The fashion world was set majorly abuzz at the Prada S/S 2015 show this past fall when Gemma Ward made a surprise comeback on the runway—and recently, Prada’s reveal of their spring 2015 campaign suggests that Ward is back to stay. The cool Xerox-esque black and white campaign, shot by Steven Meisel, surfaced online last week—and we’re totally loving it.
In case you missed it, Ward had been on a six-year hiatus from her extremely successful modeling career, and up until recently, there were rumors circulating in the industry that she had retired altogether. Her modeling career began at the super young age of 15 when she was accidentally discovered while supporting her friends who were taking part in an Australian modeling competition. She later made her runway debut at Australian fashion week in 2003, and from there, went on to become the youngest model to grace the cover of American Vogue in the September 2004 issue at the age of 16. Her resume includes major campaign deals like Calvin Klein, Valentino and Burberry, and by 2007, she was named one of Forbes’s top 15 highest-earning supermodels. In other words, it’s pretty safe to say that Gemma reached it-girl status. (And all before the age of 18!)
By 2008, retirement rumors were beginning to surface, but Ward promptly dismissed them, saying she was simply taking time off to spend time with friends and family. For several years, Ward went completely off the fashion radar, except for a Page Six story that focused on her weight gain. Many in the fashion industry offered plenty of explanations for Ward’s weight gain—the death of her boyfriend Heath Ledger, a rebellion against the body standards of the fashion industry—but isn’t weight gain a natural part of reaching the end of your teenage years?
Suddenly in 2013, Ward signed with IMG models, the agency that works with other major modeling names, such as Miranda Kerr, prompting rumors of a comeback. The fashion industry finally got its wish when Ward set off a Twitter storm with her return to the Prada runway this past fall—as the opening look no less. We think she looked flawless—and the super chic Prada coat and statement-making eyeliner definitely didn’t hurt either!
Personally, we’re super excited for Ward’s return to modeling, and her campaign with a big name like Prada indicates she’s here to stay. Not only is this totally triumphant for Gemma, but considering the fact that she is 27 years old (which, believe it or not, is considered old for the modeling world), we’re excited to see if this will clear the way for older models in the fashion industry too. We’ll be keeping our eyes out for Gemma on the F/W 2015 catwalks this February for sure!