Lera Tribel: Nada to Prada

November 5, 2013 • Fashion

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In our ongoing series, From Nada to Prada, we explore the transformative power of a hair switcheroo, as seen in the competitive world of Model Land, where an agency-mandated bang cut or a bleach job can make the difference between booking a Prada campaign or slaving away in the gray ether of e-commerce for the rest of your livelong days.

As early as November last year, Lera Tribel was an unknown at Next Models, languishing on their board with heaps of other young, foreign, pale-skinned, dishwater blondes. (If you want to be just another dishwater blonde in this industry, you better have a face like Natalia Vodianova. That face could cure cancer; it’s that perfect.)


From 2010 when Tribel first appeared to the end of 2012, there isn’t much work history to dig through – unless you count this cringe-worthy editorial for a Russian mag as work. Yes, this career was off to a rough start. By the time Next got ahold of her, Tribel’s book was a mess of bad test shoots, Polaroids better suited for Hollywood headshots, and, frankly, pretty bad modeling. Things left as they were, I would have given Tribel a year in the business tops, and not a very successful one.

But here’s where an agency proves its worth.

Someone got the rather genius idea to transform Tribel into a redhead. Voila! As if by magic, Tribel’s baby blues popped and her previously inconsequential features took on a harder, more defined shape — though, in truth, it looks as though Tribel lost more than a few pounds before the SS14 show season (another transformation the industry responds to in rather disturbingly enthusiastic ways). Knock-kneed and fiery haired, Tribel was ready to take on fashion week. And take on, she did.


Valentino, Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, Celine, Acne, Alexander McQueen, and, yes, Prada, too – everyone wanted a piece of the Tribel action this season, a true testament to how a new ‘do can right all wrongs, forgive previous anti-fashion grievances, alter the course of a potentially DOA career. Does Tribel have what it takes to really make it? Following the success of her SS14 runway performance, only time – and the editorials – will tell.


Verdict: Totally nada to literally Prada.


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