It's been a long time coming, but it looks like it's officially happened: Fashion editors have fully made the transition into modeling. After years of being stalked by street style photographers and having their perfectly put together ensembles plastered all over the Internet, the faces that were once behind-the-scenes at our favorite glossies have emerged as the industry's most recognizable (and sought after) personalities.
The public flocks to fashion industry insiders like Kate Lanphear, Taylor Tomasi-Hill, Joanna Hillman, and Anna Dello Russo for direction when it comes to trends, styling advice, and ultimately, what to buy. From an advertising standpoint, it makes sense to feature editors—who can merchandise pieces and market clothing better than they can? Chances are, the more clout a magazine has during Fashion Month and beyond, the more of these "celebrity editors" are on their mastheads. And giving readers a glimpse at the personal style of these celeb editors is not only a way to get a peek into their enviable, glamorous lives, it's great press for print publications.
The lofty ideal of the fashion editor is just as aspirational (and possibly just as unrealistic) as that of a model, but there's the added hints of expertise, self-expression, attention to detail, and appreciation of good design that have helped to make street style photography immensely popular. There's a reason why women like Anna Wintour and Carine Roitfeld have such a large pull in what ends up on the runways and in stores each season, and it was only a matter of time before the industry cut out the middle man and brought their sensibilities to the forefront.
We've explored the evolution of this editors-as-models trend, which shows no sign of slowing down. Are you a fan of this new development?
The fashion industry's fixation with its editors is not an entirely new development: Mario Testino shot this Anna Wintour-inspired editorial for the August 2007 issue of Vogue Paris, and these images of Snejana Onopka have since become iconic. Anna's signature style is often imitated but never, ever duplicated.
After Carine Roitfeld announced her resignation from Vogue Paris last winter, the entire fashion industry was awash in a sea of confusion—who could ever take her place? The folks at the Polish glossy Fashion were so affected by the editor's departure that they used her as inspiration for a tongue-in-cheek editorial. Everything about Carine's look—from the pin-straight hair and black kohl eyeliner to the sexy sheer numbers and skin-tight dresses—are instantly recognizable, and her style is sought after by designers and fashion fans all over the world.
With her heavy metal-meets-high fashion aesthetic, Kate Lanphear was one of the first fashion editors to amass a cult following devoted to her punky personal style. The Elle Style Director modeled for her buddy Eddie Borgo's Fall 2010 campaign, and she wasn't the first editor that the designer tapped for the job—Vogue's Lauren Santo Domingo and former L'Uomo Vogue editor Giovanna Battaglia have also been featured in Borgo's campaigns.
Visionaire's Cecilia Dean has some serious industry clout, which is why the designers behind indie label Ohne Titel chose her as one of the models for their Fall 2010 ad campaign.
Teen Vogue's Assistant Beauty Editor Laurel Pantin has garnered quite the following from her appearances on big-name street style blogs like The Sartorialist and Streetpeeper, so it only makes sense that designer Rachel Antonoff cast her as one of the stars of her Fall 2011 lookbook.
The style set was a bit shocked when Macy's announced that Vogue Nippon's super flashy Editor-at-Large Anna Dello Russo would guest-style the Fall 2011 collection for Macy's line of workwear basics, I.N.C. Even more intriguing was the fact that ADR herself would model in the campaign, alongside Karolina Kurkova. If Macy's really wanted to market its goods to the country's most fashion-forward ladies, this was certainly the way to do it.
One of Carine Roitfeld's first gigs post-French Vogue was as a guest editor, stylist, and muse for the Barneys Fall 2011 campaign. It wasn't enough to completely curate the luxury retailer's image for the season—Carine also modeled in the Mario Sorrenti-shot campaign, which featured fellow editors Marie-Amélie Sauve, Dasha Zhukova, and Giovanna Battaglia alongside supermodels like Natasha Poly and Naomi Campell.
Never one to be outdone, Anna Dello Russo made the transition from print model to full-on catwalker. She strutted her stuff for Alber Elbaz on the Lanvin x H&M runway last year, complete with a giant poof on her head and a poodle in tow.
They say that "three's a trend," and since ADR is one of the biggest trendsetters on Earth, it's no surprise that she completed the modeling trifecta: ads, runway, and editorial. This spread by Giampaolo Sgura in the Winter 2010 issue of 10 magazine showcased the editor and her wild style, and since there are very few people who celebrate fashion the way she does, I'd venture to say that it was just as successful (if not moreso) than any editorial starring a model.
Marie Claire's Style and Accessories Director Taylor Tomasi-Hill has become a bona fide celebrity over the past couple of years, mainly due to street style photographers' obsession with her daily looks during Fashion Month. In the latest issue of The Block, Taylor models some of the season's most striking looks, styled by James Worthington DeMolet and shot by Tetsuharu Kubota. While she can put together an outfit better than 99% of the population, Taylor's style still looks attainable, which is a dream from a marketing standpoint.
Decades ago, it was probably unheard of for an editor to grace the cover of a magazine instead of being quietly tucked away inside the masthead. This Fall 2011 i-D cover by Terry Richardson proves how the tables have turned, and that people are looking to editors with serious street style and industry credibility when deciding what to wear (and buy), not simply a pretty face on a skinny frame.