Cara Taylor is the Rising Model to Know Now

Cara Taylor is the Rising Model to Know Now

The breakout model wears the best of Spring fashion and opens up about being discovered on Instagram, and closing Maria Grazia Chiuri's debut show at Dior.

The breakout model wears the best of Spring fashion and opens up about being discovered on Instagram, and closing Maria Grazia Chiuri's debut show at Dior.

Photography: Mark Peckmezian

Styling: Tom Guinness

Text: Sara Zion

When Cara Taylor first told me over email that her modeling career began when she was discovered on Instagram, I immediately had to navigate to her profile to see what sparked the frenzy surrounding the Alabama teen. Her early account activity shows an innocent girl smiling wide while climbing trees, jumping off of docks and white-water rafting with family and friends. A few weeks later, over avocado toast during one of Cara’s stopovers in New York, she herself tells me that her hobbies include, “volleyball, camping [and] hiking” and that before she “got into modeling [she] was blind [to fashion] and knew nothing [about it].” Though she seems to have learned quickly, with so many young models falling victim to media pressures and turning to unhealthy means to be rail-thin, her active lifestyle and down-to-earth attitude are a refreshing change of pace in an industry so often void of healthy and athletic figures in favor of waifish frames.

Scrolling to more recent images, however, her page showcases a variety of edgy high-fashion looks, with Cara posing in advertisements for brands like Prada and Coach and editorial stories with famed photographers like Patrick Demarchelier and Steven Meisel. With an intensity in her eyes and a pout that is decidedly strong and serious, it’s hard to believe that the runway model is fifteen and only fell into the world of fashion a few months ago. Her slightly upturned nose and high cheekbones make it easy to draw comparisons to a young Kate Moss or Linda Evangelista, while her strong jawline coupled with a chopped bob courtesy of her runway debut at Alexander Wang’s Spring / Summer 2017 show (and cut even shorter at the Prada show she walked the same season) make it easy for her to embody the epitome of androgynous beauty that harkens back to '80s icons like model/musician Leslie Winer (who served as the inspiration for this story by stylist Tom Guinness and photographer Mark Peckmezian).

Guinness was immediately drawn to that very projection of power when he met Cara as a potential candidate for this project. When asked why he ultimately chose her to actualize his vision for this shoot, Guinness says, “Cara has a classic American beauty look, chic and essential with a hint of preppy masculinity. It’s that strength and practicality which I think defines good American models- I like that Cara as well as Leslie Winer… embody that classic American sportswear look but also have an ability to channel [the attitudes] of rebellion and punk.” While Cara can illustrate the apathetic expression of a seasoned fashion veteran, in real life she is almost the complete opposite; Guinness describes her as, “sweet… but curious about the industry and hard working.” Her bubbly excitement is almost contagious as she describes the rush she felt on the Wang runway, feeling, “like a cool kid walking down the hallway.”

The past six months have been full of surprises for Cara, who tells me that she was not even aware that she was set to close Maria Grazia Chiuri’s inaugural Christian Dior Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear show until the rehearsal the day prior. She gushes about her look, saying, “it was so elegant, I felt so confident in it… I just loved it!” We speak more about the show and Cara draws attention to the feminist views projected by the clothing and the fact that Chiuri is the brand’s first female designer—a notable rarity in the male-dominated world of high fashion. It’s clear that, though she is somewhat green to the industry, Cara is at least somewhat aware of the political climate into which she has fallen, telling me another of her favorite moments was stomping down the Wang runway to the unmistakably female-empowering anthem ‘Tomboy’ by Princess Nokia. As our conversation continues, Cara tells me that her, “goal in the industry is to… reach as far as I can go. If I can have a little positive impact… that would be great too!” and I feel once again like I am conversing with an experienced professional. All of a sudden, though, the topic turns to homework and getting her driver’s permit and I am quickly reminded that this is still a new and exciting ride for the teenager. Here’s hoping it’s a long one.

Jacket Chanel, Earring Balenciaga
Credits:

Makeup Virginia Young (Melbourne Artists Management)  Hair Tomi Kono (Julian Watson Agency)  Model Cara Taylor (Silent Models NY)  Casting Nicola Kast  Manicure Gina Edwards (Kate Ryan Inc)   Set design Daryl McGregor (Lalaland Artists)  Production Webber Represents  Photo assistants Mike Feswick, Jordan James, Will Takahasi  Stylist assistant Bianca Raggi  Hair assistant Levi Monarch  Set design assistants Sam Jasperson and Jack de Sousa  Retouching Paul Korzan  Location and Equipment Attic Studios  Catering Green Brown Orange

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