Bright Stars

Every season sees its pack of breakout runway stars, but it takes something special to turn that buzz into a lasting career. Max Barczak and Niels Trispel, two of 2015’s busiest show guys, have both had propitious starts this year, with continuing runway success, powerful editorials, and even major campaigns. The two also share more than their sharp features and curly hair—both opened Prada shows last year as exclusives, Trispel in January and Barczak the following June. Marco van Rijt photographed the two nineteen-year-olds on the streets of Paris after the latest round of shows, with Nicole Walker dressing them in bright colors and vibrant designs that capture their youthful energy. We spoke with Trispel in New York after his first American fashion week and Barczak in London just after he stepped off his flight to walk in Burberry’s most recent women’s show to find out how the two of them are dealing with their newfound success and what lies ahead for them in the rest of 2016.

Photographer – Marco van Rijt | Stylist – Nicole Walker (Linkdetails)
Hair – Josephine Mai | Grooming – Anastasia Hess at Scoop Artists (København) | Models – Max Barczak and Niels Trispel
Retouching – Jonathan Vorsselman

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Left: Vest – Humana. T-shirt – Acne Studios. Pants and belts – Anne-Sofie Back Archive. | Right: Coat and shorts – Acne Studios. Sweatshirt – 9-1PPM. Belt – Humana.

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Shirt – Acne Studios. Necklace – Valter Törsleff.

Growing up near Gdańsk in Poland, Max Barczak found his way to his local modeling agency about a year and a half ago through his younger sister. “She wanted to be a model and when she was signing a contract, she told them that she had a brother and the agents wanted to see a picture and then they wanted to see me,” he says. “I went because it was interesting and I had nothing to lose. I didn’t expect it, but it was something new, so why not try it?”

He worked sporadically during his first few months after signing, intent on finishing up school before graduating last summer and finding himself suddenly in the coveted opening slot at Prada. “It was my first show abroad, and it was really, really surprising for me because I didn’t know that I would open until just a few minutes before. Everyone was getting in the queue and they showed me the place in the beginning,” he recalls. Still, he says he was thankful for the last-minute notice, as it gave him little time to think about the magnitude of what he was about to do. “I didn’t have enough time to be really stressed,” he laughs. “If I knew about that the day before, it would probably have been more complicated for me. It’s hard to say what I was feeling because it was all going so fast.”

Success came quickly after that. Barczak went on to walk for Louis Vuitton, Dior Homme, Valentino, and Raf Simons in Paris the following week, as well as in Anthony Vaccarello’s Versus show in London in September before appearing in the Winter 2015 Topman campaign shot by Thomas Cooksey. He says what he likes most about modeling is the opportunity for travel, which is he currently putting to good use on a long stay in Tokyo. “It’s a lot of new experiences and I meet a lot of people and I can travel around the world,” he says about the perks of his new career. “I’m still young and, for people my age, traveling is really amazing and I can see so many cultures.”

This year has found Barczak on the runway at Prada again, Louis Vuitton, Jil Sander, Berluti, JW Anderson, and at Burberry’s shows during both men’s and women’s fashion week. In his rare time off, he stays active by cycling and swimming, and he likes to relax by listening to music from the Fifties and Sixties, with the swinging rhythms of Dean Martin a particular favorite. Barczak’s plan is eventually to return to school to study economics, but until then he is more than content to go wherever the job takes him. “I hope I will see a lot of different things,” he says of his plans for the near future. “I suppose I will always have a lot of memories from this chapter of my life.”

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Left: All clothing by 9-1PPM. Shoes by Kenzo.

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On Max Barczak – All clothing – Kenzo. On Niels Trispel – All clothing – Acne Studios. Shoes – Kenzo.

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Left: Sweatshirt – Acne Studios. Pants – Anne-Sofie Back Archive.

A native of Arnhem, in the Netherlands, Niels Trispel has a birthday party to thank for his new job. “My best mate tried out modeling for a while, but then he quit, but he still had his agent as a Facebook friend,” he explains. “We went to a party for his birthday and there was a camera so he took a picture and based on that picture I got a message a week later like, ‘Hi, I’m Sjaak from Max Models, would you like to model?’ At first, I laughed, but I said why not, and now I’m here.”

“Here” is a rather modest understatement for Trispel, who has already fronted campaigns for Prada, Coach (twice), and Raf Simons in the last year or so, and was under a loose exclusive with Willy Vanderperre for nearly a year, shooting with him for Another Magazine and Document. “I didn’t know anything back then,” Trispel admits when asked if he understood how important it was to be working so closely with the power duo of Vanderperre and stylist Olivier Rizzo, “but it was amazing. They’re really open and outgoing and that’s why I got to learn and love this industry in such a particular way, because they helped build me up.”

Trispel still happily recalls the rush of his first show, opening for Prada in January 2015. “I love adrenaline, but I also didn’t know what was going on at all,” he laughs. “They basically just pushed me on the runway and I came backstage and that was where I grew conscious again and I was like, ‘Ok, what just happened?’ If there’s a lot of excitement in the room, especially with a show like Prada, where all those people are gathered there and they’re really excited about what is going to happen, you can feel that. You can taste that when you walk out there and that experience is quite amazing actually.”

Now modeling full time after graduating last summer, Trispel says that his new career path has pleasantly dovetailed with his original plans to study graphic design and photography, as he has been taking advantage of all his time on set. “It’s definitely going to help me, because you learn a lot as you go along,” he says, even as he regrets not being able to devote as much time as he would like to the web design company he recently started with a friend.

He also says that he considers himself lucky to be traveling so much for work, fulfilling the vague ideas he had for what would otherwise have been his gap year before university. “I always wanted to travel and I was busy trying to set up a plan where I could somehow manage to get a van and go around Europe,” he says. “Instead, I’m traveling and it’s a major part of my job. You get to see the world and so many different ways of thinking and looking at things.”

Still, the life of a globetrotting model may not be exactly what Trispel had in mind. “If I weren’t modeling right now, I’d hopefully be in that van,” he laughs, “and I’d probably be plucking tomatoes on a farm somewhere.”

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Left: On Max Barczak – Top – Humana. Pants – 9-1PPM. Shoes – Kenzo. On Niels Trispel – Jacket – Dries Van Noten. T-shirt – Anne-Sofie Back Archive. Pants – Nicola Indelicato. Belt – Saint Laurent. Shoes – Kenzo. | Right: Sweater and scarf – Nicola Indelicato. Necklace – Humana.

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Right: All clothing – Acne Studios. Shoes – Kenzo.

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