Sunday, 11 December 2011


Born on Christmas Eve 1994, Dutch model Daphne Groeneveld has gone from niche phenomena to a model with massive global appeal.

Signing with Women Management in 2010, she was featured by in January as a face to watch. The following month, she debuted at Fashion Week, walking in shows for Versus, Giorgio Armani and Hogan.

Her modest runway debut started a catalyst effect with Daphne scoring one of the most coveted campaigns in the business. She signed up to appear in the Spring / Summer campaign for Miu Miu, modelling with Siri Tollerod, Lindsey Wixson and Ginta Lapina.

The campaign proved to be one of the brand’s strongest images, moving away from recent celebrity endorsement to undiluted retro cool. Looking back as much as it looks ahead, Miu Miu is the leader of the pack when it comes to producing strong diffusion ranges. Building its own identity independent of its mother brand, Prada, Miu Miu has led the way in thinking about diffusion ranges not as a lucrative add-on, but a range in its own right. The brand’s decision in 2010 to hire two relatively unknown faces (Wixson and Groeneveld) was a stunning coup. Daphne’s self-assured performance in the campaign led to a flurry of high-profile work including a spot in the Givenchy Couture show.

Her second ready-to-wear season in September saw Daphne score opening spots with Calvin Klein and Max Mara, also closing the show for Marni. Walking for Bottega Veneta, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Jil Sander, Prada and Versace, her appearance at the Prada show caused a stir. Appearing in the heady swirls and stripes collection, this was a year after a slew of Dutch models including Mirte Maas and Lisanne di Jong became a media sensation in cropped jackets low-slung ponytails. Daphne, along with Prada newbies Zuzanna Bijoch and Arizona Muse, made a similar impression modelling a collection that combined Josephine Baker waves with brothel creepers. Prada has a reputation for finding original talent to match its original designs – for two years running, it scored big.

September also saw Daphne appear in her first major editorial. Booked by French Vogue, her debut with the magazine was not altogether surprising. A publication that actively champions ‘new’ faces in every sense of the word, it has helped boost careers of models such as Isabeli Fontana and Lara Stone.

The following month saw Daphne do duty for French Vogue again, this time working with Mariacarla Boscono, Crystal Renn and Freja Beha Erichsen. ‘Bal Masque’ was S&M inspired, but high-fashion generated. Daring and original, Daphne was already performing at the very highest levels of editorial. The year ended with a resounding vote of confidence from French Vogue, as she joined designer Tom Ford on December’s cover.

Moving to Supreme Management in early 2011, Daphne returned to Paris in January, walking in couture shows for Dior and Valentino. She also returned to the pages of French Vogue, featuring in their Spring. / Summer preview. Photographed by Mario Sorrenti, Daphne wore a large string of daisies around her head. It was to be a high-fashion image that inspired copies across the high-street, culminating in flowery headbands becoming the accessory of choice for festival-goers.

She hit the ready-to-wear runway in February with a 40-show season including opening honours for Calvin Klein, Herve Leger, Jason Wu and Rick Owens. Adding Chanel, Chloe, Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford to her catwalk credits, Daphne’s avant-garde look was translating across the board.

Daphne undertook another modelling rite of passage in April, when she appeared in Italian Vogue for the first time. ‘Personal Best’ was an editorial photographed by Steven Meisel, and celebrated off-beauties in a series of simple but quirky portraits. Daphne worked with Kristina Salinovic, and then solo for a Vermeer-inspired photo, plus a stunning transformation into a red-headed 60’s party girl. It was a perfect marriage of old-school technique and new generation styling – quintessential Italian Vogue.

Undertaking her second Italian Vogue editorial in September, Daphne experienced her biggest RTW season to date with 42 shows. Her runway work lead to more campaign signings, this time Daphne appeared in the Autumn / Winter ad for Louis Vuitton. Working with Zuzanna Bijoch, Fei Fei Sun and Anais Pouliot, this advert saw Vuitton become a lone voice for the military look this winter. But the message of the campaign was all in the detail: texture, texture, texture.

Also appearing in the Versace for H&M campaign and runway show, November saw Daphne in great demand. Appearing on the cover of V with Saskia de Brauw, she also appeared in two major editorials within the same issue.

The magazine profiled Daphne’s agency, Supreme Management. Featuring Daphne’s stable mates (including Iris Egbers, Jacquelyn Jablonski and Sessilee Lopez), Supreme is an agency that thrives on the thrill of the new. Part of an agency’s remit to scout talent that not only caters to what’s happening now, but to find faces that will hit a nerve. Supreme pre-empted new glamour, bringing in Jacquelyn and Daphne joins a new generation of ambiguous, highly individual faces that could never be described as middle-of-the-road.

Daphne’s ready affiliation with labels such as Miu Miu, Givenchy and Versace indicates that her comfort zone is with designers that live for change. Miuccia Prada routinely switches things up at Miu Miu; while Riccardo Tisci has transformed Givenchy Couture into a 21st century powerhouse. Donatella’s vision for Versace has evolved from socialite glamazon to fashion for the people, with her highly successful collaboration with H&M.

No label stays the same, but these three are particularly good examples of how a design philosophy can alter and how important it is to have models who can go with the flow. Already in her career, Daphne has moved from quirky Italian retro to Parisian haute couture. Her unusual face should make her strictly an editorial girl, but Daphne’s latest campaign for Spring / Summer 2012 will prove that she is no-one's safe bet.

One of her last assignments for 2011 has been a portrait shoot for V. Featuring with other new faces, Daphne took her place alongside Ruby Aldridge, Emily Baker and Charlotte Free, refuting the old idea of the ‘one size fits all’ model. All defiantly different, these models escape definition but harness all disciplines of the fashion industry. It speaks of a wider trend moving away from groups of models (such as the wave of Eastern-European talent or the fresh batch of American girls) and into a place where individuals come forward to create a modelling landscape that’s unique as it is hard to predict. With fashion making big changes, it’s only fair to expect modelling to follow the same pattern.

The models beginning to emerge as potential stars of 2012, such as Codie Young and Frida Aasen, are faces that are suggestive of strength in editorial and the top layers of ready-to-wear, but they could just as easily surprise us and become campaign stars with the very biggest names in fashion.

As if to prove the point, Daphne’s first assignment of the New Year will be her most unexpected move yet. Featuring as the face of Calvin Klein’s new fragrance, Sheer Beauty, Daphne’s campaign photo has already been shown online. The image is startlingly romantic, ethereal and modern. Almost unrecognisable from her earlier avant-garde persona, Daphne transforms here to become the absolute Calvin Klein girl.

With this major campaign, Daphne prepares to enter the mainstream, making the transition from edgy fashion girl to an on-the-rise model, equipped with a bag of tricks honed from working on the world’s best runways and appearing in some of the world’s top fashion magazines. The campaign is a resounding counter to anyone who doubted Daphne’s ability to cross-over into more commercial projects. With the perfume’s launch in January 2012, this campaign is set to make Daphne an international name.

Celebrating her second year in modelling next February, Daphne’s career, like her look, will continue to be anything but ordinary.


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