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Guinevere Van Seenus

Supermodel, active from '90s to present

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This model changed our idea of a beautiful face

  • Jan 30, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+5
Guinevere Van Seenus is the supermodel that probably no one has heard of. OK, I'm using the term "supermodel" a bit liberally here. She's not among the ranks of Blackberry-throwing Naomi Campbell — but that's part of the reason why I like her. Starting in the mid-'90s,Van Seenus has been featured in big ad campaigns, graced covers of Vogue, starred in countless high fashion editorials, and even had a Marc Jacobs handbag named after her. Despite all that, she keeps a low profile — and still continues to model consistently even now, at the age of 31.

What people don't know is that Van Seenus' "look" (big eyes and soft, round features) helped set the precedent for the trend of baby-faced models during the early '00s to present — a nice contrast to the then-reigning hard, futuristic look, popularized by the sleek, razor-sharp cheekbones of a Christy Turlington or Linda Evangelista. Whereas the latter face type almost looked as if it was made for contorting into aggressively sexual expressions (the way the night lighting bounces off the planes of their face!), the baby-face is more playful, vulnerable, quirky.

In my opinion, the younger baby-face models working today, such as Jessica Stam, Lisa Cant, and Gemma Ward, are but carbon copies of Van Seenus. With a less experienced model, the baby face can look blank or creepily empty, like a doll (Lisa Cant looks either totally terrified or surprised in those Van Cleef & Arpels ads). In comparison, Van Seenus is able to convey vulnerability and innocence, but also a quiet sensuality.

My favorite campaign starring Van Seenus would have to be her Jil Sander campaigns, which focus more on her face than on clothes. In the ad pictured, she looks fresh, contemplative, and quite simply, beautiful.
Guinevere Van Seenus, Jil Sander ad Guievere Van Seenus, cover of Italian Vogue Guinever Van Seenus Guievere Van Seenus, Gap ad

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February 04, 2009
This was an interesting read. I had never heard of Van Seenus before. I'm actually embarrassed now that I hadn't. Maybe that's why my career in modeling failed so quickly.
 
January 30, 2009
Thanks! I've actually been criticized for my interest in fashion. My academic friends don't think it's serious or scholarly enough to give much thought to, but I just love it! Even when it's bad...
 
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About the reviewer

Ranked #84
I'm a curious foodie, a devout fashion gawker, and an unrepentant print nerd. I work at one of the last mainstream commercial magazines that's still printing.      Other things … more
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Wiki

Guinevere Van Seenus is an American fashion model who has appeared in several high fashion campaigns, print advertisements, and covers of Vogue.

Born in 1977 in Washington DC, Van Seenus garnered notice as a model during the mid-1990s. Though she originally started as a catalog model, she landed the cover of W in 1996, and was made the face of both Jil Sander and Chanel ad campaigns that same year.

More recently, Van Seenus was the face of Marc Jacobs Blush perfume (2004), and has also graced the campaigns of Kenzo and Moschino (2005).

In Summer 2008, New York's Pace/MacGill gallery hosted photographer Pablo Riversi's exhibit Guinevere. The exhibit consisted of large-format Polaroid portraits, all starring Van Seenus.


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