Saturday, July 19, 2008

searching for hilary rhoda

I remember when Hilary Rhoda first exploded onto the modeling scene. Equal parts prep school beauty, 90's supermodel throwback and raven-haired vixen, she was a welcome alternative to the sea interchangeable Eastern European waifs. She was the girl that the modeling industry had been aching for. It was her cover for the August 2006 issue of Vogue Paris that had me rejoicing for someone so fresh, strong and sexy. I was thrilled when she signed with Estée Lauder, certain that such a lucrative cosmetics contract would secure her future as a face to be reckoned with. But then something changed. Estée Lauder ads have to be accessible enough to please a wide audience, so it wasn't surprising to see Rhoda looking pretty, but quite tame and conservative in her spots for the company. However, I'd hoped she'd balance such a safe campaign by taking risks elsewhere. But as the fall ad campaigns have rolled out, I've only seen her working the grown-up ladylike fashions of St. John (though, to be fair, she still looks very alluring). But St. John? Really? At age 19 this girl was starring in the Spring 2006 Balenciaga campaign and making love to the camera on the cover of French Vogue! What happened? I don't know if it was her decision to work less after the Estée Lauder contract or if the offers have simply decreased, but I miss the spitfire Rhoda that had me lamenting that I'd been born a blonde with wimpy eyebrows.

Hilary for Balenciaga Spring 2006

getting physical with Gemma Ward and Julia Stegner for Vogue Italia in June 2006

looking gorgeous, but quite conservative for the new St. John campaign

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