On Her 40th Birthday, Revisiting Devon Aoki’s Greatest Runway Moment

What makes a good model a great model? First, they have the ability to exude a constant, ineffable coolness no matter where they are or what they are wearing. In this respect, few people have the sense of playfulness, personality and versatility that Devon Aoki has, she was a catwalk sensation at Chanel, Gianni Versace S.p.A. and Comme des Gar çons in the 1990s and early 2000s, it quickly became a favourite with photographers such as Stephen Messel, Jurgen Treux and Nick Knight. (you might recognize her from the screen, too; Aoki has appeared in Sin City and fast and furious.).

Although Aoki’s color-changing ability can be adapted to the eye of any designer or photographer she works with — there are original and appropriate princesses in Karrh Lagerfeld’s work, allan von Utwatt has a sexy kitten, and Nick Knight has a warrior woman named cyberpunk, the Kaleidoscope of hippie chicks in the works of Jeremy Scott — who may have made her the star she is today — is as auspicious as her origin story. Born to amateur wrestler and Benihana mogul Rocky Aoki and his wife jewelry designer Pamela Hilburger (whose half-brother is also DJ Steve Aoki) , she was first spotted at a Rancid concert when she was 13. After being photographed by interview magazine, legend has it that Kate Mosse introduced her to the modeling agency storm; the rest is history.

By 16, Aoki had become Chanel’s Lagerfeld Muse, appearing on the runways of Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs and Celine, and has been asked to endorse every ad from Tiffany & Co. & Co. to l’orã © al. In the early 2000s, she changed direction, focusing on her acting career, most notably in a series of action blockbusters; by 2009, after marrying her husband, financier James Edson Arantes do Nascimento, she decided to take a step back from her career and focus on motherhood. But when her old friend Jeremy Scott came knocking on her door in 2018, she couldn’t resist returning to the catwalk, both to close the show and to join the designer on his final runway appearance, to mark the return of one of his most enduring Muse.

With the seemingly unstoppable Millennium Revival, Aoki’s alluring beauty, powerful runway presence and, of course, her amazing personal style have never been more relevant. So, in honor of her 40th birthday, Vogue has compiled a list of all the best runway looks she’s had in decades-because whatever the mysterious, ineffable“It” factor is, it is the symbol of the world’s most compelling model, and Devon Aoki still owns it.

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