THE RED FLAME
Maxim|September - October 2020
THE RED FLAME
How Karen Elson changed the way we think about supermodels and fashion
JARED PAUL STERN

British supermodel Karen Elson is one of the world’s most iconic redheads; even if you don’t recognize her name at first, you’re sure to vividly recall her image. She cata-pulted to fame in the late ’90s when the legendary Steven Meisel photographed her for the cover of Vogue Italia on her 18th birthday, signaling a new aesthetic distinct from both the previous decade and the more conventionally beautiful supermodels of the era such as Cindy Crawford.

Since then she has graced over 60 magazine covers, including more than 40 international editions of Vogue, W, Dazed Numéro, Harper’s Bazaar UK, InStyle, and Nylon. In September 2008 she was dubbed “Fashion’s red queen” on the cover of British Vogue. Her position as the face of luxury cosmetics brand Jo Malone London is just one among dozens of lucrative contracts she has obtained over the years in addition to appearances in fashion shows for the likes of Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Valentino, and Gucci.

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September - October 2020