She’s got a puzzled look on her face, like she’s trying to size you up. Unsmiling and unimpressed, her piercing gaze is searching for substance beneath the surface.
She also seems a bit annoyed, as though you’re distracting her from something more important than being, well, merely the object of your attention. This is a girl who doesn’t need anyone’s approval.
Her name is Sophie Hirschfelder — Hirschy to her friends — and she’s the new face of Lonely lingerie, the wickedly on-trend New Zealand label that defines the cool, unselfconscious style of a certain tribe of hip millennials.
The 21-year-old Melbourne native has also earned a rare distinction: Lonely was so smitten with their latest model-muse, they’ve named their new collection after her.
Make that two collections — the Hirschy lingerie range and an expanded companion loungewear set that parent brand Lonely Hearts first introduced last winter.
“We have loved Sophie for such a long time as she has such a strong, recognizable look,” Helene Morris, the creative director and co-founder of Lonely Hearts, told Lingerie Talk. “As soon as we met her it felt like she had been in the Lonely family forever.
“Wearing lingerie is such a personal thing and it seemed like a natural choice to name the range after the person wearing it for our look book,” she added. “This also seemed like a nice way to give our amazing models the recognition they deserve.”
The New York-based Hirschy comes from Swiss/German stock and is considered a rising star in the modeling industry, having worked for Balenciaga and Marc Jacobs among others. She’s known as much for that fearsome stare and furrowed brow as her perfectly chiseled cheekbones and jade green eyes.
Hirschy (who also modeled the SS14 No Photos clothing line from Lonely Hearts) is a remarkably apt avatar for Lonely‘s signature aesthetic and the burgeoning cohort of carefree non-conformists that are the brand’s target audience.
Her pale, androgynous look conveys a seriousness of purpose, as though she spends more time with her nose in a book than in front of a makeup mirror. And — importantly, for this industry — she’s rarely shot in a pose that suggests she’s just passively waiting for romance.
“I love her strong features,” Morris said. “She has an amazing profile and is so unique. She is a smart, creative woman and was really inspiring to work with.
“She definitely embodies the Lonely spirit perfectly. But then so many women do. The Lonely girl is more of a mindset than having a specific ‘look’.”
As we reported a year ago, Lonely spends a lot of time trying to express its brand DNA by profiling its customers. The Lonely Girls Project, its fascinating photo diary shot by Zara Mirkin, has swelled to nearly 75 profiles over the past two years, showing customers around the world, in their home environments and wearing their favorite Lonely pieces.
“They represent the women who see lingerie as a love letter to themselves,” the company says.
Alas, a commitment to continual, evolving self-definition (in both Lonely and its customers) means Hirschy won’t become the brand’s permanent muse.
“We would love to work with Sophie again in the future,” Morris said, “but … we haven’t worked with the same model twice for our lookbooks as representing different women is really important to us here at Lonely.”
Lonely has gone from being a quirky cult fave to a closely-watched style leader in recent years, and the Hirschy collection for SS14 (it’s almost summer Down Under) shows the brand growing in many new directions.
The small loungewear range (above) offers understated but fashionable homewear pieces that complement the strappy fashion-forward looks that its lingerie is known for (and share some of the prints used in the latest LH clothing line).
Meanwhile, the Hirschy lingerie range shows Lonely alternating between the geometric cutouts that helped put the brand on the lingerie map five years ago and elegant vintage-inspired lacy looks. It’s a very tactile collection — note the spiderweb strech lace in the Blair set and the bold strap latticework of Lulu — meant for layering and showing off.
And, in response to customers who perhaps don’t share Hirschy’s willowy frame, Lonely has expanded its size range in recent seasons. The addition of underwires a couple of years ago added support to its padding-free styles, and the new season accommodates sizes 32E, 34DD and 36D.
Lonely introduced its first swimwear collection this summer and the entire Lonely Hearts community will get its own shopping destination next month when the company opens its flagship store in Auckland. The brand is now widely available in North America, stocked by such diverse retailers as Opening Ceremony, Free People and Creatures of Comfort.
Lonely likes to describe its product range as “next-level lingerie,” which is a welcome addition to the lingerie lexicon that suggests something more natural than “underwear-as-outerwear”, which too often sounds like a fashion contrivance. These are undergarment fashions without rules, speaking the language of Lonely girls everywhere.
Below we have more images of Hirschy and her eponymous lingerie and lounge collections, shot by René Vaile and styled by Zara Mirkin.