Campaign Trail

A Talk With Model Roos

The Belgian model who got her first big break on the Chanel runway, looks back on the early beginnings and reveals what it’s like to be seen as a muse by designer Jacquemus.

by Chloé Bauwens

For models, there are a few things that are highly ranked as personal career triumphs. One is being booked exclusively for a show, then there’s the honour of opening or closing a runway and landing a major seasonal campaign. Rose Van Bosstraeten, widely known as Roos, has done it all. The almost 34-year-old Belgian model is, with 19 years of experience under her belt, not exactly new to the industry but thanks to fashion’s ongoing hankering for older faces she continues to strive. ‘Before it were only the new, young and fresh faces who were offered a shot’, Roos explains thoughtfully. ‘Now there’s this trend of recognising the power of older models to portray an image. I’m not claiming that I’m old, but I am slightly older than average to be working in this industry as a model. It’s wonderful to see that the beauty of this older generation is now acknowledged and accepted.’

While Roos is no longer seen as a young new face today, she once too belonged to the bunch. Discovered on her way home from school in 1998, the thought of becoming a model had never even occurred to her until then. ‘My sister would often tell me I should model’, Roos recalls. ‘But I was fourteen and preoccupied with other things like playing soccer. After I was first approached, the contact card I had been given disappeared into oblivion until I stumbled upon it again a few months later.’ After asking her parents to contact the agency, things moved pretty quickly. ‘When I was 15, I landed my first big assignment, the Chanel Haute Couture spring/summer 2000 runway. The casting itself was extremely nerve-racking since walking in heels wasn’t that evident to me at that age. But I must have done something right because they booked me and I got to work with Karl Lagerfeld, a wonderful experience at any age.’
Photo by Gregory Derkenne

To Jacquemus, each of his collections portrays a vision of his mother. They represent her and according to him I fit this image. A wonderful honour.
Since then, Roos has graced multiple runways going from Balenciaga to Dries Van Noten and received one of the biggest compliments of her career when French designer Simon Porte Jacquemus approached her personally with a request to join forces. ‘Simon asked my email to Belgian stylist Tom Van Dorpe because he wanted to meet me in person’, Roos explains. ‘I then travelled to Paris where we met for lunch. Simon really wanted to know who I am and he told me ‘I don’t know when and how we will work together, but I know we will at some point’. Six months later we collaborated on his look book, show and campaign. It has been a wonderful experience.’ Jacquemus has often stated his fondness for Van Bosstraeten since, even claiming the model reminds him of his mother, something he is always looking for. ‘He has indeed said that a few times’, Roos answers when asked if she is aware of this resemblance. ‘To Jacquemus, each of his collections portrays a vision of his mother, they represent her and according to him I fit this image. A wonderful honour of course.’

Aside from her model looks, unique appearance and successful job in the industry, Roos doesn’t consider herself a fashion girl pur sang. ‘At home, I don't think that often about fashion’, she laughs. ‘I’m always working in the garden or having fun with my five-year-old daughter… I am however opening a eco & fair streetwear boutique in Leuven, Belgium together with my sister later this year. So maybe I am a fashion girl after all. (laughs)' When we ask Roos about her personal seasonal favourites, she obviously can’t hide her love for Jacquemus’ designs. ‘His cotton shirts are divine and truly wonderful to wear. As Jacquemus often says himself, he sells poetry, maybe that’s why I admire his work as much as I do.’