Anne Watanabe/Vision. Ph Leslie Kee for Japanese Bazaar
Last season Milan (and especially the Prada show) seized the intiative from NY and became the defining city for breaking new faces. This will happen again for S/S 06. In between the increasingly strict US visa regulations and the conservative casting policies being displayed by mainstream NY designers, only two or three slots per show are opening for new faces on the NY market. Add to that a glut of new models, so much so that the NY shows have only started to digest FW 05 campaign sensations like Sasha P/IMG and Freja/IMG that it’s clear that breakthroughs are going to be few and far between. That said, 10 key newcomers are beginning to emerge as models of great promise for the upcoming season, the first on our radar being Japanese sensation Anne Watanabe, daughter of actor Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins, The Last Samurai). OTM caught up with the ultra-cool newcomer for dinner just before show week and was won over by Anne’s cool girl nonchalance mixed with point perfect manners. With those long lithe limbs that read so well on the runway and features that can go from anime to elegant in two seconds flat, it’s clear that this girl is ready for her moment.