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Art of Style

Meet the model: Vivienne Rohner


AGE: 21


RÉSUMÉ: Since taking part in the Elite Model Look competition in 2013, Vivienne Rohner’s career has gone from strength to strength. From walking the runway for designers such as Emilia Wickstead and Salvatore Ferragamo to fronting campaigns for cult labels including Mugler and Vivienne Westwood, her star is firmly on the ascent

MODELING WAS NEVER A DREAM OF MINE. Growing up, I wasn’t concerned with fashion. I dressed like a boy, in cargo pants and hoodies, and rode around on a little motorcycle. I wouldn’t say that my mom forced me into modeling, but it was only after she taught me to walk in high heels that I agreed to try out for the Elite Model Look contest. I didn’t win, but I did get signed by the agency.

NEW YORK IS HOME, BUT I MOSTLY LIVE OUT OF MY SUITCASE. I was born and raised in Zurich by my mother, who is Russian, and my dad, who is half-Swiss, half-Argentinian. I’ve just returned from traveling around north and central Argentina – I really fell in love with the country. It’s such a diverse place; you have the deserts, tropical rainforests, an amazing coastline and the Andes. Next on my list is Cuba.

MY STYLE IS PREPPY – BUT WITH A MASCULINE TOUCH. The most-worn piece in my closet is definitely a black Maison Margiela blazer, but the most precious piece is a vintage Gucci watch that my mother gave me for my 16th birthday. It’s a really elegant men’s style – I wear it every day.

INSTAGRAM HAS BECOME A BIG PART OF A MODEL’S SELLING POWER. I love the fact that social media gives people a platform and a voice but, in this industry, there’s also a commercial element to it. Personally, I enjoy curating my account with a mixture of my work, my travels, people who inspire me and photographs I’ve taken on my point-and-shoot camera. There are loads of positive ways to engage with social media, but I also think it has a dangerous side.

MODELING HAS TAUGHT ME A LOT ABOUT MYSELF. Like any job, it has its good and bad sides. This industry has given me a lot; it’s made me independent, organized and is the reason I learned to speak English fluently. However, being a model also means you have very little control over your schedule and, for all its ‘glamour’, there are still issues of exploitation, harassment and body shaming that need to be addressed.

DAVID BOWIE INSPIRES ME ON SO MANY LEVELS. He was the first person who really opened my mind up to music – and fashion. He was larger than life; from the way his mind worked to his knack for reinvention, he always wanted more.

I’D NEVER FORCE MYSELF TO GO TO THE GYM. I stay active but I keep it fun. If I’m back home [in Switzerland] I’ll go hiking, and when I’m by the sea I’ll do water sports. While I was in Argentina, I went horseback riding with gauchos, which really revived my passion for the sport. I rode for years before leaving home at the age of 16.


The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown