Sunday, 10 July 2011


Born on the 4th of September 1987, Belarus-native Maryna Linchuk is one of fashion’s best kept secrets.

Signing up with DNA Models in 2006, Maryna got her first editorial that September with Harper’s Bazaar. A quick starter, Maryna also made her runway breakthrough, walking for designers such as Catherine Malandrino, D&G, Elie Saab, Givenchy, Marchesa and Versace.

Shooting her first Vogue cover in November, Linchuk’s unstoppable progress continued with runway bookings for couture shows in January 2007, walking for both Givenchy and Valentino. Maryna experienced another career high the same month with an Italian Vogue editorial, photographed by Steven Meisel.

In September, Maryna got to open and close the ready-to-wear show for Helmut Lang, appearing in 43 shows overall. Finishing the year with another appearance in Italian Vogue, Maryna’s groundwork resulted in a seriously impressive pay-day. In early 2008, she was signed to front five campaigns, including Belstaff and Mulberry.

In April 2008, Maryna got the backing of French Vogue when they featured her as a top model. French Vogue is particularly good at supporting modelling talent, with Isabeli Fontana and Lara Stone among their favourites. Every Vogue has its own in-house style: Italian Vogue highlights the boldest and newest design influences; American Vogue channels classic elegance and sporty silhouettes, and Russian Vogue favours old-Hollywood style glitz and glamour. Where French Vogue has laid down its colours is in making daring, atmospheric editorials that reference their proud cinematic history. Skim through its pages and you’ll see every French master represented, from Jean-Luc Godard to Francois Truffaut.

This type of work requires a very special kind of model to bring the ideas to life. Striking the right tone is everything, and this takes serious skill. French Vogue needs models who can take a performance down to the finest detail, and Maryna’s instincts, already tested by some of the toughest in the business, were already proving to be world-class.

Following a summer of editorial work for American Vogue, Maryna was again profiled as a top model, this time by Russian Vogue. At this point in her career, Linchuk was still a relatively unknown name, but the support she was getting from fashion’s most prolific magazines was showing the industry at large that she was a talent not to be underestimated.

In September 2008, Maryna filled her runway CV with names such as Alexander Wang, Gucci, Derek Lam, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Rag & Bone, Stella McCartney and YSL. Her continued success on the runway got the attention of casting agents looking for a new face to front a campaign ad. Linchuk was signed to represent Christian Dior’s fragrance ‘Miss Dior Cherie’. Launched in 2005, the perfume was intended to be an accompaniment to Dior’s iconic ‘Miss Dior’ perfume, introduced in 1947.

Maryna’s signing saw a new approach to the marketing of Dior Cherie. Hiring director Sofia Coppola fresh from her historical biopic ‘Marie Antoinette’, the film presenting Dior Cherie was a heady confection of girlish sophistication and sorbet shades with Brigitte Bardot on soundtrack. With Maryna modelling a ruffled, cerise gown from the couture vaults, the advert is a master-class in bridging old-world sophistication with modern joie de vivre, and it made the perfume an immediate hit.

Maryna’s year just kept getting better, being approached to appear in the annual Victoria’s Secret show. Victoria’s Secret offers the ultimate challenge to models used to the world’s biggest runways. Getting that ready mix of fun and sex appeal is the very reason why the brand has become such a huge name in the States. Maryna’s ability to be at ease in such a new environment made her an instant favourite, being re-booked for both 2009 and 2010.

Adding Armani Prive to her couture CV in July 2009, Maryna made it onto the pages of American Vogue in November, appearing in ‘After Hours: Fashion’s Big Night Out’. Shot by Patrick Demarchelier, it was an extraordinary roll-call of fashion’s brightest modelling talent. From Alek Wek to Raquel Zimmermann, every model of note was featured, and that included Maryna.

