In this age of chaos and uncertainty, when Prime Ministers have the life of the salad, let us be grateful for a constant and calming presence. She’s the sphinx-like face of every billboard, the body that redefined the term “spray dress,” and the mind that coined the phrase “homeboys are, like, gonna get it” while retaining enough cultural capital to sell you mascara. She is Bella Hadid and she is everywhere.
At Paris Fashion Week this month, Hadid dominated, walking 19 shows. Among them was Thom Browne, who said: “She’s a unique talent in a generation that transcends fashion and creates her own world. You look at her and you want to inhabit that world. She’s got 27 international Vogue covers under her belt. , British Vogue editor Edward Enninful telling me, “Her style blends classic elegance with bold, fresh looks that she sets with total individuality.” And earlier this week, the British Fashion Council told her nominated for Model of the Year at the Fashion Awards.
Hadid belongs to a new breed of models who have circumvented the tradition of being discovered in a mall by being born to incredibly wealthy and well-connected parents (see also: Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, Kaia Gerber and Lila Moss). His mother is former Dutch model Yolanda Hadid, notable as a retired Beverly Hills real housewife with a walk-in glass fridge and an approach to dieting that advocates chewing two “really good” almonds. . Her father is Palestinian real estate developer Mohamed Hadid, who once beat Donald Trump for development rights to a site in Aspen. It’s a classic wealth-to-wealth tale.
More importantly, Bella’s sister is fellow model Gigi Hadid, whose fame predated hers by two years. Blonde-haired and blue-eyed, Gigi represented a girl-next-door, all-American aesthetic, in contrast to Bella’s more aloof appeal. “I was the ugliest sister. I was the brunette. I wasn’t that outgoing,” Bella told Vogue this year. “That’s really what people were saying about me. And unfortunately, when you’re told things so many times, you just believe them.
Despite her insecurities, Bella was positioned as a bolder alternative to Gigi. And according to iD editor Felix Petty, “Bella has grown into the most interesting phase of her career over the past two years, overtaking what came before it – nepotism baby, fake, not a ‘real’ model – to the extent that even mentioning these now seems ridiculous. She’s the face of post-pandemic fashion: sexy, glamorous, fun, casual, major. She’s also amorphous, she can do Sacai as easily as Balenciaga too easily than Isabel Marant: three very different versions of femininity, sex appeal, creativity.”
Hadid went viral after closing Coperni’s PFW show, where a dress was spray-painted onto her topless body using Fabrican technology. “Who else could Coperni have chosen for his stunt? Petty asks.
Fashion writer Hannah Marriott, who interviewed Hadid, observed her “working to show that she really ‘gets’ fashion and is willing to work really hard for it. It’s the kind of respect fashion stalwarts love to see. Away from the catwalks, Hadid has been applauded for her off-duty look, which Marriott says “feels authentic: She’s always dressed experimentally and edgy off-duty — more Y2K or Comme des Garçons than Dolce and Gabbana.” . When Y2k juggernaut Miss Sixty began positioning itself for a revival, Hadid’s love of vintage made her the natural choice to pitch their 2022 campaign (a spokesperson told me she was chosen for his “young, versatile and unique personal style”, as well as “a genuine love for the brand”).
Hadid’s ability to boost a fashion brand’s profits is dubbed “the Bella Effect” by influencer marketing platform Lefty. This season, she added an average of 29% to the expected dollar value of the brands she walked for (up to 90% for Jil Sander). The platform attributes this to its 56 million Instagram followers, with an above-average engagement rate of 2%.
Browne credits Hadid’s fame to being “a true professional and her appreciation of everything that goes on behind the scenes to create the magic is magnificent.” More importantly, he is such a nice person. Marriott agrees that Hadid is known for being “nice to the whole crew, which really matters. She is also incredibly serious in her desire to improve as a model. From Hadid’s own account, “On set, I’ll ask people about the lights, or why a photographer liked to shoot on a Hasselblad, or how the art director decided on the character he wanted me to be.”
Despite her growing reputation, Hadid hasn’t escaped unflattering scrutiny. Instagram and TikTok are full of accounts comparing before and after shots, speculating on surgeries (among the suspected procedures were an eye lift, jawline shaping and lip and cheek fillers). A photo shows Hadid with her mother and former stepfather (composer and music executive David Foster) on a red carpet in 2010, looking markedly different than she would have two years later when she started modeling. Rumors are swirling that she acquired her feline features after visiting a plastic surgeon with photos of model and former French first lady Carla Bruni. Speaking to InStyle in 2018, Hadid said, “People think I had all this surgery or I did this or that. And you know what? We can scan my face, honey. I wouldn’t want to ruin my face. However, earlier this year she confirmed that she had rhinoplasty when she was 14, a decision she regrets. “I wish I had kept my nose ancestors,” she said. “I think I would have grown into it.” Still, she refutes the misconception that she made her way into the fashion elite via industrial amounts of ‘injectables.” People think I completely fucked my face because of a picture of me as a bloated teenager. I’m sure you don’t look the same as you did when you were 13, do you? I have never used filler. Let’s put an end to this. I have no problem with it, but it’s not for me. Anyone who thinks I’m looking up or whatever it’s called, that’s face tape! The oldest trick in the book. I had this impostor syndrome where people made me feel like I didn’t deserve any of this stuff. People always have something to say, but what I have to say is that I have always been misunderstood.
While the provenance of her nose or her lips might have been questioned, few could question the authenticity with which Hadid spoke about her struggles with Lyme disease and poor mental health, or her support for Palestinian causes. “She grew beyond the usual superficial-platitudinal model language by thoughtfully articulating body image, mental health fame, privacy, her Palestinian heritage,” Petty explains. “She deserves praise and admiration for speaking up, to be honest, when it would be so much easier not to.” Last year, Hadid shared several photos of herself crying, along with a caption that read, “I’ve had enough breakdowns and burnouts to know: if you work hard enough on yourself Even spend time alone to understand your traumas, triggers, joys, and routine, you will always be able to understand or learn more about your own pain and how to deal with it. , she spent two and a half weeks in a treatment program in Tennessee and has since credited the therapy with changing her life.
Hadid has been equally outspoken in her support for Palestinian causes, telling the Rep podcast, “I’ve had so many companies stop working with me, I have friends who have completely abandoned me.” In May 2021, she was accused of being “a supporter of throwing Jews into the sea” by Israel’s official Twitter account after attending a pro-Palestinian march. However, Donatella Versace responded to a free Palestine Instagram post from Hadid with the comment “Donatella VERSACE” and a purple heart emoji (Your guess is as good as ours).
Model, activist, whisperer apprentice to Donatella – maybe Bella Hadid is proof that not all heroes wear capes. Some wear Givenchy and live by the maxim “be fierce, be fierce, be fierce”.