Mirror, Mirror: Gimme Cara's brows, blush, and stick legs!

Cara Delevingne leads the pack of models down Burberry's A/W 2012 runway. (AP Photo)
Cara Delevingne leads the pack of models down Burberry's A/W 2012 runway. (AP Photo)
Posted: April 11, 2013

Supermodel Cara Delevingne, the 20-year-old face of major fashion brands - think Chanel, Burberry, Marc Jacobs, and YSL - has young girls (and boys) touting her off-the-runway style: slouchy beanie hats, graphic T's, and super-skinny jeans.

Take her tomboy minimalist charm and combine it with her ultra-girly looks, and no wonder she walks top designer runways for Diane von Furstenberg, Stella McCartney, Jason Wu, and Oscar de la Renta. In March, British Vogue named Delevingne model of the year.

Yet Delevingne, in an almost unprecedented way, is inspiring women to copy her social life, her attitude, her physical qualities - whether it's her bushy Brooke Shields eyebrows, her frizzy-at-the-ends hair, her sculpted apple cheeks - not just in New York, but in Idaho - even here.

And there is one unfortunate trend her cover-girl image has sparked. The British model's thighs do not touch - so women are walking into plastic-surgery offices holding pics of the model, pointing to the rare, yet perfect-for-H&M-jeans space between her legs. The look is so popular it even has its own Twitter handle: @carasthighgap.

"I definitely mentioned her name when I went in for the surgery," said Jayme Reed, 36, a CPA who lives in Mount Laurel. Reed got the $4,800 "thigh gap surgery" in September - a form of liposuction - and although she says she has gained some weight, her legs still do not touch.

"The fascinating thing is that Delevingne is more than the thigh gap," said Steve Davis, a Cherry Hill-based plastic surgeon.

"We are tattooing in eyebrows to get that bushy eyebrow appearance. We are also doing cheekbone resculpting because women want to appear more angular, feminine, furry, frilly, and futuristic . . . just like Cara."

They also like her short, little nose.

Here's where body image advocates, rightly so, will scream at the fashion industry for employing models like Delevingne, or at Delevingne for being stick-thin.

When one very thin woman inspires others into surgery, we've got a major health issue and should sit up and take notice.

Yet most women are merely picking parts of her and blending them into their own. Anyone can get a piece of Delevingne's a-little-bit-rustic, a-little-bit-polished all-American look.

Candice Wood started growing her eyebrows in a few months ago.

"Fuller eyebrows are more youthful and they look more natural," said Wood, who is sporting a thick, dark brown, low brow. "I'm almost there."

"I really like her hair," said Drexel student Catherine Drussell, 21, whose below-the-shoulder-length hair has been totally Delevingne-inspired.

"It's kind of straight, long, and the edges are even split. It's a little messy. It's not perfect and it's great. It's like she's letting her highlights fade out a bit."

Why the big deal over what many might think is just another pretty face? It's not as if there aren't dozens of other supermodels out there with unique features worthy of admiration.

It could be that Delevingne, a socialite and sister of model Poppy Delevingne, is a bit of a rebel; her BFFs include in-your-face pop stars Rita Ora and Rihanna. And she's known for bopping around backstage at fashion shows wearing a "WTF" T-shirt (as in "Where's the Food?"). We never knew these kinds of personal and relatable details about previous supermodel generations. She's a celeb, right along with the LiLos, Beyoncés, and Kim Kardashians of the world.

Plus, those skinny legs are great for the young and unapologetically modern look that is so popular with fashion designers now. Besides Delevingne, Karlie Kloss and Jourdan Dunn are ushering in what is slowly becoming a new era of the boldface-name supermodel.

It's not too different from coveting the beauty of the most popular, fashionable girl in high school. And who hasn't ripped out a page of a magazine fashion spread to show to their stylist?

When people do that with Delevingne's picture, Chad Renninger of Andre Richard Salon in Center City uses a foil technique and teases the hair to create that subtler, ombre look.

And in addition to hair, he is finding that Delevingne disciples prefer cooler, "beigey" makeup.

"That means a clean face, an appled cheek, and a bold lip," Renninger said. "She has a certain natural glow and an edgy look that anyone can pull off."

Except, of course, that darned thigh gap.

Contact fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington at 215-854-2704 or ewellington@phillynews.com. Follow her on Twitter @ewellingtonphl.

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