Wednesday, 28 August 2013


Recently, there has been a surge in the popularity of supermodels - icons from the 90s are beginning to resurface as designers and magazines are looking for experience as opposed to youth. I have been fighting the urge to write about Devon Aoki for a while now, but with such a huge emphasis currently being placed on the women themselves as opposed to the clothing, I felt the time was right to feature a woman that has served as a muse for so many iconic avant-garde designers. 
Devon Aoki in Alexander McQueen, by Nick Knight

Born to a Japanese father and an American mother in New York City, Aoki is blessed with a unique combination of Eastern and Western proportions that made her both unique enough to gain popularity amongst the avant-garde and classically beautiful enough to appeal to a mainstream audience. Aoki has walked for, amongst others, Hussein Chalayan, Issey Miyake, Thierry Mugler and was even afforded the honour of walking the runway with fashion royalty, Karl Lagerfeld - she inspired Karl so much that she was temporarily his muse, closing his Chanel Couture S/S 2001 show as well as being featured in several ad campaigns for the luxury house.
Devon Aoki for Givenchy by Alexander McQueen
Chanel Couture, Spring 2001
Aoki was iconic in the sense that she managed to single-handedly break perceptions of the fashion industry. At only 5ft 4 inches she was dismissed by many as too short to be a runway model, yet her attitude and unique look saw her become extremely successful on the runway. Her look is also extremely versatile - she can go from unconventionally beautiful to traditionally stunning within seconds, and it is this versatility that has seen her photographed by everybody from Juergen Teller and Nick Knight through to Ellen Von Unwerth and Paolo Roversi. 
Photographed by Paolo Roversi for Numéro, 1999
Photographed by Juergen Teller for Vogue Russia
Since Devon retired, becoming an actress and swapping the catwalk for domestic bliss (Aoki is now married with a child), Asian models have become more prominent and more present in the fashion industry than ever before. Women such as Soo Joo, Liu Wen, Xiao Wen Ju and Sui He are now ubiquitous - a refreshing reminder that beauty is no longer defined by race, skin colour or culture. The world of fashion now has a new landscape, but it is a landscape that was defined by the unique beauty and star quality of Devon Aoki. 
by Inez & Vinoodh, for Self Service

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