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She’s the model of the moment, but Catherine McNeil was a notable absence from Milan Fashion Week after she was struck down by a mystery illness.

The Aussie beauty was forced to pull out of the penultimate fashion event because she was unwell, her agent confirmed yesterday.


While she is recuperating in Europe, it is not yet known whether she will be better in time to take part in the next round of catwalk shows, which began in France this week.

“She’s just got a recurring sickness,” her local agent Kathy Ward, from Chic Model Management, told Confidential.

“It’s nothing too bad but she does get this problem every so often. She might be at Paris (for Fashion Week) – we’re not sure.”

While she would not be drawn on the exact nature of the illness, Ward said McNeil’s hectic schedule may have played a part.

“She works every day,” she said. “There’s big demands on these girls. During the show season they work from seven in the morning until two in the morning.”

Last month McNeil, who grew up in Queensland, opened the Diane von Furstenberg show at New York Fashion Week.

She also stars on the cover of the November issue of Australian Vogue.

The New York-based model has already featured in a Versace campaign with Kate Moss and modelled for Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga.

Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.