Runway News

Model Grace Hartzel: Meet Hedi Slimane’s Muse and Fashion’s Next Big Thing

Image: IMAXtree

Grace Hartzel for Saint Laurent Fall 2014 / Image: IMAXtree

Get to know the name Grace Hartzel, because this girl about to get big. Represented by Next Models, Hartzel made her fashion month debut for the Fall 2014 season at Saint Laurent, where she opened and closed the show.

After the final walk, the label sent out a flurry of tweets about Grace, boasting that she appeared as an exclusive and served as the collection's primary muse — apparently each look was fitted to her as part of the design process.

Saint Laurent announced that Hartzel would be the face of the brand's upcoming permanent collection and noted that she also stars in a new video from Curtis Harding (a frequent Saint Laurent Music Project collaborator). 

The two outlets that reported on this announcement (the Los Angeles Times and The Guardian) both insinuated that Hartzel had been plucked from obscurity by Saint Laurent's ever-cool maverick designer, Hedi Slimane

"To wit, it was announced via social media at show's end that the collection was made on 16-year-old model* Grace Hartzel, who has gone from Indianapolis to international runway star in what seems like a minute," wrote Booth Moore for the LA Times.

Except it didn't take a minute, it took two years. (Not to mention: Grace wasn't a full exclusive with Saint Laurent, she also walked on the supermarket runway for Chanel; additionally, Hartzel appears in the Spring 2014 issue of Love Magazine, one of fashion's most influential publications — but more on all that later.)

From what I can gather, Grace made her runway debut at the Christian Dior Fall 2012 runway show. That July, she modeled two other Paris couture collections: Georges Hobelka and Rad Hourani (she opened the latter show). 

Let's fast-forward through her young career: In September, she walked in 25 shows for the Spring 2013 season, including for Marc Jacobs, J.W AndersonDolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Grace then cemented herself as a Chanel staple, modeling the Paris-Edinburgh Pre-Fall range and the Spring 2013 couture collection. 

For Fall 2013, the American model appeared in 40 shows; she walked for Chanel and made her Saint Laurent runway debut. (You can see her full showlist here, assembled by the amazing @Stereo_Flo.)

Grace Hartzel for Chanel FW13 (left) and Saint Laurent FW13 (right) / Image: IMAXtree

Grace Hartzel for Chanel FW13 (left) and Saint Laurent FW13 (right) / Image: IMAXtree

Last September, Grace maintained a heavy Fashion Week load. By my count, she appeared in 32 shows from New York to Paris, leading one tFSer to ask whether she might try being more selective:

"She should honestly just skip all shows except Chanel and Saint Laurent, she's pretty much a fixture at both and all the other shows are bringing her down," was how teaars put it in October. 

Grace Hartzel for Chanel SS14 (left) and Saint Laurent SS14 (right) / Image: IMAXtree

Grace Hartzel for Chanel SS14 (left) and Saint Laurent SS14 (right) / Image: IMAXtree

Which brings us to another point: at the Paris Fashion Week shows, Grace Hartzel walked the runway for Chanel and Saint Laurent for the third season in a row — but this time, she's getting tons of attention for it. 

Amazing coincidence that this game-winning strategy was floated in the forums before it was implemented by her agency? Most probably, yes — a coincidence. However, we do know that quite a few agents follow forum feedback on emerging runway models, and we wouldn't be totally surprised to find out that in this case, Grace Hartzel's agent acted on some good advice. 

As mentioned above, Hartzel also just appeared in a story photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for the Spring 2014 issue of LOVE Magazine — a publication that is edited by Katie Grand, who has recently been in the news for her key role in Kendall Jenner's emerging modeling career. After the Saint Laurent show, Grand sent out a Tweet of support: a photo of Grace Hartzel with the caption, "Love Saint Laurent."

We have reached out to Next Models for comment and will update when we hear back. 

Grace Hartzel for Chanel Fall 2014 / Image: IMAXtree

Grace Hartzel for Chanel Fall 2014 / Image: IMAXtree


*In April 2013, IndyStar (Hartzel's hometown paper) reported that the model was 17 years old. We have reached out to Hartzel's agency, Next Models, to verify her current age. 

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