Model Yumi Lambert channels ancient warrior princess and action goddess themes in ‘Voodoo Child’, styled by Elizabeth Sulcer. Photographer Greg Kadel captures Yumi in an urban spirit with roots in the great African goddess Mami Wata and the voodoo (vodou, voudon) history of the Haitian diaspora and African slave trade. Yumi is walking on a rain-soaked pavement, but a few more direct references to water would have been nice, as Numéro France is probably best positioned to channel the goddess themes — but only with select photographers. Definitely NOT Karl Lagerfeld, who has never evidenced any respect or sensitivity for these traditions.
These childhood images of Tippi Degré, born in 1990 the newly-independent Namibia to French parents, documentary film makers and wildlife photographers Alain Degré and Sylvie Robert, are extraordinary in their intimacy. Named after Tippi Hedren, the young girl Tippi Benjamine Okanti Degré grew up in the company of an elephant named Abu and a dizzying array of big cats, snakes, a baby zebra, an ostrich, giant bullfrogs and countless other members of her animal menagerie. It’s said that Tippi persuaded giraffes to come down to her level.
Ten years later, Tippi moved to Paris with her mother, where she told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2002 ‘I miss Africa — that’s my home.’ The family also spent time in Madagascar.
Her best friend, she tells me, was a leopard nicknamed J&B. It had been adopted by a desert farmer after its mother had died in a trap and, Ms Robert says, was ‘mild as a household cat when Tippi was around, but never lost its killer instinct’. When it attacked another child, the little girl marched right up to the animal, gave it a sharp slap on the nose and told it to ‘Stop that,’ at which it ran away.
Tippi also befriended the bushmen and Himba tribespeople of the Kalahari, who taught her how to survive on roots and berries and to speak their language.
Before she became a university student and aspiring filmmaker at La Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris, Tippi was part of six nature documentaries for the Discovery Channel and also a book. Her mother Sylvie Robert says that Tippi’s childhood was ‘a wonderful experience’, even with her demanding filming schedule. ‘She was really at home, because at heart she is a little African.’
As a young teenager, Tippi took issue with this description of her life.
No, Maman, it’s not true that I loved it. It was great to see the elephants and the lions, but it would have been better if it hadn’t always been in front of the camera. It was hard work, it was difficult, it was hot and I was not happy all the time. I was worn out at the end of it.
‘The reason I did the film and will do more is to show that we have to do something about saving the animals and the planet before it’s too late . . . I don’t want to be famous. I just want to be normal.’
Tippi’s parents have come under criticism for encouraging her and filming her in such close proximity to the animals. Her mother explained to the Telegraph UK:
French model Anais Mali is a sublime nature goddess in ‘On Safari’, styled with lush suedes and utilitarian details in neutral colors by Tom van Dorpe. Nathaniel Goldberg captures every ounce of Anais’ sensual, fine-pedigree beauty for Harper’s Bazaar US March 2015. / Hair by Diego Da Silva; makeup by Maud Laceppe
Model Tian Yi channels ancient goddess spirits in ‘Bohemian Deluxe’, styled by Ida Wang. Photographer Jem Mitchell is behind the lens for Vogue China March 2015,
Top model Natasha Poly is styled in indiginous modernity by Giovanni Frasson in ‘Perfume Apache’. Photographer Jacques Dequeker snaps Natasha’s turquoise-drenches fashion looks for Vogue Brazil February 2015./ Hair by Zaya Latt; makeup by Niki M’nray
Model Melodie Monrose brings her fashion sense to the world of developing countries in this vibrant editorial ‘Dance Hall Days’ styled by Samira Nasr. Photographer Liz Collins and Melodie mingle with the local street scene for Elle US March 2015. / Hair by Brian Buenaventura; makeup by Justine Purdue