Described by Karl Lagerfeld as ‘one of the greatest models in the world’, Erin O’Connor brought an extremely English sensibility to the Parisian world of haute couture. Born in Walsall on the 9th of February 1978, Erin O’Connor was born into an ordinary, working-class family and growing up, acquired her sights set on becoming a college teacher.
This all transformed when Erin and her classmates were used on a school visit to Clothes Show Reside in Birmingham. Taking its business lead from the iconic 80’s tv show, the live event is a annual trade show with top names from fashion, locks and beauty arriving together to demonstrate and promote their latest products.
The event is also routinely went to by scouts from the top modelling agencies, hoping to find anyone who has modelling potential. This is exactly what occurred to Erin: already grazing 6ft tall (without heels), the 17-yr-old stood head and shoulders above the group. Scouting agent Fiona Ellis from Models 1 discovered Erin and knew she acquired found something special immediately.
She approached Erin, and with a little persuasion, she was signed and started the business of becoming a model up. Erin had all the recycleables – angular, androgynous features, phenomenal height and a body built to showcase fashion. But it wasn’t until a photo-shoot in Brazil when Erin had her hair chopped off by master-stylist Guido (often seen working on contestants on ‘America’s Next Top Model’), that things started to happen – and happen quickly rather.
Erin’s new, super-cool look grabbed attention from Paris, the true home of haute couture. Where Erin found her home was with Chanel. Walking the ready-to-wear runway for the label in early 1997, and then progressing to Chanel Couture in July the same yr, O’Connor had found her specific niche market. That editorial awkwardness, by using a self-confidence boost from booking shows with Fendi and Gucci, transformed into insouciant glamour that was perfect for couture.
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Catapulted from her breakthrough at Clothes Show Live to the top of the fashion industry, her strong features and faultless posture made haute couture the natural choice for O’Connor. Possessing an unusual face, Erin lacked the poster gal prettiness of Niki Taylor or Kate Moss, herself just striking the big time. Erin’s high-fashion, aristocratic bearing whispered of sophisticated, Wallis Simpson-style glamour. Erin got more in common with the Dior couture models of the 1950’s than her own peers: she wasn’t in a position to rely on perfectly-set features, but for couture this wasn’t necessary. However, a cast-iron personal belief would show essential.
Couture is the most challenging branch of fashion modelling to understand, due to the fact the clothing needs so a lot of the model. Avant-garde and theatrical, couture demands a robust performance on the runway: even a hint of self-doubt will show on the model’s face and the illusion is lost. Couture requires nothing significantly less than 100% self-confidence, or it shall overpower the model wearing it. Ideally the outfit and the model should interact to make a dream-like state of beauty and elegance which is what sells couture to its tiny but wildly affluent customer-base.
They want to see the clothes at their most powerful, persuasive and most seductive, in support of a good couture model can deliver that. 50,000 gown. Within an interview with all the Telegraph, Erin accepted that she never saw herself as the kind of model who excels at modelling underwear or swimwear.
She was more of a specialist look, and had to tailor her career aspirations accordingly. Not being that traditional all-rounder did her no harm whatsoever. By leaning on her behalf advantages, O’Connor made her name by recognising her limitations. She’d be anyone’s idea of a underwear model never, which was fine with her just.
Her career, following the early triumphs of Paris, continued to sustained levels. She won ‘Model of the Year’ at the 1999 Elle Style Awards, and the year after that, signed a fragrance contract with Jean Paul Gaultier. Erin continuing, for the next five years, to walk ready-to-wear and couture runway shows, starting the Valentino Couture show in 2005 even, year and closing the Christian Dior Couture show the same.