Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder was born in 1970 in the Netherlands and is an internationally renowned supermodel.

Though always interested in the fashion industry, reading fashion magazines and following designers from a young age, Karen’s career in the industry was a happy accident. She was on holiday with her parents when she saw an advert for a Elite Model Management competition. Karen, not seeing her potential as a model, didn’t enter the competiton. Karen said: “Meanwhile back in Holland, a good friend of mine send some pictures of me and I had the good surprise when I came back from my vacations to find a letter from Elite…” Karen then entered the international competition and placed second. Just two weeks later Karen was living and working in Paris being booked by top magazines such as Elle, Vogue and Marie Claire.

In the formative years of her career Karen was already walking the catwalk for ValentinoYves Saint LaurentLanvinVersace and Giorgio Armani. Her popularity extended beyond the catwalk too as she soon appeared on the cover of Vogue and as a result landed a high profile contact with Guess in 1991.

She continued to appear in high profile campaigns, finding success with both magazines and fashion campaigns. She modeled for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Guerlain, Chloé and Gianni Versace amongst others.

Throughout her career Karen has worked with some of the worlds greatest fashion photographers including Javier Vallhomrat, Peter Lindbergh, Patrick Demarchelier, Bruce Weber, Helmut Newton,Irving Penn and Arthur Elgort.

Karen’s success even extended so far as to have the lovely honour of a tulip being names after her.

Karen retired from modeling in 2000. She made her acting debut shortly after in the French short film ‘A Theft, One Night in 2001’, she also pursued a career in music achieving some success in the French charts.

Throughout Karen’s hugely successful career speculation over her health followed her as she suffered from depression for many years and it is unconfirmed whether she attempted suicide in 2002.

In 1988 Karen married French Photographer Rene Bosne, five years later Karen divorced her husband and has publicly described that time of her life as having very little time to be at home. She shortly met real estate developer Jean-Yves Le Fur in the waiting area of a Paris airport and the pair soon became engaged.

Le Fur quickly began to develop Karen’s success off the runway, in 1995 he collaborated with Hasbro to create a Karen Mulder doll. This product led to the development of an entire line of dolls modeled on the day’s current supermodels. Le Fur managed to successfully develop Karen into a popular and very profitable brand. Karen also worked on a beauty and fashion CD ROM, in which she gave makeup, beauty and exercise tips.

Karen has recently come out of retirement in both the music and the fashion industry, in 2004 Karen released the self-titled CD Karen Mulder. In 2007 she returned to the catwalk alongside Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and many of the other top supermodels to model at the Dior Autumn/Winter 07/08 Couture Collection in Paris.

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Written by Roanna Price

Roanna Price, fascinated by the escapism, imagination and conversation that can be conjured in the glossy page of fashion writing. Journalism graduate in Liverpool Roanna is responsible for our Top Model Biographies section.

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