After the reign of Naomi, Christy, Linda, and Cindy, in came the aughts-era of Gisele Bündchen, Natalia Voidanova, Natasha Poly, and Daria Werbowy. To outsiders, the latter names (aside from Bündchen) may not be “household.” But for those in the industry, they’re akin to fashion royalty.
Werbowy, who “retired” in 2016, has been quietly causing a stir in recent months over her anticpated return to modeling. On Sunday, Gucci’s incoming creative director Sabato de Sarno continued the frenzy when he teased an upcoming campaign starring the 39-year-old Canadian-Ukrainian model.
“Daria, we started together in this business in 2003, and here you are with me at the beginning of this new adventure,” de Sarno said on Instagram. “David, you pictured her at the debut, now you are behind the camera for her comeback.”
Werbowy and de Sarno both entered the industry at the same time—the model making her debut for the fall/winter 2003 season and de Sarno starting as a Prada design assistant the same year. David Sims (who photographed the new visual) was a frequent Werbowy collaborator too, having captured the model for major campaigns and editorials.
The model is pictured poolside at the Chateau Marmont hotel wearing nothing but a black “GG” swimsuit and statement gold jewelry. This isn’t the model’s first Gucic ad, of course—she previously fronted Tom Ford’s 2004 campaign for the Italian brand.
The lowkey feel of de Sarno’s visual leans more towards the sensual minimalism of Ford than the over-the-top maximalism of his predecessor, Alessandro Michele. Werbowy was also recently linked to another early-aughts minimalist, Phoebe Philo, last month.
Sources told WWD in June, that the model will be the face of the designer’s long-awaited eponymous label which is set to release in September (de Sarno’s debut Gucci show is also scheduled the same month). The pairing makes sense—Werbowy fronted many Philo-era Céline (yes, é) campaigns and they’ve often been referred to as doppelgängers.
While she has yet to comment on her comeback, Werbowy already has two of the biggest fall 2023 fashion items lined up. Alessandro Michele’s departure from Gucci shocked the industry, and the relatively unknown de Sarno seemingly has a new vision for the brand. And Philo, whose Celine designs still have a dedicated cult following, is shaping up for her own comeback after a years-long hiatus.
Werbowy, a three-time W covergirl, is a true model-muse in every sense of the term—along with Philo and Ford, her look helped to define the sleek vision of the 2000s. She’s remained out of the public eye though and hasn’t indicated an interest in returning to modeling (she hasn’t posted on Instagram in over seven years). And as fashion doubles down on minimalism and “quiet luxury,” who better than Werbowy (arguably, the face of nonchalant 2000s cool) to lead the way this fall?