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.
When I gaze upon the beautiful face of young Valery Kaufman, I feel a peculiar mixture of awe, reverence, and fear. Yes, mainly fear. You see, Valery brings up in me what any decent therapist might say was a latent but omnipresent dread of feeling comparatively unpopular, stemming largely from that one Halloween in the 6th grade when I was not asked to dress up as a Spice Girl with the mean group of girls I mistakenly wished to befriend (“Well, there’s only five of them and there’s already five of us, so…”). And Valery — with those furrowed eyebrows, that non-participatory pout – looks like the type who needn’t do anything but glance silently askance at me over a 16-ounce Diet Coke and a plate full of cheese fries to send me home crying.*
But, hey, enough about me and my issues. Let’s talk future supermodels!
In late 2011, still longhaired and stern-faced, Valery booked a handful of shows, walking, most notably, for Alexander Wang and Miu Miu. A Vogue Russia editorial preceded her sophomore follow up, the S/S 13 collections, and that’s when things started to get going. Helmut Lang, Peter Som, Phillip Lim, Narciso Rodriguez, Prada, Dolce, Celine, Akris, Dior, Valentino: Everyone was booking her. Next up, F/W 13. Valery had repeat performances for many designers, but was showed up on new runways, like Yigal Azrouël, Rag & Bone, Victoria Beckham, Belstaff, Kenzo, and Galliano, just to name a few. In short, the last two years have been very good to our Valery.
But the fashion industry, as we well know, is like a very rich, very fickle man at a club with money to burn and thousands of gorgeous women at his disposal. So how do you keep him interested? Switch it up. “Chop! Chop!” is the adage of late, and Valery had just joined the club. And we love it. Oh, yes, we love it.
With two years under her belt and this bloody brilliant ‘do, Valery has taken on a more powerful, wonderfully adult look. There’s a hard awareness in her eyes that is not merely the marker of youthful affectation, but having seen the world, woken up too early too often, been kicked around a few times. It is a subtle shift, a more brutal beauty. This is face (and haircut) of a grownup, one who doesn’t send me into a compulsory teenage self-hate spiral. And that’s a look I’ll always get behind.
Verdict: More Prada than ever.
*This is 100% complementary.