Saskia de Brauw in her own words: ‘a sensitive, worrisome, strong and observant thinker’.
Every season, one girl stands out among the sea of new faces. And this time around, that face isn't that new at all - in fact, this is girl of the moment, Saskia de Brauw's second innings as a professional model. The hauntingly androgynous 29 year old (yep, that's 29) first started modelling aged 16 in Europe, before quitting and returning home to Amsterdam to study visual arts.
After graduating and making ends meet with waitressing, an old modelling pal convinced her to give fashion another go.On reflection, that was probably a pretty smart decision, given that de Brauw is currently enchanting the fashion world with her striking looks and equally fascinating personality (more on that below.)
Shot by Dancian for i:D
Firstly, her star is currently burning bright in the world of fashion editorials. She is a muse of Nicholas Ghesquiere and a close friend of Riccardo Tisci (they bonded over their mutual love of art). Carine Roitfeld selected de Brauw for her last ever cover at Vogue Paris - and roped in Mert & Marcus to produce the surprising camera-still shot.
Because, y'know, one Vogue cover a month isn't enough for some people, de Brauw also appeared on the cover of the Vogue Italia March edition - shot by Steven Meisel, and looking completely different. This girl is something of a chameleon.
Then of course, there are the stunning campaigns; she looks incredibly strong in the shots for Givenchy SS11, and replaced Lara Stone as the face of Eres.
Shot by Mert and Marcus
Shot by Viviane Sassen
Saskia stands out; not only for her statuesque, unusual appearance, but because this model has an awful lot going on upstairs. Her creativity and knowledge of the visual arts informs her work, and when she is not posing for the world's greatest photographers, she is producing artwork with her documentary photographer boyfriend, Vincent van de Wijngaard. The Cut blog asked her to describe her artistic process:
"I do not work in one particular medium. My work is in its base conceptual. I use different media depending on the project I work on. My work is about the way people move through space and the traces they leave behind while doing so. These traces are often invisible. I like to make these invisible traces visible through my work. [For example] I did a work on daily routes of people in a certain neighborhood. I was curious where random people's routes would cross. These were invisible encounters to me. Everyday they would meet without knowing. I wanted to show these meetings to other people as well"
She also writes a beautifully poetic blog, documenting her art, and observations of the people and cities her work exposes her to. A small snippet, referring to Café de la Mairie in Paris:
"People keep coming in and going out. Waiters wear their classical black and white outfits. Lovers kiss softly. A grandmother a daughter and a granddaughter enter the cafe. Outside the light is slowly disappearing and the streetlights appear. People outside are smoking cigarettes and are lit by a reddish light coming from the upper floor of the café.
We finish our glass of wine and decide to have dinner here tomorrow."
Read more at http://sdebrauw.blogspot.com/ and keep your eye on this lady; she's on course to be the face of the year.
Images: DNA models. iD, Vogue Paris, Vogue Italia, Givenchy, Eres