Alek Wek - Page 4 - the Fashion Spot
 
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12-08-2013
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Christian Dior Couture Backstage.


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Pirelli calendar celebrates 50 years: Miranda Kerr, Helena Christensen and Alessandra Ambrosio star in anniversary photo shoot

The annual Pirelli calendar brings together the world's most beautiful women and the fashion industry's most celebrated photographers and stylists in a celebration of the female body.

This week Pirelli released images from it's hotly anticipated 50th anniversary photoshoot featuring a stellar line-up of supermodels perfectly under-dressed and shot by renowned fashion photographers Patrick Demarchelier and Peter Lindbergh.

Over the years its calendars have been designed to raise eyebrows with their provocative imagery featuring very little clothing and OTT hair and make-up design, but for the 2014 shoot the Italian tyre manufacturer has let the talent do the talking by presenting a simple studio shoot feature megastars Alessandra Ambrosio, Helena Christensen, Karolina Kurkova, Alek Wek, Miranda Kerr and Isabeli Fontana dressed in over-sized shirts and jumpers.


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I LOVE that she's back in Pirelli. She's such a legend.

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Behind the scenes for Pirelli Calendar


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still SPECTACULAR & still such a ICON

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The Many Beauty Looks of Alek Wek



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As a recent article in The New York Times bluntly pointed out, black models still have a tough time getting ahead in the fashion world. But you don't have to look any further than Alek Wek—who got her big break near the end of the supermodel era and is still going strong—to see the impact women of color can have. What's even more jaw-dropping than her striking features is the made-for-TV story of her road to success. Born in Wau, Sudan, in 1977, Wek fled the war-torn country with her family at age 14, to settle in England. That same year, her father was killed, leaving Wek's mother with nine children to care for on her own. But in 1995, the unexpected happened: Wek was spotted by a model scout at a street fair in London. From there, it was a short leap from the runways to international renown—as a model, a role model for women of color, and an activist for international health issues, especially in her native Sudan.
Since she made her debut on the runway almost twenty years ago, Wek has racked up an impressive haul of credits and awards. She was a favorite of the late, great Herb Ritts, as well as a frequent choice of Mario Testino and Steven Meisel. She was named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People," crowned "Model of the Decade" by i-D magazine, and also scored the title of MTV Model of the Year. The best part? She has managed to do it all sans scandals, stints in rehab, or any of the pitfalls that have caused other models in the spotlight to stumble. On the contrary, she's a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador. Up next, Wek will appear in the 50th-anniversary edition of the iconic Pirelli Calendar, out in November, which revisits those models who have been featured throughout the years. (Wek was in the '99, '00, and '04 editions.) The calendar is a veritable who's who of supermodels (shot by super photographers) of the past two decades. Naturally, Wek is front and center.

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The seventh of nine children, Wek's parents named her after a favorite great-aunt. Her name means "spotted cow," a good-luck symbol for people of the Dinka tribe in Sudan.

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Tina Turner's 1995 music video for her single "GoldenEye" has been credited with giving Wek the crucial exposure that changed her life. Not long after the video premiered, Alek was offered a contract with Ford Models. In 1997, another pop legend, Janet Jackson, took notice of Wek's captivating face. She tapped the newbie model for a role in her "Got Til It's Gone" video.

Quote:
It was considered a risky move for Elle to put Wek on its November 1997 cover, but the decision paid off. The magazine was inundated with letters of support from readers who were thrilled to see a model with such non-mainstream features land the top spot in a prestigious publication. Wek is forever cemented in fashion history as the first African model to land the cover of Elle, and the photos beautifully showcased her flawless skin, infectious grin, and killer cheekbones. Even Oprah Winfrey felt the impact. She commented to Wek on her show, "If you'd been on the cover of a magazine when I was growing up, I would have had a different concept of who I was."

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Despite her distinctive features, part of Wek's appeal is her versatility. She is equally mesmerizing whether she's au naturel or sporting dramatic makeup and an outrageous headpiece, like the dramatic floral expression created by milliner Philip Treacy, in 2000, for his Spring/Summer Haute Couture collection. Or an otherworldly crimson chapeau (accompanied by a silver starburst on her left cheek) that she wore in his Fall 2001 show.

