Hanne Gaby Odiele



Born in the small Belgian town of Kortrjik on October 8th 1988, her beginnings were far removed from the glitz and glam of the fashion world. Her village was a typical farming village with 300 inhabitants and not a single shop. It wasn’t until attending a music festival as a 17-year-old teenager that the stylist and editor Tom van Dorpe discovered her extraordinary looks and the fashion world came knocking.


Her androgynous beauty highlighted by an unusually high forehead and pouty lips had a huge pull on the fashion industry. Her arrival in New York and subsequent signing with Supreme Management in 2005 opened the gates to a tremendous debut in the fashion world. In her first season alone she graced the runways for Marc by Marc Jacobs, Rodarte, Ruffian and Thakoon followed in quick succession by editorials for Italian and British Vogue. Barely a year after arriving on the scene Odiele landed her first campaigns for Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti and Topshop and her rising star status was sealed.


Despite Odiele’s country-bumpkin background, her introduction to fashion fell on fertile ground. She describes herself as always having been interested in subcultures and how people express themselves through clothing. Finding a new world of colourful and exquisite garments at her fingertips, Odiele does what few models seems to have done before – she starts having fun with fashion, styling herself in eccentric and captivating ways. Her style is incredible and unafraid, favouring bright clashing colours and oversized shapes, mixing prints, colours and textures all in her very own and often unorthodox ways. Following a personal style credo of “as long as you believe in it, you can pull it off” Odiele lets her character shine through her dress sense and in doing so has gathered a huge following.


That Odiele is different from other girls becomes particularly clear when looking at her personal story. Just after signing her first two campaigns in 2006 and barely a year into her successful modeling career, Odiele is hit by a speeding car in NYC and breaks both of her legs. Easily anybody’s horror– but a models’ worst nightmare –Odiele has to undergo multiple surgeries to her legs followed by month of harsh physical therapy. This could have easily been the end of a brief career. But with dedication and passion for her profession Odiele manages to make a come back – becoming the face of Vera Wang in 2007, one year after her accident. Walking over 60 shows in the 2008 season and being named as one of Marie Claire’s top ten new faces Odiele perseveres and solidifies her ascending fortunes 


Since then Odiele has become established as a fashion icon both on and off the catwalk. She has managed to make herself stand out from the rest by not shying away from experimentation and showcasing her very own take on fashion using styling as a platform for personal expression. Recently she has even started working as stylist herself and has also collaborated with the shoe designer Matt Bernson to create a line of foot-friendly flats, much needed for the endless walks to and from castings that accompany the daily routine of a model’s life.  Next to working on a sock line for the colourful sock brand Stance, she seems to have a few more collaborations in the pipeline for the year to come. One thing is for sure, this little firecracker is here to stay and has a few more surprises up her sleeve.

Short Facts


Hanne Gaby Odiele is an androgynous beauty distinguished by an unusually high forehead and pouty lips, set apart by a look that can be either hard-edged or childlike. Her trademark style is a fanny pack and bandanna, which she pioneered long before they became a general trend.


Odiele has managed to stand out from the fashion crowd by her eccentric and fun sense of personal styling. Her outfits boats kooky and fun combinations of bright colours, patterns and shapes combining both vintage, street styles and high-end couture items into her wardrobe.


Odiele sees clothing as a celebration of self-expression. “It is one of the best ways to translate how you feel on the inside, or perhaps to shield you from the outside. With clothing, you can become anyone, especially these days when we are pushing the boundaries beyond gender and cultural expectations.”


1988 – Country Bumpkin

Odiele is born on October 8th 1988 in Kortrijk, a small farming village in Belgium

2005 – The Start

She took her first modelling course, signing up for a beauty pageant in the local area. It was here that she began to take a keen interest in the fashion world.

2005 – Debut

Odiele debuts at the spring Marc by Marc Jacobs, Rodarte, Ruffian, and Thakoon shows in New York.

2006 – Rising Star

Shortly after her debut catwalk season Odiele has first editorials in Vogue Italy and Britain. She then lands the campaigns for Topshop and Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti

2006 – Car Accident

A speeding car hits Oriele as it misses a red light in December 2006, breaking both of her legs. She undergoes multiple surgeries and month of hard physical therapy and is unable to walk in the fall/winter shows.

2007 – Come Back

Odiele becomes the face of Vera Wang and is named as one of Marie Claire’s top 10 new faces. She also walks the spring runways for Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, and Yves Saint Laurent shows, among others, in Paris

2009 – Balenciaga

Odiele becomes the face of Balenciaga

2010 – Mulberry

Odiele becomes one of the faces of Mulberry

2015 – Shoes

Odiele collaborates with Matt Bernson on a limited edition ine of shoes


© GettyImages, Instagram


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