Photography Max Abadian
Styling Cary Tauben
Art Direction Sylvain Blais
Irina has porcelain skin, a heart-shaped mouth, and doe eyes. She also has a blossoming career: she’s part muse for the biggest luxury brand names, singer, and musician. Irina Lazareanu brings fire to the stage! This is the voyage of an atypical star standing on top of the world! By Elsa Vecchi
A Montrealer by adoption, Irina Lazareanu is a rare fashion phenomenon! To begin with, Karl Lagerfeld single-handedly brought her career to the top after fashion designer Philippe Dubuc scouted her. “I’ve been modelling for over 20 seasons. Isn’t that crazy?” Says Lazareanu in her caressing voice. You’d never guess she’s done a multitude of photo shoots for Vogue, W or Citizen K, in luxurious publicity campaigns for top names from Chanel, Balenciaga, Just Cavalli, to Mulberry. These, of course, are the likes of names that seek out her radiating charisma. “Do you know,” Lazareanu asks, “what I’m going to do right now? I’m going to go to the Old Port with only one mission in mind: buy a beaver tail and chill in the sun.” You would’ve never guessed that side of her either, but there you’ve just learned that one of the greatest models of our time likes nothing better than to pass time in the city that has happily welcomed her and her family as political refugees from Romania. “There’s also my boyfriend Guillaume who lives here. He also happens to be a dancer that I just got engaged to! All that to say that I have a lot that keeps me to this city.” Pause. Take a few steps back: Irina Lazareanu’s destiny has led her down a remarkable and exceptional journey. Starting with fashion. Nicolas Ghesquière, creative director at Balenciaga, was one of the first to dress her Eastern doll-like body. The man who then decidedly launched her to top model status was Karl Lagerfeld, designer for the Chanel house, a.k.a. her “mentor”. For years, there wasn’t a single show by the famous fashion house without Irina in it. She was an atypical physique in a stereotypical world, right down to her unique walk: a particular sway that made her so different from fellow models. Magnetic personality, charismatic muse, Irina both attracts and provokes unique relationships. Shortly after her teens she met Pete Doherty– before there was even the Libertines– who went on to become the controversial group leader of Babyshambles, and with who she has been composing and playing music with ever since. Doherty became an unwavering friend.
Last spring, she was selected as the muse for the famous singer’s capsule collection for the most British of French brands, The Kooples. (Re)Pause. “Irina, what musical styles do you like?” Response: “I love Dylanesque (Bob Dylan) vocal spins! Even more, I love English rock from the ‘60s and ‘70s. And I can assure you that modelling is conducive to an active musical interest. Between flights, loneliness in foreign places, and restlessness in new hotels, an iPod is vital!” Another key encounter in her life was with Sean Lennon, a.k.a. the famous “son”, and faithful friend. Together they’ve composed an album. “Only the name, “Strange Places”, has seen the light of day for the time being. There are still some kinks that need to be worked out,” says the girl on top of the world. Lazareanu performed on stage with Sean Lennon during, not surprisingly, a Chanel fashion show. “Live music is a crazy thing, both scary and exciting all at once.” Then, as if to put the cherry on top of the cake, last December Lazareanu got to see one of her dreams come true: mythic Liverpool rock group, Echo and The Bunnymen, called her for a collaboration. “I recorded three songs with them, of which one of them is called “Madeleine”. It was brilliant! But, music for me is still just a past time, same as writing, and reading– my other passions. I have a lot left to learn still!” Evidently, she’s also modest. And so goes the amazing career of Irina Lazareanu, at once famous model, musician, and stylist. To believe that the young Romanian, landed in Montréal at the age of five, believed she was destined for a career as a ballet dancer? Things went a littler further than she’d dreamed. Sometimes, life is crazy.
Makeup, Leslie-Anne Thomson at Folio using M.A.C. cosmetics and Tresemme. Hair, Braydon Nelson. Models, Irina Lazareanu and Khier. Photographer’s Assistant, Greg Beck. Styling Assistant, Maxine Iannuccelli. Retouching, Nicolas Blanchet and Flashlight Studio.