17 High-Fashion Designers’ Favorite Model Muses

STYLECASTER | Fashion Designers' Favorite Models
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Photo: Getty Images. Design: Allison Kahler/STYLECASTER.

Fashion muses are nothing new; these are the models or influential women who inspire designers and their collections. Hubert de Givenchy had Audrey Hepburn (you can thank them for the classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s opening dress), Yves Saint Laurent had Betty Catroux, and Jean Paul Gaultier had Madonna.

MORE: 17 Celebrity Kids Who Grew Up to Become Successful Models

While the word muse has faded out of style, it’s clear that designers still favor certain models. Though it may seem like the Hadid sisters are on every catwalk, their tight alliances lie in the work they do off the runway—think Tommy x Gigi or of the Tommy Hilfiger campaigns they keep doing season after season.

A big indicator of designers’ favorites is the Met Gala. Who shows up with which designer is a big deal, since the Met Gala is invite-only. (Though there are rumors that one can attend for $30,000 a ticket.) The first Monday in May shows which designers think which top models best represent their brand as a whole. If models are dressed for more than one Met Gala by the same designer, that is basically like the designer sticking a “This is my favorite model” pin on them (see Lily Aldridge and Michael Kors).

MORE: 15 Models of Colors Dominating High-Fashion Runways

Another way to spot whom a designer is really vibing with is on the red carpet or on social media. If a model constantly wears the same designer, she is intentionally or unintentionally saying that there is a mutual appreciation. It’s the same on social media; it is super easy to tell which models and designers are friends in real life. Bella Hadid and Virgil Abloh are clearly friends. From the parties and events they attend together to her helping tease his Nike collaboration, there is clear evidence on Instagram.

We have rounded up these special and coveted designer-model friendships and working relationships to show that there are favorites in the fashion world. It is not always catty, but you cannot help who you work or get along well with, and that goes for any industry.

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Alexander Wang Kaia Gerber
Alexander Wang – Kaia Gerber

Cindy Crawford's 17-year-old daughter (who only started modeling when she turned 16) was featured in the designer's "Wang Squad" for his Spring/Summer '16 Instagram campaign, and she's walked in every show of his since September 2017.

In June, Gerber and Wang attended the CFDA Awards together. She was, of course, wearing all Alexander Wang. On the carpet, Gerber expressed how much she loved having Wang as her companion at the event.

"It’s my first CFDAs and my favorite date ever... I always have the most fun with him, so why wouldn’t I go everywhere with him?" she said.

Photo: Thomas Concordia/WireImage.
Ashley graham Prabal Gurung
Prabal Gurung – Ashley Graham

Graham was the face of Gurung's debut Lane Bryant campaign in 2017. The next year, Gurung dressed the model for the Met Gala. Graham most recently walked in his show for his Fall '18 Ready-to-Wear collection.

The two met after Gurung made Graham a custom gown and had her sit front row at one of his shows, but Graham likes to tell a different story.

"But we tell people we met on Grindr," said Graham.

Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Cindy Bruna Balmain
Olivier Rousteing – Cindy Bruna

Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, has worked with Bruna for shows, campaigns and collaborations. She was featured in the Balmain Hair Couture Spring/Summer '16 campaign, was one of the faces of the Balmain x L'Oréal campaign, has appeared in countless Balmain lookbooks and has walked in all of Rousteing's women's ready-to-wear shows since March 2015.

Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.
Lily-Rose Depp Chanel
Karl Lagerfeld – Lily-Rose Depp

The creative director of Chanel, Lagerfeld, cited Depp's mother, Vanessa Paradis, as a longtime muse of the famed French house. It only makes sense that 19-year-old Depp became the youngest ambassador for the brand.

Although she did not walk in the last show, she was one of the first to wear a look from the new collection. She also starred in the N°5 L'EAU perfume campaign film in 2016.

He revealed that his favorite young women are named after his cat, Choupette.

