What makes a superb mannequin a nice mannequin? For one, it’s their means to radiate a continuing, ineffable sense of cool, irrespective of the place they’re or what they’re sporting. The place that’s involved, few possess the identical sense of playfulness, persona, and flexibility as Devon Aoki, the cult mannequin who stormed the runways of Chanel, Versace, and Comme des Garçons all through the Nineteen Nineties and early-’00s, and shortly grew to become a favourite of photographers like Steven Meisel, Juergen Teller, and Nick Knight. (You may acknowledge her from the silver display, too; Aoki featured in Sin Metropolis and 2 Quick 2 Livid, amongst different movies.)
Whereas Aoki’s chameleonic means to bend to the imaginative and prescient of whichever designer or photographer she’s working with—showing as a prim and correct princess for Karl Lagerfeld, a coquettish intercourse kitten for Ellen von Unwerth, a cyberpunk warrior woman for Nick Knight, a kaleidoscopic hippie chick for Jeremy Scott—may need made her the star that she is as we speak, her origin story is equally auspicious. Born to the newbie wrestler and Benihana tycoon Rocky Aoki and his spouse, jewellery designer Pamela Hilburger (her half-brother can also be DJ Steve Aoki), she was first noticed at a Rancid live performance on the age of 13. After being photographed by Interview journal, legend has it that Kate Moss launched her to the modeling company Storm; the remainder was historical past.
By the age of 16, Aoki had grow to be a muse to Lagerfeld at Chanel, was racking up appearances on the runways of Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, and Celine, and was being booked to entrance campaigns for everybody from Tiffany & Co. to L’Oréal. Within the early 2000s, she switched gears, primarily specializing in her appearing profession, most notably with appearances in a collection of blockbuster motion films; by 2009, she determined to take a step again from her profession to concentrate on motherhood after marrying her husband, financier James Bailey. Nonetheless, when her long-time good friend Jeremy Scott got here calling in 2018, she couldn’t resist stepping again on the runway, each closing the present and showing hand-in-hand with the designer for his ultimate stroll to mark the return of considered one of his most enduring muses.
Because the seemingly unstoppable Y2K revival rages on, it appears like Aoki’s arresting magnificence, highly effective runway presence, and, in fact, her showstopping private model, has by no means been extra related. So in honor of her fortieth birthday, right here, Vogue is rounding up all of her greatest runway appears to be like from throughout the a long time—as a result of no matter that mysterious, ineffable “it” issue that marks out the world’s most compelling fashions, Devon Aoki nonetheless has it.