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Ten New Models Who Conquered Fall 2012’s Runways

Photo: Courtesy of Marilyn

Before Karlie Kloss became ZOMG!!! Karlie Kloss, she was just like any rookie model fighting for her spot on the runway. But in the bunches of new faces that flood the market season after season, only a few will go on in hopes of becoming … the next Karlie Kloss (and here you thought we were going to say America’s Next Top Model, didn’t you?). So of all the newbies who hit the scene this month, which ones should you care about? For starters, DNA Models’ Vanessa Axente must be on your radar — the Hungarian 16-year-old opened for Prada, Céline, and Valentino in her debut season and she’s reportedly bagged a prestigious fall campaign. Then there’s Danish beauty Nadja Bender, who booked Alexander Wang stateside and went on to schedule a slew of shows overseas. Finally, not one, but two Chinese models — Tian Yi and Lina Zhang — found their footing during their sophomore seasons. Click ahead to meet these ladies and more.

Nadja Bender (New York Models)

Casting director Anita Bitton gave 22-year-old Nadja Bender her seal of approval when the Danish model opened for Alexander Wang, which then translated into a very polished show list overseas: Versace, Lanvin, Christian Dior, and Jean Paul Gaultier.   Show list: Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang (Opened), Altuzarra, Anteprima (Closed), Balenciaga, Balmain (Opened), Barbara Bui (Closed), Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Céline, Chanel, Christian Dior, Diane von Furstenberg, Dolce & Gabbana, Dsquared 2, Elie Saab, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Francesco Scognamiglio, Gucci, Iceberg, Isabel Marant, Jean Paul Gaultier, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton, MaxMara, McQ by Alexander McQueen, Missoni, Moschino, Narciso Rodriguez, Nina Ricci (Opened), Proenza Schouler, Reed Krakoff, Rodarte (Opened), Roland Mouret, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sportmax, Theyskens’ Theory, Tory Burch, Trussardi, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent

Elza Luijendijk (IMG)

With her icy good looks, Dutch newcomer Elza Luijendijk debuted as a Prada exclusive in Milan, and the 16-year-old went on to score the opening and closing looks at Stefano Pilati’s final Yves Saint Laurent show.   Show list: Alexander McQueen, Ann Demeulemeester (Opened), Balenciaga, Elie Saab, Giambattista Valli, Givenchy, Hakaan, Hussein Chalayan, Miu Miu, Prada (Exclusive), Sacai, Sonia Rykiel (Closed), Viktor & Rolf, Yves Saint Laurent (Opened and closed)

Lina Zhang (Fusion)

With her cover for i-D magazine on newsstands now, Chinese model Lina Zhang (and her flawless complexion) made appearances at all the key shows this season, including Tommy Hilfiger, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, and Hermès.   Show list: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Acne, Alexander McQueen, Anteprima, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Cacharel, Céline, Christopher Kane, Dolce & Gabbana, Dries Van Noten, Dsquared2, Elie Saab, Emilio Pucci, Gabriele Colangelo, Hermès, Hervé Léger, Hussein Chalayan, J.W. Anderson, Jen Kao, Jonathan Saunders, Lanvin, Lacoste,  Louis Vuitton, Maison Martin Marigela, Marchesa, Marco de Vincenzo, Marni, MaxMara, Michael Kors, Monique Lhuillier, Nina Ricci, Peter Pilotto, Proenza Schouler, Ralph Lauren, Tadashi Shoji, Tanya Taylor, Thierry Mugler, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch, Versus, Viktor & Rolf, Yigal Azrouel, Yves Saint Laurent

Vanessa Axente (DNA)

After skipping New York and London Fashion Weeks, Hungarian 16-year-old Vanessa Axente scored an opening slot at Prada (as an exclusive, mind you), then Céline, and finally, Valentino. And thus, a star was born.   Show list: Alexander McQueen, Barbara Bui, Céline (Opened), Christian Dior, Dries Van Noten, Givenchy, Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, Prada (Exclusive and opened), Nina Ricci, Sacai, Valentino (Opened)

Ava Smith (Wilhelmina)

American beauty Ava Smith’s major breakthrough was seven years in the making, but she sure as hell made an impact at the fall 2012 shows. The 22-year-old was embraced by the world’s top designers, including Givenchy, Balmain, Alexander Wang, and Chanel.   Show list: Alexander Wang, Altuzarra, Anthony Vaccarello, Antonio Berardi, Aquilano.Rimondi, Balmain, Belstaff, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Cacharel, Calvin Klein, Céline, Chanel, Damir Doma, Dolce & Gabbana, Dries Van Noten, Dsquared2, Elie Saab, Emilio Pucci, Etro, Fendi, Giambattista Valli, Gianfranco Ferre, Givenchy, Gucci, Hermès, Hussein Chalayan, Iceberg (Opened), Issa, Isabel Marant, Loewe, McQ by Alexander McQueen, Marchesa, Missoni, Moschino, Moschino Cheap & Chic (Closed), No.21 (Opened), Nina Ricci, Ohne Titel, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, Preen, Richard Chai, Rochas, Sacai, Salvatore Ferragamo, Thakoon, Thierry Mugler, Trussardi, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Zero + Maria Cornejo (Closed)

