17 High-Fashion Designers’ Favorite Model Muses

STYLECASTER | Fashion Designers' Favorite Models
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.

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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).

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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.