CINEMA

STELLA MAXWELL

VERSACE’S SHINNING STAR

It takes a certain type of glam to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel or a Versace Muse and Stella Maxwell has the looks and the success for both. From high-profile magazine editorials to all the top runway shows and Instagram superstardom, Stella’s career has been one that boldly signals that she is a star.

In the vast universe of modeling, stars can’t really get much bigger than Stella Maxwell. Young as she is, she has walked the runway for a slew of high-fashion labels like Chanel and Versace and graced the covers of iconic magazines such as Vogue International and Harper’s Bazaar. An massively popular success in social media, Stella has five million people copying her looks and following her every move on Instagram alone. Her appearance for the now infamous David Guetta and Justin Bieber music video  gave us a big dose of typical Stella super sensuality that exploded the internet. And yet, despite her social media superstardom, her near omnipresence in the fashion industry, and her status as a tabloid fixture, she never gets overexposed. She’s just too damn cool for that.

Interpreting her massive modeling success isn’t difficult. First of all, she’s classically beautiful. Tall, slender, and blonde with sun-kissed skin. Usual supermodel stuff. What sets her apart, aside from having one of the best pairs of legs since the supermodel invasion of the ’90s, is her demeanor in front of the camera. She’s got Twiggy’s innately cool confidence, paired with a tousled Bardot-esque sexiness. Her signature smudged cat eye, pillowy soft pink lips, and softly disheveled hair are reminiscent of Bardot in Goddard’s Contempt — arguably one of Brigitte’s sexiest roles. The comparison to Bardot is an easy one to draw, and yet, she is no carbon copy, wannabe, or tribute act. Her nouvelle vague insouciance is toughened up with plenty of new wave rocker charisma and edge. Off the runway, she perpetually looks ready for a photoshoot, with a closet full of plenty of distressed denim, cropped and sheer tops, black leather, and killer boots. Her louche, personal take on rock girl classics makes Maxwell a perennial favorite with street style photographers, resulting in nothing less than editorial quality, street chic snaps.

Stella’s immensely popular Instagram posts chronicle a kind of charmed, decadent, model-perfect life rarely seen since the supermodel heyday over 20 years ago. Her account is so well curated, it’s like looking at film rushes from a music video, with magazine covers and glamorous runway photos taken during some of each season’s biggest shows coexisting with pitch-perfect street style looks. Interspersed between all of her photos from work are plenty of selfies with other model friends, candid shots with celebrity friends, red carpet events, exotic vacations, private yachts, you name it. As opulent as it all looks, it doesn’t come off as a facade. At the center of it all is Stella, looking as effortless and nonchalant as ever. She’s no doubt used to the excitement.

This young and overtly sensual allure did not get past Donatella Versace’s scouting mind. Over the past few seasons, Stella has become a familiar Versace face — she’s modeled for the brand’s runway shows, print ads, and look books. Donatella has, not unexpectedly, cited Stella as the perfect muse. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a model who better embodies the brand’s empowered sensuality, while maintaining the rock ’n’ roll edginess the house is super famous for.

Stella’s massive influence and widespread stardom seem to attract terms like “supermodel,” “icon,” or “influencer” — and yet, they still downplay the full scope of her career. She’s unique. Any label you apply to her is going to come up short. Like many successful people of her generation, Maxwell isn’t content to excel in one or two areas and resists all traditional role definitions. She’s carved out a large niche for herself as the reigning international It girl of the moment and the master of her own brand of impossible coolness. More than that, she embodies the ideal of a millennial breed of models, women as fierce and empowered behind the scenes as they are in front of the camera. On top of it all, she is young, beautiful, and cool. Perhaps too cool to give any of it too much thought.

1/18