Coveteur presents three essential spring trends—modeled by three emerging models, and shot by three female photographers.

Part of what makes fashion so compelling is that behind so many great looks and collections is a cadre of designers, models, photographers, and stylists dedicated to bringing them to life. Yes, an elaborate silk dress, a crystal-adorned sandal, and perfectly tailored trousers can be stunning all on their own, but when elevated by the aforementioned talents, that’s what makes them truly alluring—soul stirring, even.

In thinking about how to exalt three top spring trends—beige, ruffles, and luxe hippie—we wanted to bring together a group of industry talents on the rise, the future faces of fashion, so to speak. And when we wrote down our dream list of models and photographers to work with, they were all women. From there we paired models with trends, matched photographers with models, and completed the crew with three more women on hair, makeup, and styling. The day of the shoot, we were all enamored by the looks—a modern mix of heritage brands and emerging labels—but the group assembled on set was just as impressive. Save for a few assistants, this was an all-women production, and nothing is more beautiful than that.

Ahead, explore three top trends for spring, and learn about the emerging talents in front of and behind the camera.

A dose of drama has never looked better. From voluminous ruffled dresses to subtle frilly accents, this trend is nothing short of delightful. It naturally lends itself to a night of partying, but on a more refined scale, works just as well for the office or casual weekend plans.

The Model: Dominique Babineaux

What meets the eye is that Dominique Babineaux’s work is magnetic. Her campaigns for Gap and L’Oréal are the type that make passersby stop in their tracks and ask themselves, “Who is that?” What doesn’t meet the eye, however, is that her current ascent is no accident. While her high school classmates were busying themselves with classic teenage thrills like going to the mall, the San Antonio–born model and trained violinist was rushing home to watch fashion shows on YouTube. Her passion was palpable, prompting her mom to nurture it as much as she could. “When I graduated from high school, her gift was to bring me to New York for the first time,” she says. “We came here and stayed for a week, and by the time we got back, my mom was like, ‘That’s where you need to be.’ We packed up within a month. My mom lived in Texas her whole life—she’s almost 60—but she started over for me.” Following a series of rejections received while juggling multiple jobs in retail, Babineaux found herself on the brink of quitting. But just as she was about to, her boyfriend introduced her to an agency, and she was swiftly signed. Today her goals are twofold: “I’ve always dreamed of working with Tim Walker and Peter Lindburgh; I want to be the type of model that they want to work with,” she says. “And part of the reason I work so hard is for my mother. She’s my rock, my best friend. I want to be able to afford a house for her, and I want her to be able to retire soon.”

The Photographer: Emily Soto

“When I was really young, I would make clothes for my dolls and do photo shoots, but I grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, so I didn’t think of photography or fashion as career choices,” Emily Soto says. That slowly started to change when her husband, a former wedding photographer, taught her how to shoot and invited her to work with him. Though weddings weren’t her forte, she fell in love with the creativity of photography and eventually found her niche shooting film. “I love film because it’s so classic and timeless, and I love emotion and trying to capture that in a model.” That discovery marked the end of her career in accounting at health-care group Kaiser Permanente, and she’s since been tapped for exhibits both in the US and abroad, collaborating with Impossible Project and Lomography. She’s earned as much praise for her enchanting Polaroids and 35 mm film portraits as she has for the breadth of her subjects. “One of my goals is to create timeless work that will resonate with people and that people will still love in 20 years,” she says. “I hope that when people look at my work, they feel connected to the subject in some way and feel beautiful.”

“I hope that when people look at my work, they feel connected to the subject in some way and feel beautiful.”

Now is the time to channel your inner sophisticate. Beige is a look du jour for the season, arriving in an array of shades and silhouettes. Fully commit with a monochromatic look, or kick these neutrals up a notch with the addition of colorful accessories.

