With household names dominating the red carpet we introduce to emerging stars setting the art and fashion world on fire.
Nadia Lee Cohen
Nadia Lee Cohen is the current muse of couture house Elsa Schiaparelli. The 29-year-old British-born but Los Angeles-based photographer has developed a cult following through her vintage-inspired yet very contemporary work. It is a natural partnership with Sciaperelli seeing as there is kitsch surrealism in Cohen’s work.
Cohen’s skills have also seen her build up an impressive portfolio of commercial work – including capturing Kim Kardashian for a Skims campaign, directing music videos for A$AP Rocky and Tyler, the Creator, was personally picked by creative director Daniel Roseberry as a face of Schiaparelli, as well as creating a short film for fashion house Maison Margiela.
Now, the London College of Fashion alumna has released the third edition of her sell-out photo book, Women, an assemblage of 100 women pictured in varying states of undress, including Alexa Demie and Richie Shazam. “I enjoy storytelling and struggle to work when there isn’t one to be told,” Cohen told British Vogue. “I spent six years constantly alert to my surroundings and on the lookout for ideas and inspiration .”
It’s been less than 10 years since Cohen graduated from the London College of Fashion. Her instantly recognisable work — stylised golden age of Hollywood shots which have been described as “veritable visions of saturated, surreal dreamscapes” — has since garnered critical acclaim and she was included in the National Portrait Gallery’s prestigious Taylor Wessing portrait prize when she was just 21.
A limited run of her second photography book was released in December and the second edition hit shelves this month. Hello My Name Is… is a series of self-portraits in which Cohen embodies 33 different characters and it’s already sold out.
Anok Yai was discovered at a university homecoming party after her photo became viral on Instagram. During Howard University’s homecoming week, Yai was shot by a professional photographer, whose Instagram photo quickly went viral, garnering over 20,000 likes in 24 hours. She eventually signed with Next Models worldwide. She became the first black model to open a Prada show since Naomi Campbell in 1997.
Born in Egypt of Sudanese descent, Yai’s family moved to Manchester, New Hampshire when she was two. She graduated from Manchester High School West and attended Plymouth State University, majoring in biochemistry. Since then, Yai has appeared in a number of campaigns for the brand, as well as a campaign for Nike’s collaboration with Givenchy’s former creative director Riccardo Tisci. She has also featured in editorials for British Vogue, Dazed, V Magazine, and AnOther Magazine, and covered issues of Vogue Italia, CR Fashion Book, and W Magazine.
Danish designer Cecilie Bahnsen has had a sharp rise to success with her business growing rapidly and her pieces dominating Instagram feeds. Bahnsen graduated with a Master of Arts in Womenswear Design from London’s Royal College of Art and worked as a print designer for John Galliano before launching her namesake womenswear line in 2015. Handmade in Bahnsen’s native Copenhagen, the label’s idiosyncratically feminine ready-to-wear pieces, are meticulously crafted with uniquely engineered textiles using traditional techniques, such as quilting, patchwork, and appliqué, earned the young designer a nomination for the prestigious 2017 LVMH Prize.
Faye Wei Wei
In 2018, at only 24 Faye Wei Wei took over Manchester's Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art with her motif-filled works, and even performed in the fantasy musical Care at the ICA as well as being profiled
by British Vogue. She graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in London, UK (BA Hons) in 2016. According to the Galerie Kandlhofer website, Wei Wei conceives of the painting process as an intimate choreography between actual and pictorial space. Often revolving around spiritual iconography and classical myth, love rituals, and the theatricality of gender, her works sometimes suggest the themes of particular mythic narratives, and at other moments seem to depart into a more ambiguous, interior space of incongruity and uncertainty.
Wei Wei was awarded a commission by the British Council Hong Kong, in collaboration with Phillips Auction House, as part of the SPARK program (2019) and received the Cass Art painting prize for Final Year Slade Graduates (2016).