Illustration by Luis Grañena of Cara Delevingne
© Luis Grañena

Move over Mossy. After 25 years, Kate Moss finally has a serious contender for her crown as Britain’s most famous model, in the form of 21-year-old Cara Delevingne.

Every age gets the model it deserves and where Moss secured her Cool Britannia reign through a mystique created by a reluctance to speak in public and a superhuman appetite for partying, Delevingne is the Twitter-tastic, selfiesnapping, trend-toting tweenies made flesh. At the last count she had close to 1.2 million followers on Twitter and more than 3 million on Instagram.

In case you haven’t spotted her in an advert for Burberry, Chanel, DKNY or Fendi, or staring out from the covers of Love magazine, W, i-D and Vogue, Delevingne has dirty blonde hair, dazzling green eyes – and eyebrows so heavy they make Denis Healey’s look positively size zero. In fact, they even have their own spoof Twitter account.

Bedales-educated Cara is also very much part of the well-connected posh set that rules in today’s Britain. Where Moss was born to a barmaid and a travel agent, Delevingne’s father Charles is a property developer and her mother Pandora an ’80s It-girl-turned-Selfridges personal shopper who insiders say helps dress the Duchess of Cambridge. Oh, and her aunt edits Condé Nast Traveller and her grandfather is former English Heritage chairman Sir Jocelyn Stevens.

But what Delevingne has that other models don’t is a chameleon-like ability to be all things to all brands while maintaining something of her own.

When Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman put Delevingne on the cover of this year’s March issue with the strapline “Model of the Year” she wrote: “Cara is one of those girls who combines energy, wit, enthusiasm and the kind of edgy beauty that marks her out from the general pool of beautiful models.”

Delevingne embraces every passing trend with gusto: animal-print onesies, funny-looking woollen hats. It’s a look that allies her with the average teen who shops at Asos and Topshop. Yet she can also bring what Burberry chief creative officer Christopher Bailey describes as her “effortless elegance” to a catwalk show for a global brand.

And, in between, she’s tweeting and instagramming her way around the world, holidaying with singer and BFF Rihanna in the Med, and adding to her portfolio of tattoos. All of which has endeared her to the tabloids as much as to her online fans – aka the Delevingners. As all models know, to truly succeed you need to become a “model slash”, as in, actress/singer/entrepreneur/ UN ambassador etc. Moss, who turns 40 next month, has designed for Topshop and is now a contributing fashion editor at Vogue. Cara’s branching out early. She drums and sings and last year had her first movie role, in Anna Karenina. This year she was immortalised in the video game Grand Theft Auto V, shot the indie film Kids in Love and reportedly has a part in the adaptation of Martin Amis’s London Fields. And she’s already bagged the cover of Vogue for January 2014.


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