"There are people I call my Choupettes... she [Luna Bijl] and the daughter of Vanessa Paradis, Lily-Rose Depp, they are my Choupettes," said Lagerfeld.

Depp mimed the same sentiments, as she's known the creative director for most of her life.

"I’ve known [Karl] since I was eight—he’s definitely somebody who has been in my life since I was little. I definitely have a lot of Chanel memories growing up," said Depp.

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images.
Adwoa Aboah Dior
Maira Grazia Chiuri – Adwoa Aboah

The two first worked together for Chiuri's debut pre-collection for Christian Dior. The house's first female womenswear creative director had spotted Aboah on catwalks and admired how the model used her elevated voice.

"When I finally met her in person, and I was able to speak with her about her projects and her ‘militant’ activism, I knew she was the perfect person to interpret the spirit of ‘my’ Dior," said Chiuri of Aboah.

Aboah has since starred in a Christian Dior Fall/Winter '17 campaign and walked in several couture shows and every women's ready-to-wear show since March 2017. Aboah also wore Christian Dior to the Met Gala with Cara Delevingne.

Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.
Kitty Spencer Dolce&Gabbana
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana – Kitty Spencer

The duo behind Italian house Dolce & Gabbana love Princess Diana's 27-year-old neice—and we can't blame them; she's royalty.

She walked in the brand's Fall/Winter '18 Alta Moda show in Italy and posted a video of her emotionally crying happy tears during her fitting with the caption, "Happy tears & laughter! My Alta Moda fitting for @dolcegabbana 🌹 I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of their creation and the honor of being ‘Lucia’ in their I Promessi Sposi-inspired show yesterday. I adore this group of people @tabithasimmons @stefanogabbana & Domenico Dolce ♥️."

She appeared in D&G's Spring/Summer '18 campaign, too. And on the runway, Spencer graced the catwalk for the house's latest Spring/Summer '19 Ready-to-Wear Collection.

Photo: Victor Boyko/Getty Images.
Lily Aldridge Michael Kors Met Gala
Michael Kors – Lily Aldridge

Aldridge collaborates professionally and personally with her designer friend and has been featured more than once on Kors's travel blog, Jet Set. She has starred in a 2016 film to promote Michael Kors's fragrance "Wanderlust" and a video campaign for MICHAEL Michael Kors sneakers and has been dressed by Kors more than once for the Met Gala.

Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage.
Emily Ratajkowski Jason Wu
Jason Wu – Emily Ratajkowski
Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images.
Gigi Hadid Moschino Bride
Jeremy Scott – Gigi Hadid

The Moschino and namesake label designer adores both Hadid sisters; his shows were the first time all of the Hadids were on a runway.

"It's crazy, but all the Hadids started with me! Gigi's first time on the runway was at the Jeremy Scott show; she opened and closed it. And then Bella started with me, and we had [their brother] Anwar for his first time, too. It's like losing your virginity," said Scott.

Both of the girls walked in the latest H&M x Moschino show, but Gigi is starring in the campaign. She also iconically closed the Moschino Spring '19 Ready-to-Wear show in a bubble wedding dress with a trail of butterflies. The eldest Hadid sister has also been gracing the Moschino ready-to-wear runway since September 2016.

Photo: Getty Images.
Irina Shayk Versace
Donatella Versace – Irina Shayk

Versace and Shayk recently went to the GQ Men of the Year Awards together in Germany. This is not the first time these two were on a red carpet together. Earlier this year at the Venice Film Festival, Versace and Shayk supported Bradley Cooper at a screening of A Star Is Born. Shayk also wore Versace to this year's Met Gala.

If she's not walking in a show, she's probably front row, cheering on her designer friend. However, Shayk did walk in Versace's Spring '19 Ready-to-Wear show.

Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.
Karlie Kloss Brandon Maxwell
Brandon Maxwell – Karlie Kloss

Maxwell and Kloss are going to be coworkers on Project Runway, but they're already familiar with each other. Kloss wore Maxwell's design to the Met Gala this year and in 2016.

Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.
Gigi Hadid Off-White
Virgil Abloh – Bella Hadid

Abloh and Hadid are both friends and collaborators. Hadid walked in the latest Off-White show in Paris, and they attended the 2017 CFDA Fashion Awards together.

"I'm so incredibly proud of him. I have a lot of faith in him, and he's such a bright light that has so much to show people," said Hadid of Abloh and his role as creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear. She sat front row, next to Naomi Campbell, at his debut show for the French house.

Photo: Getty Images.
Hailey Baldwin Tommy Hilfiger
Tommy Hilfiger – Hailey Baldwin

Hilfiger recruited Baldwin to be a Tommy ICON for his Fall '18 Ready-to-Wear collection debut in Shanghai.

"Hailey has always been an angel; we have always loved Hailey," said Hilfiger.

"I walked in a show with him when I was 18. He’s just really kind. He’s supported me from day one. There’s a loyalty there that I don’t forget about," said Baldwin about Hilfiger.

Baldwin also wore Tommy Hilfiger to the Met Gala this year and has walked in the past two shows.

Photo: Venturelli/WireImage.
Kate Moss Saint Laurent Met Gala
Anthony Vaccarello—Kate Moss

In all honesty, who doesn't love Moss?

She starred in Vaccarello's Saint Laurent Winter '18 and Spring '18 campaigns. Moss also returned to the Met Gala wearing Saint Laurent after not attending since 2009.

At Vaccarello's Spring '19 Women's and Men's shows, Moss appropriately sat front row.

Photo: George Pimentel/Getty Images.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren – Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

You bet RHW showed up to Ralph Lauren's 50th Anniversary show during New York Fashion Week in September. While getting ready, the British model revealed what she thinks about the designer.

"His clothes are classic and glamorous, but they feel modern, too. Five decades in fashion, and Ralph’s still got the magic touch," said Huntington-Whiteley. She has been attending the iconic American designer's shows for a while now.

Huntington-Whiteley also looked like a literal angel in Ralph Lauren at this year's Met Gala, so the love is mutual.

Photo: Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.
Kate Upton Met Gala Zac Posen
Zac Posen – Kate Upton

For Posen's Spring/Summer '18 iPhone video campaign and lookbook, he recruited voluptuous model Kate Upton. A couple of months after the short film was released, the two paired up again for the Met Gala in New York City, where he dressed her in one of his creations.

Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter.
Jourdan Dunn DVF Met Gala
Diane von Furstenberg – Jourdan Dunn

This May, Jourdan Dunn was dressed in Diane von Furstenberg for the Met Gala. This wasn't the first time these two powerhouses worked together.

In 2014, Dunn starred in DVF's video series to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her wrap dress. And in 2016, Dunn along with Karlie Kloss, Kendall Jenner, Elsa Hosk and more were featured in the DVF Fall '16 presentation, where the girls danced and took photos.

Photo: JP Yim/Getty Images

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Know—& Are Friends with—the Royal Family
  • Alexander Wang Kaia Gerber
  • Ashley graham Prabal Gurung
  • Cindy Bruna Balmain
  • Lily-Rose Depp Chanel
  • Adwoa Aboah Dior
  • Kitty Spencer Dolce&Gabbana
  • Lily Aldridge Michael Kors Met Gala
  • Emily Ratajkowski Jason Wu
  • Gigi Hadid Moschino Bride
  • Irina Shayk Versace
  • Karlie Kloss Brandon Maxwell
  • Gigi Hadid Off-White
  • Hailey Baldwin Tommy Hilfiger
  • Kate Moss Saint Laurent Met Gala
  • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Ralph Lauren
  • Kate Upton Met Gala Zac Posen
  • Jourdan Dunn DVF Met Gala

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