Daria Werbowy


The Girl Who Changed Fashion Ideals Forever


Photographer Mikael Jansson’s position within the world of fashion means that there is hardly a single top model around who he hasn’t already worked with. And yet, Daria Werbowy is in a level of her own. She is counted among the very few models whose style and looks have cleared the path for an entirely new ideal of beauty. This kind of thing happens maybe once a decade. Her trademark attitude, which is simultaneously confident and restrained, along with her fearless personality, and her passion for sailing and adventure, made her the perfect collaboration partner for Mikael Jansson to work with for his archipelago series, which is named after her, of course: Daria, The Archipelago Series (2014).

“She’s ’transgressive’ – that is, she’s kind of a link between Kate Moss and Gisele Bündchen, as in edgy, but approachable – in other words, perfect!”, states fashion expert and fashion editor Agnes Grefberg Braunerhielm.

Comparisons with Kate Moss, who revolutionized the heavy makeup look, and transformed ideals practically overnight when she ushered in the natural beauty look, without visible makeup. Her natural, exciting features made hers a durable appeal, which has stood the test of time long past the usual retirement date for a model.

What makes Daria so special is the way she can be so radiant, a total bombshell, but also blend into the crowd. The fashion world was literally breathless when she modelled in Juergen Teller’s shoot for Céline in 2011. After years of maximalism and makeup, here was a girl in comfortable clothes, with her hair barely done, says Agnes Grefberg Braunerhielm.

Daria Werbowy was born in the Ukraine in 1984, her career showed few signs of going supernova early on. She was a rather unwilling model, and her career wasn’t headed anywhere too exciting. And things could have ended up a lot worse, too. 

Daria was 18, and it was truly do or die for her as she was about to walk her first runway in New York. She was hoping that this might prove to be her big break, but that same day, the World Trade Center terror attacks hit, and everything came to a halt for months. The story could have ended there. She was living a vagrant lifestyle in Europe and had started to consider enrolling at an art school. As it happened, she ran in to her old agent, and the next day, she was booked to do a unique show for Prada. After that, her life became more of a “blur,” as she puts it. Since then, she’s worked with people like Helmut Newton and Steven Meisel. And–that’s right–she’s the current record-holder for longest time served as the face of the cosmetics brand Lancôme.

Even though Daria Werbowy has had an impressive and long career, it seems fair to say that her style is still very much in demand more than ten years down the road. She was the one who established the “new look” that the whole fashion world has taken after, i.e.: no makeup, no photo editing. Scars, pigments, and small wrinkles are left visible. In fact, Daria is the main reason why the fashion industry is looking for older models, who possess distinctive looks and attitudes, rather than some specific body type or stereotypical conception of beauty.

An unaffected suntan, messy hair, and clothing that enfolds her rather than packages her. Daria Werbowy seems to be in her element in the archipelago. In any case, "Daria, The Archipelago series" is a masterpiece of art and fashion photography fusion, and a masterful documentation of a photographer and model collaboration.

A tip: follow Daria’s tasteful and artsy feed @dotwillow on Instagram.

Daria, The Archipelago series by Mikael Jansson shown at CFHILL until June 30, 2018.

Daria, The Archipelago series # 4,  Sweden, 2014. Silver gelatin print aluminium mount 68,9 x 55,8 cm (5 + 2 AP) 104,2 x 82,2 cm (3 + 2 AP 144,2 x 112,3 cm (1 + 2 AP) Available at CFHILL.

Daria, The Archipelago series # 4, Sweden, 2014.
Silver gelatin print aluminium mount
68,9 x 55,8 cm (5 + 2 AP)
104,2 x 82,2 cm (3 + 2 AP
144,2 x 112,3 cm (1 + 2 AP)
Available at CFHILL.