Beginning 2010, Linchuk signed up to take part in another couture show for Dior. This time, the theme was equestrian chic. With riding crops and lace veils, the show made headlines, not only for its dressage theme but the way it put couture firmly back in the saddle. One year on, despite all the gloomy predictions for its future, haute couture still thrives, thanks to a new customer base, with serious money to spend.

Maryna also got the chance to work in untried territory, when picked to model for Derek Lam’s A/W campaign. Only a year into producing campaigns, Lam didn’t have the luxury of a huge back-catalogue of images to fall back on. For example, we all get the Prada ‘message’: eclectic, quirky and cerebral. Making a new set of images, creating that message from scratch, is a huge responsibility, not least for the model. Get the tone wrong, and the campaign will struggle to make a connection with the public. Maryna’s success in making Dior Cherie such a huge hit has made her significantly viable in terms of fronting campaigns.

Finishing off the year with a cover for Turkish Vogue, Maryna returned in January 2011 with another cover for German Vogue. Maryna, head-to-toe in pink, feathered couture is hard to miss. The choice of colour is unlikely to be a coincidence as her long association with Dior Cherie has made her a high-fashion purveyor of pink, a shade that’s been reclaimed by the industry after years in the fashion wilderness. Its revival, at Burberry and Chanel Couture for A/W 2011, allows it to take centre stage in a season that will be awash with colour. Pink – in its vibrant, punchy guise – has been given a second chance to wow the fashion crowd, and its charm offensive looks to be paying off. Some might argue whether pink has ever really gone away, but this type of pink is an entirely different animal. Brave and bold – it’s pink with attitude.

Linchuk has begun 2011 returning as a face for Dolce and Gabbana. Taking her lessons from French Vogue, Maryna manages the Italian cinematic style effortlessly. Filling the early part of the year with work from Russian and German Vogue, Maryna returns this autumn to reprise her role for Dolce & Gabbana. Working this year’s big theme of texture – in every possible variation – she features alongside Isabeli Fontana, Liu Wen, Constance Jablonski and Jac.

Already tipped to be one of the big hitters of the A/W season, Maryna’s link with Dolce & Gabbana is already poised to be an association that will reap major rewards as the year continues. Her success boils down to the fact that she is the type of model the industry loves: high-street, sportswear, lingerie, RTW, couture – there’s no aspect of the fashion industry Linchuk’s career hasn’t covered.

The recognition of Maryna’s hard work – the covers, the high-status campaigns – are just fashion’s way of acknowledging what designers have known all along. Maryna has outrun the trend for Russian / Eastern-European models to become fashion’s ‘everywoman’. Her appeal has transcended passing fads to create a career that is truly global. From Dior and Dolce in Europe, to winning over the Americans on the Victoria’s Secret runway; Maryna has become expert in making herself a must-hire all across the world.

As we move into a new decade, not only has the pace of growth changed, but where that cash is being spent. In 2005, Russia’s contribution to the fashion industry was in supplying new faces: Natasha Poly, Sasha Pivovarova, Natalia Vodianova to name just three. But the balance has shifted to find Russia supplying fashion with some of its most loyal and high-spending consumers, and Russian Vogue joins Italy, France, America and Britain to become one of the most important publications in fashion today.

Those who are spending are choosing to spend big. The exuberance of colour and detail on this season’s runways is more than a collective sigh of relief: a label being thankful they have survived the worst of the storm. The details tell a bigger picture of an industry heading into new territory: geographically, financially and creatively. By becoming more inclusive, the fashion industry is opening itself up to new influences, creating a message that’s truly exciting.

Where Maryna slots into this is her wealth of experience in working in fashion’s new territories such as Russia, China and Japan. Her skills honed at editorial level makes her not only a valuable asset right now, but her profile will grow and develop, making her a name to watch. To be a good translator, you need to speak the language and Maryna’s familiarity with all things fashion has made her effortlessly fluent. Maryna’s triumph in being able to translate into every market makes her a truly modern model.


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