Born on the 18th of August 1988, Norwegian Siri Tollerod has translated global runway success into a career set to explode in 2011.
Siri was discovered at a shopping mall in 2007 and appeared in her first major editorial in June the same year. The client was Italian Vogue. Her high-flying start progressed into substantial campaign work, with Siri representing both DKNY and Prada Sport.
September’s runway season was Tollerod’s ultimate test: a model with hype is not a new phenomenon, the fashion industry is a tough crowd to please and reputations aren’t made until a model’s successfully negotiated Fashion Week. If a model can impress on the catwalk, she moves from being just one in a sea of new faces and becomes a bookable name. Getting signed by an agency often isn’t the toughest challenge for a model; it’s proving your worth as someone who can compete on a level with models who already have years of experience behind them.
Only a few months into her career, Siri’s first international season proved a triumph. Booking spots with Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Chloe, Marc Jacobs and Prada, she also opened and closed the D&G show and was the closing model for Lanvin. Appearing on runways in New York, Paris and Milan, Siri was a hit in any language.
Tollerod rounded out the year with editorials for British and Italian Vogue and a Chanel Couture spread for Numero. But Siri’s blockbuster season kept her fresh in the minds of the industry, and in early 2008, Tollerod appeared in Prada’s resort look-book.
Effectively a high-fashion catalogue for buyers and stylists, getting hired for a look-book is on a par with getting a campaign. Siri’s initiation in the world of high-fashion was completed in January when she walked in the couture season. Her slight frame was perfect for haute couture and she walked for Givenchy, Chanel and Valentino, at a point where her career was still being counted in months, not years.
February saw Siri open RTW shows for Jason Wu and Chanel, in addition to walking for 60 other designers. She also landed the cover of Italian Vogue Beauty – a coveted spot famously difficult to get. A good face that can handle tight beauty shots is one thing, but Italian Vogue doesn’t ask for good, it demands excellence. Siri’s ability to meet the toughest client’s demands was furthered by her appearance in March’s edition of Numero. Featuring in an editorial photographed by Karl Lagerfeld, this really was modelling at the sharp end.
In April, Tollerod was featured in www.models.com for her ability to accrue booking after booking. As if to prove the point, she appeared in April’s Russian Vogue, and British, Italian and Chinese Vogue in May. Just a year into her modelling career, Siri was making her presence felt on an international level.
Autumn 2008 saw Tollerod reach even higher, with a campaign for Alberta Ferretti (shot by Steven Meisel) and three separate editorials in September’s edition of Italian Vogue. 2009 was a flurry of editorial and runway work, including a campaign for a new fragrance from Valentino, but Siri’s next career high-point came in early 2010 when she hired by Max Mara diffusion label, Sportmax, to be the face of their new campaign.
The distinctive, unusual images were super-styled, edgy and unique, standing out in a year where the natural look reigned supreme. The quirky look, featuring Siri with pale-skin and bleached-hair, was so successful that Sportmax repeated the winning formula with Ginta Lapina for Autumn. The key to its success wasn’t hard to fathom: the sophisticated approach made the clothes the focus, and it worked, bolstering the label both in terms of image and sales.
Tollerod’s year continued on a high, with a Spring / Summer couture season walking for Armani Prive, Chanel, Dior and Valentino and a feature in Japanese Vogue a month later, dubbing her a top model.
February 2010 saw Siri’s runway career soar once again, with over 50 appearances, including closing spots for Sportmax, Badgley Mischka and YSL. With editorial work for V Man, Allure, Numero and French Vogue, Siri’s career highlight was yet to come. In the autumn, it was announced that she would appear in the next Miu Miu advert alongside Lindsey Wixson.
Miu Miu has a strongly-defined look at its core, with a bold, avant-garde signature style that has made it a must-have label for a whole generation of fashion-savvy girls. Modelling labels with such a strong identity brings its own set of challenges, as there’s always the possibility of being overwhelmed by the clothes. It’s true that the clothes should be the ultimate point of focus, but the most successful campaigns happen when there is a balance struck between the model and the clothes: when both are on top-form, the result is hard to resist. Siri brought what she had learned from Sportmax, and the Miu Miu campaign was pitch-perfect: high-fashion that met aspiration with approachability.
The shot of publicity worked: Tollerod enjoyed another 50-show season in September, appearing for names such as Balmain, Fendi, Chanel, Lanvin, Jason Wu, Nina Ricci, Sportmax and Versace. Siri had finally become part of the fashion modelling elite, a presence in every major show of Spring / Summer 2011, including Marc Jacobs’ effusion of 70’s colour and Jason Wu’s multi-cultural epic.
Tollerod’s ability to carry a label, proved since her signing with Prada Sport in 2007, came full circle when in November she appeared as the only model for Lanvin’s range formulated for high-street giant, H&M. Like Miu Miu, Lanvin has a strong sartorial identity and it takes a skilful model not be outperformed by the look. Siri was visibly at home in the high-fashion designs, and Lanvin’s high-street version of their trademark crumpled dresses went on to become a bestseller.
Working at the heart of the industry since the very beginning of her career, Siri Tollerod has been steadily rising through the ranks, and is this year on the verge of becoming fashion’s next big thing. Recognised from the start, Tollerod’s strength has always been her tendency to multi-discipline. A regular feature of runway, editorial and campaign work, Siri has worked at being consistently good. Her signings with Lanvin and Miu Miu indicate her level of ability, not just to model, but to carry a brand.
What Siri does best is inhabit every look she’s given like it’s a second skin. The common theme running throughout Siri’s photographic work is that, no matter how high-fashion the concept, nothing looks forced. Tollerod wears every look as if she had chosen it herself. If there’s only one note to making it in modelling, it’s just to love everything. Having favourite looks and designers is human, but to make it your business to find the joy in a brand that is a total remove from your own personal style - that’s called being a model.
Versatility isn’t just about being able to handle looks from the romantic to the avant-garde. It’s about putting on the clothes and becoming that person, whether it is for a few minutes on a runway or a whole day whilst shooting an editorial spread. Siri’s career stands for what can be achieved when you model from the inside out. Her popularity for runway alone flags up how easily she can move from the soft, ethereal romance of Marchesa into the ultimate high-fashion experience that is Alexander McQueen.
Her campaign work ranges from an early signing with Prada Sport to her latest booking, modelling for Max Mara Elegante. It’s the modern definition of a fashion chameleon; a model that not only does it all, but convinces completely in every frame.
Where Tollerod’s career goes from here will be the most exciting part of her journey. The bar has already been raised this year with her solo appearance for Max Mara, taking on and representing a mega-brand as the main attraction, not a support act. In 2011, expect to see Tollerod become increasingly visible in an industry where it’s all too easy to blend in. A long-time stand out on the runway, Siri is about to get her moment in the spotlight, because finally it’s her time.