Every fashion week gives birth to a new fashion favourite. For the spring/summer 2018 season, we’re placing that crown firmly on the head of Yorkshire born-and-bred, 18-year-old Fran Summers.
First spotted at JW Anderson’s London Fashion Week show, Summers strolled out confidently in striped sequins, her hair clipped sweetly to the side. Next, it was onto Milan where she secured the exclusive of all exclusives: Prada. In Paris, she walked for Saint Laurent, Loewe, Céline, Miu Miu and Louis Vuitton, to name a few – but more of that later.
Fran’s fashion story begins with the requisite unassuming shopping centre. “It all began in MAC in Westfield, where most fairytales start,” she told us, over the phone from the Paris shows. “I was chatting with one of the make-up artists called Naima, and she asked if I had ever thought about modelling. I said no, and she insisted on taking me in to see some agencies herself on her next day off. The only one she had heard of was Storm so she said we’d start there and see how things went. I walked in and they offered me a contract on the spot!”
This is a big deal. Storm is the agency that made the careers of Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne, and has the likes of Jourdan Dunn, Anna Ewers and Cindy Crawford on its books. They know what to look for in a rising star, and as Fran’s agent Chris Yianoullou explains, it was her similarity to a young Natalie Portman in Leon that helped seal the deal. “Fran is young but nevertheless an old soul, effortlessly cool, stoic but still charming, all while sporting one of the sharpest hair-cuts in the industry.” It wont be long before we’re all at the hairdressers begging for The Fran.
So, how did showing up to the first day of fashion week play out for our North Yorkshire lass? “It felt like my first day of school,” she says. “It was as though the popular girls had invited me over to eat lunch at their table, and it would only be a matter of time until they figured out I was definitely not cool enough to be sitting there.”
If that sounds a bit Mean Girls, Fran is at pains to point out that the fashion industry is a friendly place. “People are actually so nice”, she stressed to us. “Ugly Betty gave everyone in fashion a bad name.”
While she cites London as her favourite city – mainly down to the fact she has easy access to Linda McCartney sausages – it was the Saint Laurent spectacle that was her spring/summer 2018 highlight. “Walking for Saint Laurent with the Eiffel Tower for a backdrop was so special. And the total cherry on top was when I found out later that Robin Wright, who I know as House of Cards’s Claire Underwood, was there watching the show!”
Modelling was never at the top of Fran’s agenda, but nevertheless fate and an excellent bone structure has changed that. “I remember growing up watching America’s Next Top Model and thinking Miss J would have kicked me off before we even got to the makeover episode. When I’m walking on those catwalks, in all honesty, I just think about making sure my face isn’t doing anything weird and my limbs are moving in symmetry for once. Watching that TV show has come in handy!”
Something else that has proved handy? A portable charger – on the advice passed down by the girls who have a few seasons under their belts already. “Rianne Van Rompaey lost her charger at the Miu Miu fitting, I lent her my charger and that was when she explained always sharpie your name on everything!” Something tells us she’s going to need to continue writing her name on everything for quite some time.
See every one of Fran Summers’s spring/summer 2018 catwalk turns here: