Some call her rise controversial, others seem to rejoice at the sight of what they call a good move in today's modeling criterias. But the only breaking news about Kate Upton come from the unparalleled buzz she currently generates.
Curves have been around for a short while already, from Crystal Renn's strong presence in high fashion editorials to Vogue Italia's all-curvy issue and silhouettes à la Lara Stone, Ashley Smith or even Eniko Mihalik are familiar in the most prestigious magazines and sought-after advertising campaigns. Mainstream beauty types and so-called commercial looks have also scored big, lately, when you think of models like Candice Swanepoel, who moved from the depth of lingerie catalogues to Steven Meisel's projects via juicy jobs for Victoria's Secret. So, nothing utterly surprising in seeing Ms. Upton quickly gaining attention and not only from Terry Richardson or Sportswear Illustrated. Currently featured in the latest issue of US Vogue, her move to the finest pages of worldwide fashion is hard to overlook and, naturally, highly commented.
Again, you will always find people to see this as just an isolated coup and argue that being backed by a powerful machine like IMG helps a lot. It surely does and the hype has been carefully nurtured (and sometimes wildly fueled) right from the start, but big houses are neither the first nor only ones able to promote models who don't fit the skinny and leggy mold. Remember how the small boutique from New York, Re:Quest, managed it twice in a row with Emily DiDonato and later Sabrina Nait. None of the two could be described as the tall and lanky catwalk type yet both quickly enjoyed editorial successes that many runway rookies can only dream of. Certainly, the fact Kate appeared in and on the likes of GQ or Esquire before Vogue while many other models took the opposite path makes her career slightly less common, and the recent hype surrounding her and growing beyond the fashion borders naturally attracts a certain amount of criticism from the most elitist circles. But seeing her as a UFO of the modeling world would be far away from the realities of today's business, which have largely evolved since the domination of a uniform army of ethereal teenagers and embraced more grownup women as one of its new patterns of beauty ideals.
Kate Upton might look like an exception within the trend she belongs to, her presence among the most watched and commentend models of her time remains more logical than surprising. She might just appear to be a little more iconic than the rest of the crop.
CREDITS: Vogue US / Ph: Sebastian Kim