How Selena Gomez Became Fashion’s New Favorite Face – Vogue.com


Selena Gomez vogue
Selena Gomez vogue



Selena Gomez, photographed in Malibu.

Photographed by Angelo Pennetta, Vogue, September 2016

One of the world’s most-followed stars finds her place in the fashion constellation.

Selena Gomez met Nicolas Ghesquière the new old-fashioned way—she got his email address from a mutual friend and dashed off a letter of introduction. “I was immediately intrigued by her spontaneity and curiosity,” the Louis Vuitton creative director remembers. “Actually, he loved my song ‘Good for You,’ ” Gomez says. “That was the real icebreaker.” Two years later, in addition to being a regular at Ghesquière’s shows, joining him at the Met Gala this past May, and even sharing the cover of Brazilian Vogue, Gomez is now his latest campaign star.

And while a celebrity endorsement might sound like par for the course at a global brand, the relationship is actually more an affirmation that, at 24, Gomez is (finally) a full-fledged fashion force.

“Let’s just say I wasn’t always the [designers’] top choice,” Gomez says. She’s in L.A. during a brief respite from an 81-city tour—which includes costume pieces from Vuitton, Valentino, Rodarte, and Monse, the buzzed-about label by Oscar de la Renta alumni Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia—behind her second solo album, Revival. Gomez’s offstage choices have been equally eclectic lately, from Victoria Beckham to Vetements, from Givenchy to London-based start-up Galvan.

Gomez brings her unaffected ease to each look, a certain agreeability that makes even the most complicated garment seem instantly wearable. “I like to find things that are unconventional and make them look classic,” she says, “because if I’m forcing something, you can just tell.” Her stylist Kate Young, who has been instrumental in Gomez’s style evolution, put it this way: “Vuitton especially can be tricky—it’s futuristic; it has straps all over it. But Selena’s version looks young and cool and less conceptual. She makes fashion suit her demeanor.”

What’s more, she can share it. Gomez has more followers than any other person on Instagram—90.6 million at press time, a few hundred thousand more than when I interviewed her two days ago—and holds the record for its most-liked photo to date. If there were a nation inhabited solely by @selenagomez’s followers, it would be the sixteenth most populous country in the world—bigger than Germany or France. Small wonder that fashion brands came around.

Gomez’s success with social media, though, is inherently tied to her absolute relatability. Born to a sixteen-year-old mother in Grand Prairie, Texas, Gomez, until recently, still lived with roommates in Calabasas. She ate McDonald’s with James Corden on her episode of “Carpool Karaoke”; she loves David O. Russell movies. She’s also a Mexican-American icon, the inheritor of a cultural legacy that dates to Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, Gomez’s namesake. Approachability has never been fashion’s first priority, but in an era that prizes reality over ceremony, her perceived normality goes a long way.

It makes Gomez almost unique among her peers with fashion followings. At five-feet-six, she is not a model-bodied glamazon like her best friend, Taylor Swift; nor is she a gender-bending firework like her fellow Disney alumna Miley Cyrus. She is neither a street-style supernova like Rihanna nor a scion of entertainment royalty like Jaden and Willow Smith. It’s not only ironic that the most famous new face in the front row is also the most relatable—it’s also indicative of Gomez’s very modern (and very grown-up) kind of power.

Before we finish, she recounts a story from her Disney days. Aged sixteen, she met a single mother who had shepherded her four small children to the set of Wizards of Waverly Place at considerable personal expense. “She told me, verbatim,” Gomez remembers, “‘I need my daughters to see that they don’t have to be blonde and blue-eyed to do anything they want.’ And I remember being a little confused at the time,” she says. “I didn’t realize it was significant.” She realizes now. Gomez’s most intriguing upcoming project is producing a new series for Net­flix touted as the Latin version of Empire. Whatever will she wear to the premiere?

 

Fashion Editor: Sara Moonves

 

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