How Ursula Wångander, a 1980s Model, Landed a Spot on the Balenciaga Runway

How Ursula Wångander, a 1980s Model, Landed a Spot on the Balenciaga Runway

There’s something to be said for experience; surely it contributed to Ursula Wångander’s ability to keep on her feet as she walked through the kinetic and somewhat trippy video installation Demna Gvasalia commissioned from artist Jon Rafman for the Spring 2019 Balenciaga show. “It was a really special set and you had to be really, really focused,” said the 52-year-old Swedish stylist on the phone from Stockholm. “I tried not to see what was happening around, because you know the floor was moving, the walls were moving, it was super-intense.” Still, the wobblies couldn’t topple Wångander, being the industry veteran that she is.

And how exactly did she get there in the first place? Balenciaga put out the word that it was looking for cool older woman. Nisch, a modeling agency in Stockholm, sent images to casting director Dora Diamant, who liked them and showed them to Gvasalia. “And here I am,” says Wångander, with a smile in her voice. It certainly wasn’t this Swede’s first trip down the runway. At the bidding of a stylist friend, she started modeling in the mid-1980s, posing for Mikael Jansson, who was also just starting out, and walking for Comme des Garçons in Tokyo. “I thought [the clothes were] so different at that time, “ says Wångander, who then sported short hair that she sometimes wore shaggy and spiky à la Siouxsie Sioux. These days she wears her long dark hair down and center-parted, not unlike how it was styled for Balenciaga. The makeup for the show was minimal—“they just wanted us to be very pure”—explains Wångander.  source vogue

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