Tian Yi (Fusion)

After a lukewarm start in New York, 18-year-old Yi picked up serious steam in Milan and Paris, modeling for Marni, Alberta Ferretti, Louis Vuitton, and Dries Van Noten.   Show list: Acne, Aganovich, Alberta Ferretti, Alexander McQueen, Aquascutum, Ashley Isham, C’N’C Costume National, Cacharel, Charlotte Ronson, Corrado de Biase, Dries Van Noten, Guy Laroche, Jenny Packham, Jeremy Laiang, Jeremy Scott, Jonathan Saunders, Kenzo, Louis Vuitton, Marni, Miu Miu, Monika Chiang, Parkchoonmoo, Prada, Rachel Zoe, Rad by Rad Hourani, Rebecca Taylor, Rochas, Roland Mouret, Thakoon, Valentino, Versus, Vivienne Tam, Yves Saint Laurent

Franzi Mueller (IMG)

German rookie Franzi (short for: Franziska) Mueller kicked off her season with an exclusive opening catwalk deal for Calvin Klein in New York. Shortly thereafter, London’s casting directors licked their chops with excitement, selecting Mueller to open and close for Erdem, and close for Aquascutum.   Show list: Acne, Anthony Vaccarello, Antonio Berardi, Antonio Marras (Opened and closed), Aquascutum (Closed), Aquilano.Rimondi, Bottega Veneta, Calvin Klein (Exclusive and opened), Christopher Kane, Céline, Dries Van Noten, Erdem (Opened and closed), Francesco Scognamiglio, Gianfranco Ferre, Givenchy, Haider Ackermann, Iceberg, J.W. Anderson, Jonathan Saunders, Loewe, Marni, MaxMara, McQ by Alexander McQueen, Nina Ricci, Missoni, Prada, Rochas, Roland Mouret, Versus, Vionnet

Melissa Stasiuk (Next)

Argentinian newcomer Stasiuk has the industry abuzz over her sick sense of style and cool, nonchalant personality – ahem, Freja 2.0, anyone? Kaiser Karl is quite smitten with this one, having championed Stasiuk at Chanel’s pre-fall 2012 show, spring 2012 couture show, and now, at both Chanel and Fendi’s fall 2012 shows.   Show list: Anthony Vaccarello, Barbara Bui, Carven, Chanel, Daks, Fendi, Giles, Just Cavalli, Louis Vuitton, Missoni, Nina Ricci, Pringle of Scotland, Proenza Schouler (Opened), Richard Chai, Roberto Cavalli, Rue du Mail, Sportmax, Valentin Yudashkin, Viktor & Rolf

Ophelie Rupp (Trump)

Last season, Miuccia Prada scheduled 21-year-old Ophelie Rupp as an exclusive for Prada in Milan and Miu Miu in Paris, but now that the deal is over, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, and Balenciaga all clamored to book Rupp’s raw, startling beauty for their shows.   Show list: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Acne, Altuzarra, Aquascutum, Aquilano.Rimondi, Anthony Vaccarello, Balenciaga, Band of Outsiders, Barbara Bui, Blumarine, Burberry, Cacharel, Chloé, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana, Emilio Pucci, Felder Felder, Fendi, Francesco Scognamiglio, Helmut Lang, Hussein Chalayan, Jean Paul Gaultier, Just Cavalli, Maria Grachvogel, Marchesa, Maurizio Pecoraro,  Missoni, Moschino, No. 21, Narciso Rodriguez, Ohne Titel, Paco Rabanne, Peter Pilotto, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, PPQ, Rodarte, Sacai, Sonia Rykiel, Thakoon, Topshop Unique, Valentino, Vanessa Bruno, VPL

Marie Piovesan (Marilyn)

One of the current faces of Céline, 25-year-old Marie Piovesan lived up to her pre-season buzz with a strong debut New York Fashion Week, landing spots on the Michael Kors, Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, and Marc Jacobs runways. This month, the Jesus and Mary Chain fanatic covers Italian Vogue’s couture supplement.   Show list: Acne, Alexander Wang, Altuzarra, Aquascutum, Balenciaga, Céline, Christopher Kane, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Gareth Pugh, Giles, Guy Laroche, Haider Ackermann, Helmut Lang, Hermès, Hussein Chalayan, Iceberg, Jason Wu, Jonathan Saunders, Lanvin, Loewe, Louis Vuitton (Closed), Maison Martin Margiela, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Marc Jacobs, Marni, MaxMara, Michael Kors, Missoni, Narciso Rodriguez, Ports 1961, Prabal Gurung, Preen, Proenza Schouler, Reed Krakoff, Richard Chai, Rick Owens (Opened), Roberto Cavalli, Rue du Mail, Thakoon, Valentino, Vera Wang, Versace, Versus, Victoria Beckham, Viktor & Rolf, Yves Saint Laurent

Ten New Models Who Conquered Fall 2012’s Runways