five seasons. If that's got you gobsmocked we're not yet done. Consider the astounding level of global exposure these shows received. Vogue has named the best 10 collections in Paris, and guess which models appeared in all? Plus, of the Best 10 Best Paris collections, four Saint models were featured in two, notably Balenciaga and Chanel. Face of Balenciaga's global campaign Kimali Morgan led the agency's trio including Naki Depass and Elecia Gordon. The trio was a part of the history-making 'Saint 8' (models) who rocked the runway for the Balenciaga Fall 2018 Collections on March 4. The regal Tami Williams registered her eye-popping and historic 18th Chanel runway moment.

In Vogue's Top 9 Collections from London Fashion Week, Naki Depass led the charge appearing on the runway for Christopher Kane and Burberry. For Milan's Top 7 picks Williams ruled supreme in Dolce and Gabbana alongside former French first lady and supermodel Carla Bruni.

 

Vogue's Stuning Exposure

American Vogue through its Voguerunway.com portal revealed that Saint International models appeared in half of the top 10 Most Viewed Collections from the entire show season (across all four fashion capitals).

10 Most-Viewed Collections for Spring/Summer 2019 on Vogue.com

(Featuring SAINT Models)

#1 Celine-Paris ( Christine Willis) ...... 6,831, 812 views

#2 Burberry-London (Naki Depass) ....... 5, 903,076 views

#3 Dolce & Gabbana (Tami Williams) ....... 5, 816,761 views

#4 Chanel-Paris (Tami Williams) .......... 5, 526, 661 views

#9 Calvin Klein-New York (Tevin Steele) ........ 3,039,652 views

 

That's a mind-blowing total of 27,117,962 views. Yes, #earthshattering.

Other highlights included Naki Depass making her sixth turn for Britain's heritage luxury brand Burberry, the same brand that started her career with a world exclusive debut three years ago. The piece de resistance of the Saint camp was its Top 50 (only Jamaican model so ranked by Models.com) supermodel Tami Williams, making a record 18th appearance for the Karl Lagerfeld-helmed Chanel. Another outstanding moment certainly was our beloved coconut vendor-cum-top model Tevin Steele who made the glorious trek to the coveted and super-selective Calvin Klein runways (a power brand with a long-running love affair with Saint models —think: Shena Moulton, Kai Newman, Brad Allen, Tami Williams (who was the first black model since Iman in 1982 to appear for the brand's Collections line).

A perfect time, SO reckons, to exhale with our Rock belles.

 

Aurelie Giraud

Style Observer (SO) This was your very first London Fashion Week (LFW) as a Saint International model, having worked in Paris previously. What stood out for you most?

AG: Well, there's not much difference between the two. London welcomed me as Paris has done and I feel the same enthusiasm and happiness from my new agency. I will say that the language can be a challenge as sometimes it can be hard to communicate with people. Fortunately, everything went well. I did three cool shows. It's the beginning of my adventure and I intend to give it my best shot and have a good career.

 

Elecia Gordon (EG)

SO: You made your Milan Fashion Week (MFW) debut last month with two looks at the Emporio Armani show held at a hangar. How was it doing a runway show at such a location and what moment there was your favourite?

EG: It was a fantastic experience as we had to have our passport or ID to enter the airport as if we were actually taking a flight! Then there were so many great models. I got to walk with my Saint sister Naki Depass (my favourite part) and I had two great looks. I am so happy! I also did an Armani-themed editorial before the show.

 

Christine Willis (CW)

SO: In your first season, you walked exclusively for Balenciaga and then did a lot of image work with that French brand and then you were a part of the most watched/anticipated show of the season: Celine Paris. Not a bad start...

CW: So many models wanted to do this show. A lot of agencies pushed for their girls to be on the show. When I went to the casting, I was so excited and I remember DP saying to me 'GO ROCK IT! And when I heard I confirmed it I screamed. The show was simply amazing! So many celebrities were there. The energy was insane. I love Hedi Slimane (the new designer for Celine).The next day so many girls were saying they saw me on the show and were so happy for me.

 

Shaun Holder (SH)

SO: As a fashion globe trotter, what were the three can't-do-without things with you on casting and show days?

SH: I know you said three but I literally can't do without all of these items...

 

1. Hydrating Milky Mist from Pixi Beauty UK. It keeps my face super-fresh, glowing and moist throughout the day.

 

2. Carmex Lip Balm to keep my lips moist, glossy and blister-free

 

3. Hand sanitiser. I like to make sure my hands are clean in case I have to touch my face as it's super-sensitive, especially when taking public transport.

 

4. Headphones I like to listen to favourite songs/music on my journey to keep my energy up and also to keep my mind clear of negative thoughts.

 

5. My little notebook.

 

6. My charger is a must!

 

7 Fruits, light snacks and water.

 

Tevin Steele (TS)

 

Style Observer (SO): You made your international modelling debut as an exclusive model for Saint Laurent (Paris) in February 2017, and just last month, walked exclusively for Calvin Klein. What was memorable about Calvin Klein?

 

Tevin Steele (TS): I am still smiling because I consider myself very blessed. For some time Pops [Deiwght Peters] said he saw me walking for Calvin Klein, and I just always kept the faith and prayed. I had missed the casting, and when I told Deiwght, he was disappointed, saying Calvin Klein was the main casting he wanted me to book that day. My agency arranged for me to see the casting director again. When I got confirmed I never told anyone, I wanted to surprise everyone – especially Deiwght. I am so grateful and happy. I saw so many big-time celebrities backstage. The energy was up! I love how my career is developing. I just keep praying and remaining humble. I am loving the chance to travel the world. I can't wait to go to Milan next!

