For anyone working in or interested in modeling, these two words belong to a kind of everyday routine. New. Faces. And judging by the words themselves, there shouldn't be anything with a clearer meaning. Though, this clear meaning has signficantly blured its message over the years, at some point you're now allowed to ask yourself the ultimate question: what is a new face in 2012. What is a new face for a mother agent, for a retail agency from Paris or New York, for a photographer, a magazine? Each may have his own answer. And, in a business where speed and nowness are seen as common ingredients, the issue of being new or not might have a little weight in the balance. Or is it just a matter of communication?

It crossed my mind -or literally hit my soul- when I saw an editorial in Vogue Paris two days ago entitled "New Faces". I took a quick look at the models featured and recognized Kati Nescher, Nadja Bender and Cora Emmanuel. That's the cast and, seemingly, Vogue's definition of new faces. Found myself scratching the back of my head as they're not even totally new for the magazine itself. At least Kati (and Nadja, if my memories aren't playing tricks) was (were, then) already featured in the french fashion bible. And Cora was already in New York in february 2011, if not before, even if it took her a little more months and an agency change to enjoy a moment under the spotlights. Weird, right? Not as much as it seems, and many won't even notice anything. We're getting so used of all and its opposite, these days...

Vocabulary is essential, may it be for understanding or communication. That's why, instead of new faces, you'll often read newcomers when someone is talking about the girls that had their first relevant show season. Top-10 newcomers, faces of the season and other tradmarks or nicknames are now legions yet it hasn't contributed to clear up things when it comes to the good old "new faces" vocable. For a mother agent, for example, a new face will be the latest model he has scouted and her portfolio consists in a batch of digitals, a walk & talk video combo and half a dozen of test shots. This new face isn't placed abroad and might require time and training before getting ready to travel to the shining lights of fashion capitals. For a management company, the situation is already different. Since most of the models they represent were sent to them by the mother agents I was talking about two sentences ago, the signification of new face can't follow the same standards. It will be, in most cases, a girl that has just arrived in town and needs a bit of promotion, portfolio improvement and a good dose of gosees. Or even a model that hasn't had her breakthrough yet. Yep, even within the same environment, the same words can refer to different ideas.

Then magazines and websites, they all tend to put a little bit of "new faces" here and a tad of "newcomers" there. A touch of "fresh faces" on the top and a twist of "rising stars" to make the whole mix sound more exciting. Some of them will consider a new face (or a newcomer or a whatever new and fresh and upcoming you want) is one of the latest catwalk queenies to reign on reputable runways. Others will rather claim they have discovered a diamond in the raw by offering her an exciting editorial in of their latest issues or even a cover. A few just don't care, needed a catchy title or might want to mock the fuss and buzz around the concept of new face and its multiple meanings and uses throughout the business. I guess the last option, the saltiest, remains the most exciting when things reach that level of randomness. That's why, maybe, I like Vogue Paris' title next to these three young ladies, especially knowing two of them started their career in their twenties. Some kind of winky whispers that says and swears "you're not old if you're not exactly new".

As I need to come to an end, I'm going to finish with an idea I have for a future article. We all like, enjoy, love, worship these reviews featuring the best (new) faces of a season because it's fun, entertaining, exciting, etcetera. But by doing this excercise, I imagine a fully subjective group of girls instead of the five or ten most obvious faces selected for the number of shows they walked or the prestige of the designers who hired them. Simply because fashion is and has always been subjective in its choices, from wording to casting decisions.

CREDITS: Vogue Paris November 2012 / Ph: Karim Sadli