model tracker

The Freshman Class: Meet the New Girls of the Season

Every show season a new crop of fresh young faces takes a stab at ruling the runway, but only a handful will ever become known. We pored over every model card, stacks of magazine spreads, and clicked through resort shows to find the budding stars of spring 2009. Learn their names now; you’ll be seeing them all Fashion Week.

Arlenis Sosa (Marilyn)

This Dominican is the face to watch. Just two weeks after signing with Marilyn Agency in March, she shot for both Vogue and Italian Vogue (with Norman Jean Roy and Steven Meisel, respectively). She also showed up at the Met gala hand in hand with Oscar de la Renta, who later snagged Sosa for his resort show. She’s also rumored to become the new face of Lancôme.

Prediction: She’ll keep the upscale Americana look going by landing on the classic runways of Carolina Herrera and Ralph Lauren.

Eniko Mihalik (Marilyn)
Influential Dutch photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin requested this Hungarian’s jutting cheekbones for Gucci’s fall ad campaign with Lily Donaldson, then used her again for Self Service and French Vogue. And during the resort-show season, casting agents fell in love with her, too: Mihalik walked for Bottega Veneta, Prada, and Stella McCartney.

Prediction: She’ll keep to cool yet editorially favored shows like Yigal Azrouël and Rodarte.

Vika Kuropyatnikova (Supreme)
The five-foot-ten Ukrainian with a 24-inch waist had the best resort season of any model this year. She walked for Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Monique Lhuiller, and Marc Jacobs, among others. She made an appearance at Anne Valérie Hash’s couture show alongside more established faces like Irina Lazareanu and Diana Dondoe. And her big doe eyes have lit up in spreads for French Revue de Modes and Italian Amica.

Prediction: She’s got an in with major designers. Expect her back at Marc Jacobs and Monique.

Sessilee Lopez (Major)
This Philadelphia native has been modeling since 2004, but it took Italian Vogue’s recent all-black issue to thrust her into the spotlight. She killed it at Givenchy a month later. Surely her refined, elegant look will transcend any dubious diversity trend.

Prediction: Elegant American sportswear is calling! Michael Kors and Derek Lam probably have dibs on her.

Liu Wen (Marilyn)
After Wen walked Lagerfeld and Gaultier’s shows this past February, Lagerfeld requested her for his resort show in Miami, while Gaultier demanded she walk his menswear show in Paris. We’ve already seen her tremendous versatility in her editorials (where she was once styled as Lagerfeld himself for a Chinese Cosmopolitan spread). We’ll no longer be deprived of her presence Stateside, when she will walk her very first New York Fashion Week.

Prediction: She’s a shoo-in for cool kid Alexander Wang and queen of the runways Diane Von Furstenberg.

Viktoriya Sasonkina (Women)
Ukraine’s next hot export has already been featured in editorials for W and Japanese Numéro. And Calvin Klein’s fall ad campaign put her into modeling’s elite crowd.

Prediction: Calvin, of course!

Lakshmi Menon (Ford)
Even after replacing Daria Werbowy as the face of Hermès this spring, Menon failed to take off in New York last season. But in Europe, she opened Givenchy’s fall couture show in July. Ricardo Tisci then selected her to star in Givenchy’s fall ad campaign. At 27 years old, she’s the perfect reminder that not all models are starving, prepubescent girls from Russia.

Prediction: Vera Wang and Peter Som

Sarah Stephens (Next)
Discovered in the same Australian model contest as Catherine McNeil and Abbey Lee, the pouty Aussie Sarah Stephens has a lot to live up to. But she’s appeared in the August issue of Numéro, shot by Greg Kadel, and modeled for some very choice resort shows like Carlos Miele and Lanvin. And she broke into Italian Vogue’s tough casting bubble for the upcoming October issue. Not bad for a self-proclaimed high-school band geek.

Prediction: At editors’ favorites Alexander Wang and Zero Maria Cornejo.

Heloise Guerin (Women)
French beauty Heloise Guerin’s curly locks and cute, chipmunk cheeks have given her an in with the baby-doll look. In her first runway season, she walked for Isaac Mizrahi and 3.1 phillip lim. This time around, we predict more designers will get onboard since Guerin is Blugirl by Blumarine’s latest face. That was one of Aggy’s very first campaigns — and just look what happened to her.

Prediction: BCBG Max Azria and Phillip again

Pernille Moeller (IMG)
Pernille Moeller is our wild-card pick. Hailing from Denmark, a country that produced quality models like Freja Beha and Mathias Lauridsen, 18-year-old Moeller is as new as they get. Sure, she hasn’t walked in a single show yet, but she booked the September cover of Dazed & Confused. And casting directors are buzzing about her. Not bad considering IMG just signed her a few months ago.

Prediction: Does Calvin already have her on lockdown?

More in our Spring 2009 Fashion Week Preview:
The Fug Girls Answer Your Fashion Week Questions
Word Up: The One-Word Inspiration Behind the Collections
Fashion Week’s Greatest Moments
Designers to Watch: Joanne Cordero Reyes
Designers to Watch: Jen Kao
Designers to Watch: Miguel Adrover
Designers to Watch: Frank Tell
Designers to Watch: Abigail Lorick
Spring 2009 Fashion Week Party Guide

The Freshman Class: Meet the New Girls of the Season