Saturday 24 February 2018

Meet Lorna Foran, the Irish model taking the high fashion world by storm

Lorna Foran for Selfridge's
Lorna Foran for Selfridge's
Irish model Lorna Foran. Picture: The Hive Management
Irish model Lorna Foran. Picture: The Hive Management
Irish model Lorna Foran. Picture: The Hive Management
Irish model Lorna Foran. Picture: The Hive Management

Meadhbh McGrath

Take a look at Irish model Lorna Foran’s Instagram and you’ll notice in each photo, one feature dominates the frame - that stellar mane.

With long, flowing red hair and a tall, willowy figure, the 25-year-old (now based in London, but originally from Celbridge, Co Kildare) has a pre-Raphaelite beauty that has charmed the British fashion industry, landing her editorials in highly influential publications like AnOther, Tank and i-D, as well as European titles like the agenda-setting Dansk magazine.

Her break-out moment came last year when she fronted the Autumn/Winter ‘15 campaign for iconic footwear brand Camper, the Spanish design powerhouse known for their bold and inventive ads. The campaign saw her face emblazoned on billboards and shopping bags across the globe.

As Fashion Month has come to an end, Lorna enjoyed her first season of casting calls for the big shows in Milan and Paris. When we speak over the phone from London, she is just in the door from a full day of castings – and she’s off to a rough start.

Irish model Lorna Foran. Picture: The Hive Management
Irish model Lorna Foran. Picture: The Hive Management

“I’m so tired, and I had the worst start to the day because I lost my bank card and my Oyster travel card which gets me around everywhere. It was an absolute nightmare, but sure I made it in the end,” she says cheerfully.

“I had six castings today, and they’re all over the shop, that’s the worst part about it.”

Casting calls involve a lot of sitting around waiting for your turn. “There are always girls ahead of you, and the best thing to do is always ask who was last because otherwise things get bitchy. If you skip someone, that could be the end of it!

“Then you sit down, change into your heels and you’ll get one of your cards [a list of your runway vitals] ready. When they call you in, you either try stuff on or for the most part they ask you to walk.”

She likens the whole experience to the frantic go-sees on America’s Next Top Model, laughing, “It’s just like that, some people are running around like headless chickens!”

Read more: #TBT: Your favourite Irish stars on their first red carpet

Although it is competitive, she says: “It depends on how you are yourself. If you sit down and don’t talk to anyone, that creates a bad atmosphere, but to be fair a lot of the girls are really young. I’m probably one of the older ones.

“I’m 25 now, I’m practically a fossil! The other girls are generally between 16 and 19, some of them are there with their mams. It must be terrifying if you’re that young.”

Lorna has been in London for nearly four years, and with the exception of some initial scouting when she first got there, her modelling career only took off in the last few months.

“I did fit modelling for a designer who introduced me to a photographer who liked redheads. They sent my picture to her and I shot for i-D magazine later that day,” she explains.

Irish model Lorna Foran. Picture: The Hive Management
Irish model Lorna Foran. Picture: The Hive Management

The photographer was Harley Weir, one of the most in-demand fashion photographers in the UK. She is known for her striking, intimate work and has created stunning editorials for AnOther, Vogue Italia and Dazed and Confused, as well as working with designers including Stella McCartney, Gucci and Proenza Schouler.

Lorna’s luminous pale skin, rosy cheeks and flaming red hair instantly caught her eye, and together they have produced several dreamily romantic and richly coloured editorial shoots.

“It was on and off for a while after that, but then an agency got in touch with me and said it was probably my time and I should do it now. That was three months ago,” she says.

Up until recently, Lorna had been working as an assistant retail manager, but after turning down a couple of big modelling jobs because of scheduling conflicts, she decided to go part-time. “It’s a bit scary, because it’s the first time I’ve done a job that doesn’t have a 9-5 routine five days a week.”

However, she has been kept busy with editorial work and the attendant hijinks of the high fashion world. For a recent shoot for Dansk, she was covered in bugs.

More for @dazed shot by @bex_day and styled by @taraegreville

A photo posted by l o r n a (@lornaforan) on

“They were bought at a pet shop, and they had to put them in the oven to cook them so they weren’t sticky. But as my body heated up, so did they and you could smell them - they literally stank, it was disgusting,” she says with a laugh.

“That was one of the weirder ones. For the last shot I had to have honey poured all over me from my neck down. It started off really thick but then as it heated up it got so drippy. I had silky smooth skin afterwards though!”

Read more: What I eat in a day: Model and fitness guru Maeve Madden

It’s clear Lorna’s not set on taking herself or the fashion world too seriously. She also dismisses the suggestion of punishing and restrictive diets.

“I’m lucky in the sense that I’ve always been tall and skinny, but as I’ve got older my metabolism isn’t what it used to be. I watch what I eat to a certain degree but I’m not on any crazy diet, I wouldn’t have the willpower to do it.

“At the moment, I’m trying to eat just fish and veg, because for Fashion Week you need to keep as trim as possible. If I’m craving stuff though, that’s it. It all goes out the window!”

Lorna tries to get home to visit her family in Kildare every six months or so, but says her parents are finding it hard to wrap their heads around her new career path. “I think my mam is slowly getting it, and the more big names I drop to her she’ll be impressed, but she thinks it’s a bit strange. My dad hasn’t a notion, but I don’t really mind it that way.”

With an upcoming appearance in an editorial for AnOther’s 15th Anniversary issue, which hits newsstands today, and a likely catwalk debut in the near future, we’re sure this is a face you’ll be seeing plenty more of.

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