‘Suck it up ... it’s not real’: Aussie models turning heads

 

Exclusive: They're the Australian models that dominated the catwalks at London Fashion Week, turning heads and making a name for themselves in the process.

From Victoria Beckham to Burberry, LFW had a decidedly Aussie flavour this season, led by Kenyan-born Australian model Agi Akur, who was one of the standout "it" girls on the British runways.

These are the rising stars of fashion following in the well-heeled footsteps of Sudanese-Australian supermodel Adut Akech, who has been a standout yet again in New York, Paris and Milan this year.

Agi Akur was a favourite of Victoria Beckham at London Fashion Week. Picture: Getty Images
Agi Akur was a favourite of Victoria Beckham at London Fashion Week. Picture: Getty Images

Akur, 23, is one of several Australians dominating global catwalks or, like Isabelle Mathers, preparing to make her mark.

Speaking exclusively to News Corp, Akur, 23, said she had a pinch-herself moment when she was cast in Beckham's show, held at Banqueting House in Whitehall.

Signed to IMG Models, Akur strutted the mirrored runway in front of American Vogue editor Anna Wintour and the Beckham family after previously appearing in a shoot for Victoria's look-book.

"I was so nervous because I'd never walked for her," Akur told News Corp in London.

At her fitting, Akur found herself face-to-face with the entire Beckham brood, including Victoria's husband David Beckham and the couple's children, who were watching on.

"They asked where I was from and they're like, 'we like Australians,'" Akur said.

She ruled the runway for London-based designer Richard Quinn, too. Picture: Getty Images
She ruled the runway for London-based designer Richard Quinn, too. Picture: Getty Images

As if being in the presence of one of her fashion idols wasn't enough, Akur found herself quite literally in Beckham's shoes.

Sharing the same size, Posh Spice offered Akur her own pair of bespoke boots to try on, which she ended up wearing in the show.

"I had to walk in them," Akur said. "Then later on, she gave them to me. So I have her boots. The show was so fun."

Agi Akur strutted for Erdem in London. Picture: Getty Images
Agi Akur strutted for Erdem in London. Picture: Getty Images

Akur was born in Kakuma, Kenya, and moved to Australia as a child with her family, as refugees.

They settled in Adelaide, before Akur moved to Sydney last year to pursue modelling.

"I'm based everywhere now, either I'm in London, Paris or Milan," Akur said.

"I basically live in hotels."

Off the runway, Akur said the fashion industry presented challenges for young models but in her trademark style, she has learnt to roll with it.

"There's so much competition you just have to find your lane. It depends on what designers are looking for," Akur said.

Her secret to nailing a fashion week casting?

"The more I prepare, the more I start to get nervous and mess up," she said.

"I listen to music just before I get called in, to calm me down."

With nearly 40,000 followers on Instagram, Akur - unlike other models - is low-key when it comes to social media.

 

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"It's not reality. I just feel like for me, I always liked Instagram but I don't really use it as much, just because it's so much work," she said.

"I don't see myself as an influencer. Once you consider yourself that, people will expect things for you.

"I want to be able to be true to the people who follow me."

 

 

 

 

Earlier this year, Agi Akur modelled for Schiaparelli at Paris couture fashion week. Picture: Getty Images
Earlier this year, Agi Akur modelled for Schiaparelli at Paris couture fashion week. Picture: Getty Images

'I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD DO RUNWAY'

Isabelle Mathers, the Australian model/influencer with 1.1 million followers, posed in an exclusive News Corp shoot in London, ahead of her international runway debut for Philipp Plein in Milan.

"Being shorter, I never thought I could do runway," Mathers, 20, said on set at Hotel Cafe Royal.

"My agent called me and told me, and I was like, 'Are you sure?'

"I just can't believe it. It was like, 'you're literally leaving in five days.'"

During News Corp's shoot, Mathers recognised one of her idols - Victoria's Secret Angel Alessanda Ambrosio - as she walked through the hotel's lobby wearing no makeup.

Isabelle Mathers wearing Hilfiger Collection. Shot on location at Cafe Royal in London. Picture: Lee Oliveira
Isabelle Mathers wearing Hilfiger Collection. Shot on location at Cafe Royal in London. Picture: Lee Oliveira

The next day, Mathers sat front row at Tommy Hilfiger's TOMMYNOW show at Tate Modern, where Ambrosio modelled alongside Naomi Campbell.

Mathers sported a new season Hilfiger Collection outfit, before wearing the brand in the front row at Hilfiger's show at Tate Modern.

Based between the Gold Coast and Sydney, Mathers worked with a catwalk coach ahead of Milan.

She wears Hilfiger Collection blazer ($599) and shorts ($259) available at au.tommy.com. Picture: Lee Oliveira
She wears Hilfiger Collection blazer ($599) and shorts ($259) available at au.tommy.com. Picture: Lee Oliveira

"I did it (walking practice) in the office, I did it at home, and I taped myself," Mathers said.

As for the pressures of social media, Mathers said: "I get the occasional off comment or message but that doesn't phase me. I block it or I laugh.

"I kind of just have to suck it up and be confident, because you can't be in a room with massive personalities and like hide in your shell."

Isabella Mathers sat front row at TOMMYNOW at Tate Modern. Picture: Getty Images for Tommy Hilfiger
Isabella Mathers sat front row at TOMMYNOW at Tate Modern. Picture: Getty Images for Tommy Hilfiger

BURBERRY REGULAR

After making her LFW debut for Burberry last season, Olivia Parsons found herself back on Riccardo Tisci's catwalk for a second time.

Sydney-raised Parsons, 18, walked exclusively for Burberry's LFW show, staged on a mirrored runway at Kensington Olympia's National Hall, alongside Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Irina Shayk.

"(Burberry) had me in a worldwide exclusive, so I could only walk in that show," Parsons said.

This season, the British luxury brand wanted her back. "I did a few castings but I didn't really go to all the show castings, I was quite set on doing Burberry and keeping it quite exclusive in London."

 

Parsons revealed what it was like for her on the day of Burberry's show, one of the most high-profile events at LFW.

"There was quite an early call time … at 11am, for a 5pm show," Parsons said.

"The time flies, I arrived early and got my wristband. You feel kinda cool, like, 'yeah, I've got my wristband I can go through (backstage)'.

"The makeup look was so natural but I think I was in makeup for two and a half hours."

Before the show came the rehearsal.

"That was helpful because I tripped in the rehearsal, I tripped down the stairs," Parsons said, with a laugh.

"The runway was reflective, it was amazing to look at, but walking on it was a bit of a challenge."

The Instagram star was in London to attend Tommy Hilfiger’s TOMMYNOW runway show. Picture: Lee Oliveira
The Instagram star was in London to attend Tommy Hilfiger’s TOMMYNOW runway show. Picture: Lee Oliveira

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