New model army follow in mums' footsteps
The next generation of supermodels has landed, but let's not forget their mothers are still in 'Vogue' too
To the uninitiated, Lila Grace Moss Hack may look like any other 14-year-old wearing braces and braiding her hair. But once you know where those cheekbones come from, you won't be able to unsee the family resemblance.
Lila Grace landed her first independent modelling job last week, something that many would say was inevitable. But her parents, the British supermodel Kate Moss and the Dazed Media founder Jefferson Hack, had fought hard to keep her out of the public eye while she was growing up; pictures of her were released only at Moss's 2011 wedding to Jamie Hince and on the red carpet at the premiere of Paddington in 2014.
Moss Hack's first modelling job is a relatively soft step, appearing in a single new promotional image for The Braid Bar, a hair-plaiting service at London department store Selfridges. Posing with her friend Stella, daughter of the Clash musician Mick Jones, they each model a new style of braid, now named after them on the salon's menu - an honour for any teenager.
"I cast girls that I feel are the faces of the future," The Braid Bar's founder Sarah Hiscox explains of the new young clique making up her menu of headshots, who also include Iris Law (16) daughter of Jude Law and Sadie Frost, and Anais Gallagher (17) daughter of Noel Gallagher and Meg Mathews. "The majority of our customers are normal teenage girls, and they want to see girls who look like them. We're not looking for people who we think are ready-made professionals, or models without personalities."
Yet this new model army all seem to have parents who are household names. Iris Law just celebrated a second Burberry beauty campaign and sits front row at the brand's shows. Lily Rose Depp (17), the daughter of French singer and model Vanessa Paradis and actor Johnny Depp, has walked for Chanel.
"It's not surprising to see girls like Iris and Anais doing so well now," says Hiscox of this new movement. "They're all strong, opinionated and bright and they have something interesting to say."
One of the agencies that has already signed up some of these famous offspring is Storm Model Management, the agency that discovered Kate Moss in 1988. "It's a natural development - many of the girls inherit their mother's genes and their physical attributes, but also their personality and strong work ethic," says Storm's Paula Karaiskos. The agency now represents Renee Stewart, daughter of Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter, and Lottie Moss, Kate's 19-year-old half-sister. "Marry this with strong consumer familiarity and you have a great narrative to harness."
Dolce and Gabbana's February show, Karaiskos says, was a great example of why brands love to cast celebrity offspring, as the designers picked a host of young but familiar faces, including Christie Brinkley's daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook (18) and Storm new girl Lady Amelia Spencer, niece of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, to walk down their catwalk. "It was a millennials' show," she says of why the designers picked girls with a strong social media presence. "There is a familiarity which the consumer recognises and this can be a good way for brands to cut through and launch projects and campaigns."
But while being the daughter of "someone" may initially be a shortcut to the limelight, it will only take you so far, especially when the average model career traditionally has lasted only five years, and hits peak earning power at around 20.
Kendall Jenner, the half-sister of Kim Kardashian, said last year that she wanted "to be taken seriously". Despite the assumption that nepotism in fashion opens doors, she made it clear that a family name can be as troublesome as it is treasured. "I had to work even harder to get where I wanted because people didn't take me seriously as a model. Because of the Kardashian name."
Everyone wanted to see the first pictures of Cindy Crawford's mini-me daughter Kaia Gerber (15) when they were released last year, but Crawford knew as well as anyone that to build her a lasting career would require a smarter strategy than that.
"If you have a successful parent and you go into the same business but if you're not more successful, then what?" Crawford asked Vogue Australia last month. "The only concern I have for her, and it isn't an issue, is that in the modelling world I hit the top, and if she doesn't, it might be a lot of pressure for her." As such, she's arming her daughter with advice on building a steady career, and pacing her jobs so that she doesn't burn out or become overwhelmed at such a young age.
Moss recently started her own agency, and there's speculation that she may even be the first model mother to officially sign and manage her own daughter.
It is less about control or being a "stage mum" for these models and more about protecting their children from what they know can be a brutal industry. Perhaps the other thing that's markedly different about the modelling world that their offspring are entering now, compared with when they launched their careers, is that many of the parents are still working, too. Whereas older models were once expected to make way for the new generation, in 2017 there seems to be room for both mother and daughter.
At 43, Kate Moss celebrated her 38th British Vogue cover last month, while Cindy Crawford (51) starred in Balmain's autumn advertising campaign last year, as well as appearing on the cover of Vogue Paris alongside her daughter.
Gone are the days when models are seen as 'over' once they hit middle age. The latest round of catwalk shows boasted more age-diverse castings than ever before, with 72-year-old model Jan De Villeneuve taking to the catwalk for Simone Rocha, and Dries Van Noten's Paris show featuring no model under 40.
"Fashion and beauty have become very democratic and accessible worlds, and several prestigious brands are celebrating this," says Karaiskos of the family appeal, and the fact that companies are keen to represent the diversity of their customers. "Younger generations are embracing the success stories of their older peers, and also their authority and experience."
No matter how many Instagram followers you may have, you can't beat the original supermodels, after all.