American Dreamers

From a modernist chef to a musical throwback: Meet 25 of the country’s most talented up-and-comers.


Kelly Mittendorf’s striking looks are more extraterrestrial than girl-next-door, which can be a good thing in the world of high fashion: Photographer Steven Meisel cast the 17-year-old Arizona native in this season’s Prada campaign before she had even walked her first runway.


Creatures of the Wind designers Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters have parlayed their outsider status and brooding artisanal designs into deafening industry buzz—and a nomination for this year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award.


Two years after it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, Tanner Hall, a coming-of-age story starring Rooney Mara, has finally made its way to theaters. Which means its directors, Tatiana von Furstenberg and Francesca Gregorini—Brown University buddies who based the film loosely on their own lives—will soon get the recognition they deserve.


Model-turned-comedian Whitney Cummings’s raunchy standup act is in danger of becoming hilariously mainstream. Two new TV shows of her creation debuted last month: the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, starring Kat Dennings, and NBC’s Whitney, starring Cummings herself.


Hanni El Khatib’s music is a little doo-wop, a little garage rock—it even has a touch of the blues. The Bay Area–raised musician channels the history of rock ’n’ roll, as his recent, immensely catchy debut album, Will the Guns Come Out, attests.


Today’s assistant is tomorrow’s art star: Virginia Overton worked for Wade Guyton before coming into her own this year with a series of geometric installations that is reshaping minimalist sculpture’s masculine history.


Female chefs tend to leave the liquid nitrogen to their male counterparts, but at Atelier Crenn, Dominique Crenn’s recently opened restaurant in San Francisco, her elaborate modernist cooking has proven to be a welcome antidote to the prevailing Alice Waters-centric simplicity.


The 22-year-old solo artist Danielle Johnson, who goes by the name Computer Magic, is already an Internet darling. Her ethereal electro-pop has won over the music blogs, and her DJ gigs have caught the attention of the party kids. While awaiting her debut LP, catch her on the latest Kitsuné Maison compilation next month.


Director Abe Sylvia, a onetime Broadway dancer, first gained street cred with his Sixties-style musical short “My Mother’s Hairdo” in 2006; a year later, his series of Svedka vodka ads for mercilessly mocked celebrity culture. Now he’s joining the big leagues with Dirty Girl, his first feature, out this month from the Weinstein Company.


Bored by run-of-the-mill sunglasses, DJ Jus Ske and designer Daniel Silberman launched a collection of their own, Illesteva. Several seasons later, their circular titanium and buffalo-horn styles have the arty aviator crowd reconsidering its brand loyalties.


Jacob Kassay’s shimmery silver paintings turned to gold last fall when the then-unknown artist’s canvases went for brand-name prices at auction. Factor in his first museum show at London’s ICA this month and it’s enough to earn Kassay the tag of Hot Young Artist.


Sure, she’s Brian Williams’s daughter, but Allison Williams is also a promising young actress with a lead in HBO’s upcoming Lena Dunham–helmed, Judd Apatow–approved comedy, Girls.


In the early 1900s, stylish gents could get a cashmere suit for $5 at South Dakota’s Miller Brothers Exclusive Men’s Clothiers. Today, Kirk Miller is carrying on the family tradition at Miller’s Oath, a bespoke suit shop in NYC where the prices are steeper but the results no less superb.


By combining old genre photographs with odd objects—a potted plant, a large rock—artist Marlo Pascual not only reconciles the nostalgic with the modern and sculptural, but also creates transfixing experiments in perspective.


Besides hitting all the right social events, Hannah Bronfman, the daughter of Warner Music Group bigwig Edgar Bronfman Jr., is gaining notice for Green Owl (the record label she co-owns with older brother Ben—aka M.I.A.’s fiancé), her parties at Hotel Griffou (where the 23-year-old is an investor), and an eco-friendly clothing line (to debut next spring).


After opening Atelier Takagi in 2007, Jonah Takagi has become something of an ambassador for the new American design aesthetic: playful functionalism with a nod to our industrial past. And while his work has caught the attention of such design-world heavies as Patricia Urquiola, it’s also refreshingly commercial, as evidenced in his collaborations with Matter, Roll & Hill, and Council.


There are lots of pretty boys out there, but 20-year-old model Caleb Trent, a newcomer who walked for Raf Simons this past June, is the one tipped to be Dior Homme’s next frontman.


After a decade working as a fashion photographer in Europe, Santa Cruz–bred Kira Lillie returned this year to her hippie roots. Her line of handmade leather medicine bags embellished with semiprecious stones has enchanted fellow haute mystics such as Daphne Guinness and Kate Moss.


Kelly Wearstler protégé Meg Sharpe is bringing her favorite neutral palettes to everything from residential projects to the interiors of New York restaurant the Lion, which has attracted as much buzz for its eclectic, art-filled space as it has for its food


Hair colorist Kimberly Cannon honed her craft assisting Marie Robinson before being promoted to the floor (salon-speak for “no longer an assistant”) in March. She’s certainly capable of matching her boss’s skills—particularly with buttery blondes—which is why Cannon’s client list already includes towheaded starlet Greta Gerwig.


After Gabe Ferrari and Andrew Barrer’s first screenplay was greenlit with Zac Efron attached, CBS Films came calling with Legend, a much-hyped young adult novel (and potential Twilight–level franchise) that the recent NYU grads will adapt for director Jonathan Levine.


Wes Gordon’s foppish good looks may have charmed many of his society clients, but it’s his quirky, couturierlike talent—honed at stints with Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford—that has won the 25-year-old Atlanta native’s women’s wear critical accolades.


Industrial designer Brendan Ravenhill’s diverse portfolio—from chairs and tables to magnetic steel lights and ingeniously simple bottle openers—evokes the functional rusticity of the wooden boats and traditional tools that inspired him as a boy in coastal Maine.


Sally Hershberger hairstylist Teddi Cranford experienced a professional high when, under the direction of Guido Palau, she worked on Kate Moss and Amber Valletta for Louis Vuitton’s fall show. More thrillingly for the rest of us, she’s also adept at transforming nonmodel types with her signature cool-girl cuts.


With no formal training and a penchant for in-your-face opulence (like the infamous fox fur hammock at Alexander Wang’s SoHo store), 27-year-old Ryan Korban has become the design darling of James Franco, Debra Messing, and most of New York’s young, chic set.