The Model: Havana Liu

“I laugh every time I read that heading,” Havana Liu says of Refinery29 recently dubbing her Fashion’s Latest It Girl. “I feel as though maybe it’s redefinition of fashion in some sense, because I’m definitely not fashion’s new It Girl, as I’ve seen them exist in the past.” Born and raised in Brooklyn, the NYU student initially found it “really creepy and confusing” when scouts approached her as a teen, but credits her agents with helping her carve out her own space in the industry. “I’ve learned another side of modeling, which is that you can have a voice and you can shape that, rather than going along with an image someone else is providing you to mold into.” As for her studies in art activism and wellness, they speak to her myriad of interests and belief that, beyond conveying creativity, art has the power to heal. “Art has always had a really great through line with different social movements and has a very impactful way of reflecting culture,” she says. “It’s therapeutic.”

The Photographer: Makeda Sandford

Growing up in a family of artistic women, Raleigh, North Carolina native Makeda Sandford knew she was destined for creative pursuits. “For a while I wanted to be a fashion designer, and then a stylist, but I got a camera in eighth grade, and that was a wrap,” she says. Her portfolio is a mix of stunning portraits for fashion campaigns, vibrant snaps from late-night parties, and editorial work—one of the most affirming projects, she tells us, being a shoot for Teen Vogue’s Platform. Also notable is that Sandford takes on theses assignments while also working full-time as a social media editor and writing pieces on fashion and culture for sites like Saint Heron. Though we’re in an era where Instagram suggests we should reach the pinnacle of success before turning 30, 24-year-old Sandford would rather not put herself on a timeline. “I’m trying not to stress myself out about that,” she says. “I’m trying to take my time.”

“I’ve learned another side of modeling, which is that you can have a voice and you can shape that, rather than going along with an image someone else is providing you to mold into.”

Free-spirited fashion with a touch of luxury? Sign us up. Tie-dyed separates, flowy skirts, and fun accessories are all the rage right now, and for good reason. We could all stand to chill out a bit.

The Model: Jill Kortleve

Three years ago Jill Kortleve was living in Amsterdam, not completely sure what she wanted to pursue professionally, but not necessarily in a rush to figure it out, either. The south Holland native was just happy to be out of her insular hometown. “Growing up in a small town was quite boring,” she says. “People were very close-minded, so moving to Amsterdam was a nice transition.” There, two of her close friends decided to open a modeling agency that would buck the trend of only signing very tall, very thin girls. “They saw something in me, I guess, something I didn’t see yet,” she says. Still, Kortleve felt pressure to conform to the industry’s dated standards. “I struggled a little bit in the beginning. I thought I had to be skinny, so I was trying to be, but that’s not how my body is built.” When she told her agency she wanted to quit, they urged her to stop stressing out about her weight. “Now that I’m a curve model, I’m super happy,” she says. “It worked out for me, and I hope that by doing the work I do, the fashion industry will continue to be healthier.”

The Photographer: Natalia Mantini

Google Natalia Mantini, and you’ll come across the L.A. native’s work for Office, Paper, Interview, and a little-known publication called The New York Times, the latter of which she shot Oscar nominee Yalitza Oparicio for. Before all of these shoots, though, Mantini was a teenager documenting punk shows in Southern California and later, the type of multi-tasking young New Yorker most aspiring creative professionals can relate to. “I’ve always worked other jobs while taking photos, so before these projects happened, I was waitressing, bartending, hostessing, doing photo assistant work, doing production assistant work, familiarizing myself with all aspects of being on set… I was working nonstop.” The majority of Mantini’s portraits are of women, and she’s especially drawn to subjects who’ve historically been silenced or overlooked. “Shooting Yalitza was one of the most special shoots I’ve ever done,” she says. “The visibility and response we received from the Latinx community made it feel like such meaningful work.” Mantini is keenly mindful of her own platform, too. “Because I’m self-taught, it’s important for me to show that you can make work coming from different paths; so people can see that just because you didn’t go to school or don’t come from a certain type of background, it’s still possible to create work that you’re drawn to. I think a lot about younger people who may relate to my process.”

“I struggled a little bit in the beginning. I thought I had to be skinny, so I was trying to be, but that’s not how my body is built… Now that I’m a curve model, I’m super happy.”
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