Born in Hungary on the 11th May 1988, Eniko Mihalik fuses European glamour with a bold, sensual approach that’s anything but old-hat.
Eniko’s career began in 2002 when she won the Hungarian round of the Elite Model Look contest, and came fourth in the International Elite Model Look contest. She debuted at Paris Fashion Week in July 2006 when she walked for the Chanel Couture show.
Her name became better known in January 2008 when she was nominated as Model of the Week by http://www.models.com/ – the Hungarian then took on Fashion Week and was selected to appear for Alberta Ferretti, Betsey Johnson, Blumarine, Diane Von Furstenberg, Elie Saab, Gucci and Marchesa. A clutch of labels with one thing in common: they were all ultra-feminine labels and Eniko’s unique look answered their purpose perfectly. A body that’s couture-ready but still retains curves is a rare find even in the modelling industry, and Eniko has proved that curves – whatever the fashion barometer’s showing – are always in demand.
Her editorial career took off at the same time, securing a 6-month exclusive contract with photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vindooh Matadin. Mihalik shot editorials for Italian Vogue in August and the cover of V in September. Also landing a contract with Gucci, Eniko appeared alongside Lily Donaldson and Abbey Lee as one of the new faces of the brand.
Following a successful runway season including appearances for Versace, Derek Lam, Thakoon, Jason Wu, Isabel Marant and Zac Posen, Eniko ended the year with two more editorials for Italian Vogue in October; shoots for French and Japanese Vogue in November; and further editorials for W and Japanese Vogue in December.
2009 started extremely well for Mihalik, with not only a shoot for the French Vogue calendar (shot by Terry Richardson) but a campaign for Italian luxury label Max Mara, photographed by Craig McDean.
Eniko scored a cover in January with i-D, appearing on the front page with a butterfly over one eye. Both striking and original, it was a brilliant summing up of Eniko’s quirky beauty and editorial appeal. With another editorial for Italian Vogue that same month plus an appearance at the couture shows, walking for both Givenchy and Valentino, Mihalik’s career was blossoming.
In February, Eniko landed her biggest show season to date, walking for 56 designers, including Alexander Wang, Balmain, Chanel, Diane Von Furstenberg, Isabel Marant, Marc Jacobs, Nicole Farhi and Stella McCartney. Her diverse list of runway credits carried through into print work, with Eniko working three editorials in one month. Appearing for W, French Vogue and Italian Vogue in April, Mihalik demonstrated the depth of her versatility. The French Vogue shoot, named ‘Noces de Diamants’ was a shoot requiring nudity (up to and including full-frontal), shot in black and white by Mario Sorrenti. Her work for W, an editorial called ‘Harvest’, was a collection centred on the eclectic folk trend. It was packed with colour and detail, and also shot by the same photographer. Google these shoots and you will find yourself doubting whether the models used in both editorials are the same person.
In May, Eniko got the cover of Japanese Vogue, and further editorials for Italian, Chinese, French and Japanese Vogue throughout the summer. Her work for V magazine in July included a beauty editorial and a fashion spread. Called ‘Forever Young’, the atmospheric shoot paid homage to film noir, and it was ideally matched to Eniko’s strengths. Whether projecting anguish or ennui, Mihalik was pitch-perfect in every photograph. In August, she appeared in three editorials (Italian, French and Chinese Vogue) whose subject matter ranged from Parisian Victor/Victoria chic to sculptural cutting-edge eveningwear.
In September 2009, Eniko’s runway cachet began to soar: not only was she appearing for names such as Balmain and Chanel, but she was also being booked by the best of the newcomers. Walking for Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou, Mihalik was securing her fashion future. The year ended on a surprising note: Eniko was asked to appear in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Like Chanel Iman, she was a high-fashion choice that raised some eyebrows, but her performance on the runway silenced critics: this was a high-fashion model not afraid to be just sultry, but downright sexy.
2010 has seen Eniko already score another high-profile campaign. Working with Liya Kebede, she will be the face of Kenzo. In February she appeared for Jill Stuart, Jason Wu and Carolina Herrera on the runway, but the main story of 2010 for Mihalik is an almost dizzying array of editorial work.
Starting with an editorial for Chinese Vogue in January, Eniko has appeared for Italian, French, Chinese Vogue and W in March; plus the cover of Hungarian Elle. She appeared in a provocative topless shoot for Purple Fashion with Constance Jablonski, Jamie Bochert and Emma Heming. Her coy side came out in a spread for Bon magazine, called ‘Too Shy to Convey’ and this August she has appeared in two shoots: the first for Numero, called ‘Sortilege’ (a Klimt-inspired, Art Nouveau shoot) and the second for Japanese Vogue. ‘Red Star’, shot by Camilla Akrans, is Eniko playing the siren card in ultra-glamorous couture gowns.
The thread running throughout Eniko’s career has been editorial. From the very start, Mihalik has distinguished herself as a model that will go the extra mile when committing to a frame. Her body type also lends itself to the more daring shoots as well as the straightforward fashion spreads which makes her a highly covetable signing for any magazine.
Eniko’s body of work is truly fashion made filmic. Look at any of her editorials, and the one thing they all have in common is they tell a story. The visual aspects of fashion (the shows, the magazine covers, the fashion spreads) are increasingly becoming the most lucrative form of currency the industry has. If the fashion industry’s trade is fantasy, then models like Eniko are doing their part in bringing that fantasy to life. Modelling is about more than striking a pose; it’s about making a visual connection and making it meaningful. Looking gorgeous on a cover is great, but if that cover doesn’t say something to the person thinking of buying that magazine, then it’s an opportunity lost.
Editorial work is one of the most challenging areas for a model to master simply because it requires the model to become someone else for the day, even if it’s well beyond their range of personal experience. Eniko has never been a neo-Goth, a lovelorn aristocrat or a footballer’s wife, but she embodied them all on film. Forget model turned actress, this is model as actress. There is no challenge too tough for the Hungarian, either. So far this year she has modelled for the Pirelli calendar, undertaken a 5-cover shoot for V and shot a multi-million pound jewellery editorial for British Vogue. Eniko’s ability to move from the toughest editorial demands to on-the-nail modelling for H&M is what marks her out as a true chameleon of the fashion world.
Along with models Raquel Zimmermann, Karlie Kloss and Magdalena Frackowiak, she understands that to be an editorial model today requires more than beauty: it requires something deeper, and the model that is prepared to take on those terms cannot be ordinary.
This is what separates high-end editorial work from mainstream. Clothes are there to be showcased, but being editorial is about more than being edgy or controversial. It’s about conveying mood, atmosphere and desire, in a way that’s both subtle and sublime. Eniko’s career puts paid to the theory that fashion is little more than skin deep: great fashion images are the point where fashion intersects with art and film, creating challenging, thought-provoking images that remind us that fashion is more than what is on the surface, it’s about what lies underneath.