Prada has long been the bellwether for many of modeling's biggest faces. For years, Miuccia Prada entrusted casting director Russell Marsh with the task of selecting the show’s always directional, sometimes questionable catwalk models. Through Marsh’s multiyear partnership, Prada introduced Daria Werbowy, Sasha Pivovarova, and Arizona Muse into fashion's vocabulary. That was until the label hired American agent Ashley Brokaw for Prada’s fall 2012 show, which happened earlier today.
Brokaw was previously casting director for Balenciaga, rag & bone, and Proenza Schouler; she dropped the latter two this season, to focus on Prada and Balenciaga. While Marsh might be best known for booking more muted, contained-type beauties (think Eastern European, and more recently, Scandinavian) for Prada, Brokaw tends to favor a slightly harder, more mature, kind of tomboy aesthetic for her shows — think Aymeline Valade and Milou van Groesen.
So, considering the power shift from Marsh to Brokaw, what was new about the model cast at Prada this season? Aside from the opening looks' six new faces, not much. Brokaw stayed true to the Prada runway tradition, casting a mix of the label's favorite faces (Meghan Collison, Lindsey Wixson, and Ymre Stiekema), alongside more established ones (Guinevere van Seenus, Natasha Poly, and Anne Vyalitsyna). The models walked with a kind of progression: new faces first, followed by rising ones (Lara Mullen and Katryn Kruger), and then the closing looks on van Seenus, Poly, and finally, Iselin Steiro. There were surprising appearances by several underrated faces — Cora Emmanuel, Kel Markey, and Tilda Lindstam — but otherwise, today's runway looked a lot like previous seasons at Prada.
It might have been exciting to see Brokaw take Prada's long-celebrated show in a new direction, but there's always next season.