model tracker

The Top Ten Models to Watch This Fashion Week

From left, Alice Gibb, Ali Stephens, Daul Kim.Photos: Imaxtree (Gibb, Stephens), Getty (Kim).

Natalia, Sasha, Jessica, Gemma — we all know the runways’ favorite girls. But every Fashion Week brings a crop of fresh faces. From a former cross-country star to the new face of Nina Ricci, here’s who will be dominating the New York catwalks this February.

1. Ali Stephens

At just 16, this former cross-country star from Utah already has major shows under her belt. After signing to Elite in September 2007, she hit the runways in Europe mere weeks later. She debuted at Prada (as an exclusive) in Milan, then proceeded to walk the top shows in Paris: Balenciaga, Chanel, and Givenchy. She also snagged Chloé spring campaign, her solo face replacing the Anja Rubik, Shalom Harlow, and Freja Beha triumvirate. And she’s nailed down the M Missoni and ck by Calvin Klein ads as well. Confirmed to walk in New York for the first time this February, the blue-eyed beauty has a good chance of being in Francisco Costa’s Calvin Klein lineup.

2. Adina Forizs

Though she’s still on IMG’s development board here in New York, Adina opened Prada’s spring show and got everyone’s attention. Previous Prada openers, like Daria Werbowy (spring 2004) and Sasha Pivovarova (fall 2005 and spring 2006), are now the industry’s top girls. November and December editorials, in French Vogue and Numéro respectively, have hinted at this Hungarian’s versatility. She’s also made her mark outside of ready-to-wear, modeling for Missoni’s pre-fall 2008 collection and debuting at Anne Valérie Hash spring 2008 couture. We fully expect to finally see her Stateside — the only question is who snags her first.

3. Karlie Kloss

This Teen Vogue favorite is currently featured on the cover alongside established American stars Chanel Iman and Ali Michael. A former ballerina with the legs to prove it, Karlie is also standing strong against Britain’s Model of the Year: She beat out Agyness Deyn in early 2008 as’s most-searched girl. Though she had a major spring showing — walking at Calvin, Valentino, and Gucci—working the fall collections should make her a household name.

4. Courtney Smerski

This Washingtonian is following in the footsteps of September’s breakthrough blondes Siri Tollerød and Toni Garrn. Last season she was booked with rising designers like Jenni Kayne and Chris Benz. But her career really took off after landing the Mario Sorrenti–photographed Nina Ricci spring 2008 campaign alongside Karlie Kloss. Expect her New York show schedule to be upgraded this time around.

5. Daul Kim

Kim’s already a star in her native country, South Korea, sharing the August 2007 Korean Vogue cover with Coco Rocha. She also appeared in Chinese Vogue in December 2007. And fashion ad watchers will also recognize her from last year’s fall Moschino campaign as well as H&M’s current spring prints. Already a burgeoning style icon off the runway — this novice painter was rocking thick bangs months before Kate Moss chopped her tresses — Kim’s on her way to being a runway icon as well. She’s scored Karl Lagerfeld’s blessing, having walked in every Chanel show since fall 2007.

6. Laura Blokhina

Gorgeous enough to score casting at Valentino’s finale show and to be featured in the pages of December’s French Vogue, Blokhina is set to debut on New York’s runways, fresh off her couture bookings in Paris (such as Anne Valérie Hash). But don’t pigeonhole her into just the top-shelf catwalks. She’s become a bit of a runway chameleon, walking for both street-chic Topshop and avant-garde Hussein Chalayan. With her long, light-brown hair and cutting cheekbones, this 17-year-old karaoke lover is a younger Freja Beha, pre-haircut.

7. Alice Gibb

For starters, Gibb opened Alexander McQueen’s stunning spring show. And though this freckled 16-year-old with a weakness for shopping didn’t walk many shows Stateside last season, the ones she did appear in were some of the best: Marc Jacobs, Rodarte, and Proenza Schouler. Photographed by Steven Meisel for Italian Vogue in October, Gibb also posed with fellow British favorites Lily Donaldson and Agyness Deyn for Burberry’s spring 2008 campaign, thus cementing this girl’s rising-star status.

8. Sheila Marquez

With one of fashion’s most disarming smiles, Marquez joins Marina Peres on the very small list of Spanish models working in high-fashion today. For a year now, the brunette has been attempting to keep her image under the radar with highly selective catwalk bookings. But with her face-flaunting Alessandro Dell’Acqua fall 2007 campaign and August’s Harper’s Bazaar spread, Marquez is moving into the spotlight.

9. Jourdan Dunn

In a season when most designers were passing over darker-skin models, elegant Dunn managed to book impressive spring shows like Hermès, Missoni, and Marc by Marc Jacobs. And she bagged a fall 2007 Benetton campaign, to boot. If any girl is going to end the stream of blank-faced blondes, it’s this British babe. In her third season walking, she’s got our attention.

10. Daria Strokous

To many fashionistas, there’s only one Daria — but this young Russian brunette is starting to nip at Werbowy’s Canadian heels. Bolstered by overseas bookings at Marni and Prada, Strokous had a notable pre-fall 2008 season in New York, walking at Narciso Rodriguez and Zac Posen. The long-haired beauty also modeled for Prada Sport’s spring 2008 look book, appearing alongside Meghan Collison (one of last year’s biggest hits). With that kind of momentum, Strokous should have a good February. —Kendall Herbst

Photos: Getty Images (Kim, Smersky); Imaxtree (remaining)

The Top Ten Models to Watch This Fashion Week