Not too long ago, the sides of city buses were decorated with images of childlike models in Calvin Klein jeans. The young men and women in that series were made to look like cornfed Midwesterners who’d been tricked into posing for a pervert with a camera. Those ads are long gone, and in their place comes something altogether different: a couple of Europeans-Mark Vanderloo, 28, and Esther Canadas, 21-who look très elegant and worldly in a new campaign from Donna Karan International’s DKNY.
Conveniently for Ms. Karan, Mr. Vanderloo and Ms. Canadas say they are madly in love with each other. In a recent meeting with a reporter at Wilhelmina Models, they went big with the public displays of affection. Within the company, they’re known as the “brand image couple,” and, intentionally or not, they were doing their damndest to uphold their corporate image during the interview.
They fondled. They nuzzled. They smooched and squeezed.
“If we are in the same room,” said Ms. Canadas, “we have to be touching each other, holding hands or, like, really close from each other.”
Mr. Vanderloo, who grew up in Holland, Kenya and The Hague, was VH1’s 1996 male model of the year. He likes fishing and driving his BMW for hours. The biography put out by his publicist says he’s thinking about going into acting, but not yet. “For a while at least,” reads the bio, “he must go on feeding the hungry wolf, the wolf within himself, the wolf that is the world.”
Ms. Canadas comes from Spain. She has Victoria’s Secret and J. Crew catalogues in her past, as well as some time on the catwalks of Milan. She likes to go antiquing.
Like certain couples, they seemed eager to tell the story of how they met. “We didn’t know each other and then we come to the shoot,” said Ms. Canadas. Mr. Vanderloo tried to interrupt her, but Ms. Canadas pressed her outrageously beautiful lips to his ear and whispered, ” I’m talking here.” And, beaming, they explained how it was love at first sight during that fateful shoot in Times Square last April. (He was wearing an oversize active-wear coat. There was a storm. He opened it up and let her in.) They now live together near Gramercy Park, or perhaps on Lower Fifth Avenue (they couldn’t seem to agree on this point).
The couple was asked how much Ms. Karan was paying them to be so in love.
How they laughed at that silly question. It would have been a belly laugh, if they had bellies.
“We thought they would be great together, visually,” said Trey Laird, a senior vice president at Donna Karan International, in a phone interview. “Mark is part of our family here. We have worked with him so long, it’s weird not to have him on a shoot. And Esther we sort of clicked with. By the second day it was there. It was amazing to see it happen before their eyes.”
I asked Mr. Laird what would happen to the new campaign-which is supposed to last two years-if the supercouple breaks up.
“Ha!” he said. “It’s not going to happen.”
The Monica Diaries
Continued excerpts from several hundred loose pages, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, which were dumped on The Observer’s front stoop and labeled, “The atached (sic) is my story, the story of a white house intirn (sic) in my own words, not that bitch Linda. ML.”
Jan. 10, 1997, 11:55 P.M.
I am in like such a weird mood because I went to the No Doubt consert tonite with Nancy and three guesses who i saw there? Wrong, wrong and wrong . It was Little Miss Poodle herself, Chelsea, in the tee shirt line at intirmission, and some other girl and some big guy whose like don’t notice me mr secret service and so i’m like Hi Chelsea because after all i have met the girl at WH and she’s like Ohhh Hiiiiii , and i can tell she can’t remember so i’m like Its monica ? i work with your dad ? and shes like Ohhh Hiiiii mon-ica and she doesn’t even bother to introduce me to her friend whose actually wearing a cream silk blouse like Hel-lo I’m Miss Priss I get dressed up for conserts, and anyway Chelsea’s all pretending the line is moving so she doesn’t have to talk to me, and i say this consert rules and i see she has a cool leather jacket which would probably be a little big on me and she’s like yeah great consert and i’m thinking what would you say if you knew i had your dad’s thing in my mouth yesterday and nancy is like nudging me like omigod and she knows this is a true situation so i’m like, Chelsea what tee shirt are you buying? and she’s like oh i dont know what about you ? and i say the black one even tho i’m going to buy the gray one and then she buys the black one Xlarge, then i’m like see ya and she’s like bye see you around and later nancy says oh my god mon you should have bought the black one imagine how Creep would have bugged if you showed up in the same shirt and i’m like you are so bad …
Feb. 21, 1997, 1:30 A.M.
so L. came over tonite for a slumber party and she’s sleeping in mom’s bed whose in new york and when L. got here we ate caramel popcorn which i now regret and drank beers and watched the Abyss which was dumb and i had on my flannel PJs the ones with the feet on them and L. wore this red silky robe thing which made her look way fat when it comes open but i did not offer comments and after 20 minutes we turned off the movie to talk and of course Fuckface enters the conversation and L. says Well are you or not? and i’m like Am I what ? and she’s like, Duh, In L-O-V-E, like she spells it out and i can tell i’m turning red so i’m like I have to pee be right back but when i get back shes still on the case and so I’m like well what if I am, is it a crime ? and she’s like, No, it’s the beautifull thing and i’m like well its hard to know if you love a man who has yet to finish the conjugation act and i’m sooooo drunk so i tell her that once my head was on his leg after he did it and i said real quiet i love you and he didn’t say it back but still i was hoping he would just let me lay there and maybe he would fall asleep but as usual he buckles up and says he needs to do the countries business and L. says well he does not treat you like you deserve the treatment, and i’m like well ms. genious what am I supposed to do about it? and i see she’s about to cry or something and i feel bad and i say L. you know I care for you so much and she wipes her nose and i get up on the couch by her and she like puts her head on my shoulder and she says, Oh kid, you dont know the half of it … and to cheer her up i tell her the part she likes about when Creep got mad because i put that romantic card i sprayed with my Coco in his pocket and the next time he’s like are you out of your mind , what if Babba found it and i’m like oh so now she does your dry cleaning and L. laughs and i get my new purchase two lipsticks a Stila mauve and a Mac peach i make her try the mauve but she can’t stay in the lines but i tell her she looks pretty and i put on the peach and when i put her in mom’s bed she tells me not to get too close to her and i’m like dont be silly…