 

Tami Williams (TW)

Style Observer (SO): It's #18...walking for Chanel. Is it always great doing the collections created by Karl Lagerfeld and how was the beach setting (complete with sand and waves) at the Grand Palais Champs-Élysées, where the show was held?

 

Tami Williams (TW): Yes, my 18th time walking for the brand. I am very honoured to be chosen to be a part of almost every show since I started working with Chanel. I always tell people Karl Lagerfeld and the entire Chanel team never cease to amaze me, season after season, with their brilliant ideas and collections. I loved everything about the Spring/Summer 2019 show that was held inside the Grand Palais. It was unforgettable and was like a fairytale. We could hear the sound of the waves as they washed along the seashore. It reminded me so much of Jamaica and took me back to the days of walking in the sand along the Hellshire beach. Being a part of the show will forever be a memorable moment in my career and I will always be grateful.

 

Barbra-Lee Grant (BG)

 

Style Observer (SO): You are now based in New York and did phenomenally well at NYFW walking for 10 designers. What was that experience like ?

 

Barbra-Lee Grant (BLG): They were walks of a lifetime and certainly phenomenal. For this fashion week I wanted to change it up with Deiwght's go-ahead, of course. So I went back to the afro. You know I never wore my afro in NYC so going to castings all the clients were in love and it was heartfelt so I continued wearing it to every casting. The afro is my signature style and I brought it back. The result — 10 shows in the Big Apple!

 

SO: You were far from an overnight success story and it took years before you got your break — an epic one, to boot — in February 2016 when Deiwght Peters booked you as an exclusive for Alexander McQueen. What kept you motivated?

 

BLG: My desire to get there, along with my family supporting me throughout the journey, kept me going. I knew that it would come; it was just a matter of when. I also knew that I had to be prepared for it. Attending DP's Saturday grooming sessions and listening to his lectures about the do's and don'ts encouraged me to be super-smart about every decision made in the industry.

 

SO: Of all the editorials you've done, which was the most memorable and why?

 

BLG: My most memorable shoot was working with Gabriella Johnson, stylist director for Garage Magazine. The shoot took place in New Jersey with Erika Belle who was one of Madonna's dancers for years. Both ladies and the team were incredibly fun, and it was an exciting day.

 

Naki Depass

 

Style Observer (SO): You made your international modelling debut two years ago booked exclusively by Deiwght Peters for Burberry's Fall/Winter 2016 show. This season marked the sixth time you walked for Burberry at London Fashion Week, and you reconnected with the label's new creative director and designer Riccardo Tisci, with whom you also worked in your first season when he was at Givenchy. How was the reunion?

 

Naki Depass (ND): I was certainly elated to be able to work with Riccardo Tisci once more. His Burberry debut was amazing, and it was a pleasure to be a part of his creativity and vision. He is, of course, a very talented designer who I would love to continue working with in the future.

 

SO: The spring/summer 2019 fashion month was pretty stellar for you with seven shows in Paris, six in Milan and four in London. Is there any city, in particular, that gets your adrenaline pumping, and why?

 

ND: Paris is where I get most excited because I've done a lot of work in Paris for every season since I started, and I always look forward to walking for Balenciaga – one of my favourite labels. Also, Paris marks the end of the fashion month, and my goal is to end with a bang.

 

SO: In addition to international modelling, you're presently a final-year accounting major at The University of the West Indies, Mona. What are your post-university plans for your modelling career?

 

ND: I am very blessed that I can use money from modelling to advance my modelling career. I am especially grateful for the support from Deiwght [Peters] as he ensured all I needed for school was provided for and he encouraged me to stay focused on my career. I always laugh to myself about the time he first discovered me, and I told him I wasn't interested, and he laughed at me and said “Of course you are. I am going to make you a star!” LOL.

After university, I plan to continue modelling full-time and get advice for obtaining my ACCA.

 

SO: You've hit the runway for hundreds of designers within the past two years. What are some of your favourite memories from your model journey thus far?

 

ND: Getting the opportunity to work with some of the designer brands I only saw in fashion magazines. This journey – especially with Saint International and Deiwght Peters – has taught me to believe that whatever you dream of can be a reality. My first season was perhaps my favourite, when I walked for Burberry exclusively, starting my career. Then Prada in Milan, and Givenchy and Céline in Paris. Being named among the top 10 newcomers in the world of fashion was special. Having Deiwght along that journey and seeing him actually craft this whole career with my agencies in Milan and Paris is unforgettable. Getting the chance to visit countries such as China and Kenya for various projects was quite an amazing personal experience, too.

 

Romaine Dixon

 

Style Observer (SO): Having debuted in Paris at Valentino and Christian Dior in June, your September season kicked off with the much-anticipated Tom Ford Spring/Summer 2019 show, and you were the only new face among the models casted. What was it like having that honour, and experiencing the show for the first time?

 

Romaine Dixon (RD): I have to say the experience was quite unreal. Having this opportunity this early in my career is nothing less than phenomenal. I did not attend the pre-casting for the show, so, when I got to the venue and saw all the other models getting fitted, I honestly thought I was in the wrong place. Then, I saw Mr Ford and my initial doubt subsided.

The show experience was just out of this world, from Ford's motivational speech before the show to the amazing collection, and to see all the celebrities – being the only new face among an all star cast was just humbling.

 

 

Jonny Brown

 

Style Observer (SO): So, three incredible shows at NYFW: Matthew Adams Dolan, John Elliott and Prabal Gurung. What do you like about working in New York compared to Europe?

 

Jonny Brown (JB): It's two different markets and two different vibes. I love New York for its relaxed mood. Europe has its own excitement, especially during fashion week. So, I do love working in both cities – no special preferences.

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