Eyes on Sidney

The Californian girl that caught Hedi's eye

Text by Naomi Bikis

Photography by Rachel Chandler

During Twiggy’s first New York shoot in 1967, photographer Melvin Sokolsky distributed masks of the young model’s face for the crowd to wear. Not only was it a strategy to deal with the crush of fans surrounding young Twiggy, it was also a moment that acknowledged the power of fashion models. Like Dorian Leigh and Jean Shrimpton before her and, later, Naomi, Linda, Christy, Kate and Gisele, Twiggy did more than simply pose in front of a camera. In its 2009 exhibition Model as Muse, New York’s MET explored how models have long been a source of inspiration for powerful designers. So when a new girl appears, bearing the title of Hedi Slimane’s current favourite model, the world pays attention.

Hollywood native Sidney Williams was discovered at Coachella Music Festival. She was 14 years old and running around with friends when Slimane and his producer asked if they could take some photographs. The blonde teen has since been captured with sparkling train-track braces, her off-kilter beauty apparent. Like Penelope Tree’s wide-set eyes or German aristocrat Veruschka’s high forehead, Williams’ features make her unusually interesting.

Yet Williams is only just getting used to the modelling world, recalling a memorable shoot in downtown LA. “I was standing on a busy street. The photographer was far away shooting with a long lens so it looked like I was alone. A lot of crazy people came out shouting, screaming and staring... weird,” she explains.

Indifferent to the glitz of the industry, you won’t find the teenager in the usual model haunts. She is more likely to be surfing or playing drums and lists “drawing cartoon characters in precarious situations” among her hobbies.

  • Sidney Williams Tank SS13