Ever since we began back in 2008, we have worked with photographer David Mushegain every issue to bring you a collection of some of the coolest, raddest, hippest people from all around the world. David shoots and gets to know the young kids he meets on his travels, through his friends, or just walking down the street, and we are always happy to share his discoveries with you. Today we begin our weekly postings of David’s Last People, appearing every Wednesday right here.
I first saw Stella Maxwell when I was sitting at the café Le Progress in the Marais in Paris. I had gone to meet my friends Cecile and Emily. We were enjoying a nice drink. I think I was sipping on some warm milk and honey when some of their friends arrived. Stella was among them. I was immediately drawn to her. I would go as far as to say she is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen in my life. The only thing I could think about was finding out who she was and having the chance to photograph her. They sat at a table just near ours, since the adjacent ones were occupied. Everyone was leaning across and talking and I took the social atmosphere as my chance to ask Stella if she would allow me to take a photo of her. She told me no, and that she was “camera shy.” I said, okay I understand. Although she eventually allowed me to take one photo. I did not get any contact information as she was not too forthcoming but I had it set in my mind I would see her again. And about a month later I did. I had been in Paris the whole summer as I was doing an exhibition at colette. This gave me time to really explore the city a bit and its inhabitants. Stella could very well have been my highlight. The next time I saw her I asked her if I could come to her house and photograph her for my Vogue Japan monthly model-at-home column. She agreed. Two days later I visited Stella in the 11th arrondissement in her seven-story walk up. I loved the vibe of her apartment and her vibe in general. We shot together all afternoon and evening and it was so awesome. Stella has to be one of the best models I have ever photographed. When discussing photography I often tell people that photographing someone is really a dialogue between you and them. It’s an exchange. Your photo has more to do with what they are giving you than it has anything to do with your own vision or skill. Some models are just magic and I have been blessed to work with a few. For me Erin Wasson, Shalom Harlow, Veruschka, and Susan Eldridge all have this presence. They are just intriguing every day and they can basically do anything and you will get a beautiful photo. Stella is like this. You don’t have to pry the photograph out of her like some hidden treasure. It’s just there for the taking and that is such a gift. I was so lucky to spend a lot of time with Stella after this and really got to know her. She was born in Belgium and grew up in New Zealand. Her parents though are originally from Belfast, Ireland, so she is truly Irish. She likes herself some good electronic music and she has awesome style. I would kind of describe her as tom-boy meets ’80s mod. She has a heart of gold and a very curious mind. I am really hoping we see a lot of Miss Maxwell in the coming seasons because she deserves it and fashion needs a girl like this. I’ve showed her photos around to a few of our favorite fashion insiders and everyone has the same comment. “WOW! WHO IS THIS! SHE LOOKS LIKE AN OLD-SCHOOL SUPERMODEL!” and I totally agree. She’s got it. We shot this photo on the floor at Stella’s apartment in Paris