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The golden girl on the catwalk in 1997 at the Givenchy Haute Couture Spring/Summer show—the first collection by the late Alexander McQueen for the French fashion house. Not many girls could carry off a sculptural flattop, Hermes-inspired ear cuffs, and a gilded dress worthy of a Greek goddess quite like Wek.

Quote:
When the July 2008 all-black issue of Vogue Italia hit newsstands, it sent the fashion world into a tizzy with its in-your-face statement about racial prejudice in the industry. Steven Meisel shot approximately one hundred editorial pages for the issue, including a spread called "Modern Luxe." The story featured Wek along with other top African models such as Iman, Liya Kebede, and Yasmin Warsame.

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Meanwhile, Wek's runway career was still going strong in the early aughts. Here she is rubbing elbows with fellow model Carmen Kass and Karl Lagerfeld backstage at the Chanel Spring 2002 show.

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With her dark skin tone and closely cropped hair, Wek is known for being a model who has defied the conventional beauty norms of the fashion industry and still come out on top. As talent manager Bethann Hardison once told Newsweek: "We've been taught that Vanessa Williams is the ideal of black beauty. That's why Alek is absolutely necessary—she forces us to deal with the fact that she is beautiful as well.'' And few models are bestowed the coveted honor of opening or closing a high-profile runway show. Wek has done both for such designers as Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Yves Saint Laurent. Here, she shoots the audience a meaningful glance on the YSL catwalk in 2002.

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Wek is all too familiar with the sweet smell of success. She has been the face of prestigious ad campaigns for Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Kenzo, Gap, Clinique Happy, and United Colors of Benetton (shown here) to name a few.

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As lithe as she is, Wek confessed to the Daily Mail that she's experienced rejection because of her weight. "I'd nearly starved, literally, over the years, yet they were telling me I was too fat? This definitely is the model's curse, and it's only worsened. I've known models [who] starve themselves for weeks to prepare for the catwalk. It's always clear when someone is hungry for a long time, because they tend to become depressed and listless. I've felt that, not because I needed to fit into a dress but because I was a refugee. I don't ever want to feel like that again." Luckily the casting agents at Victoria's Secret think she's fine just the way she is. Wek walked in the brand's annual fashion show in 2001.

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At age 36, Wek still gets booked for major runway gigs like the Christian Dior Fall 2013 show. Will this woman ever age?

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Generous with her smiles and her time, Wek serves as a UNHCR (the agency that aids and protects refugees) National Goodwill Ambassador and has worked with numerous charities for children, AIDS awareness, and breast cancer research. "I am most proud of being able to represent my family and community with honor and dignity," she says.

Quote:
In her 2007 autobiography, Alek: My Life From Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel, Wek wrote about inheriting her cover-worthy good looks from her parents. "I got my long body from my father—I'm nearly six feet tall—and my mother gave me her smile. My inky skin came from both of them." The memoir was inspired by a trip she took back to Sudan, in 2004, with the medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders. In it, she gives a detailed account of the dangerous life she escaped and the new reality she created through the opportunities modeling brought her. "It was hard to write the book, because I had to revisit very emotional moments," Wek told Ann Curry during an interview on Today.

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Wek made her first appearance in the Pirelli Calendar in 1999 with a provocative nude photo shot by Herb Ritts. This time around, she's covered up but still sexy in a white shirt and black pumps, flanked by a bevy of her fellow supermodels.
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The Style.com feature is amazing. She's one of the best models of all time.

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Originally Posted by Marc10 View Post
The Style.com feature is amazing. She's one of the best models of all time.
Agreed, on both counts.

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Ermanno Scervino S/S 2014

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Moschino S/S 2014 Milan HQ's



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Wow stunning @ Moschino!

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Diamond D Shoes Bags Saddlery Fall/Winter 1997-98
Vogue Italia September 1997
Model Alek Wek


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Beautiful!

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