The Inspiration

Lindsey Wixson in “Sweet & Vicious.” Photo by Alasdair McLellan, styled by Jane How; W Magazine August 2010.

Lindsey Wixson was only 15 when the legendary photographer Steven Meisel caught sight of one of the many videos she made of herself strutting in a bikini at home in Wichita, Kansas, and made her dream of being a model a reality. Since then, Wixson's enjoyed a career that's been chock-full of seasons where she's either walked dozens of shows or been exclusives for the likes of Prada and Miu Miu, not to mention been the star of campaigns for Chanel, Versace, and Fendi. And while she started off this year by becoming a face of Dior, Wixson has cut her run short: The model quietly announced over the weekend in an Instagram caption that at least when it comes to modeling, she's calling it quits.

"Now more than ever I feel it is important to listen to my body and the changing times of this industry and peacefully try to move on," Wixson said in what sounds at first to be like a familiar scenario, of the industry's exacting physical demands becoming too much for a model to bear. But in fact, it alludes to a "disability" in the form of a tear in the tendon of her foot that's at risk of worsening should she continue walking shows, as she already done this year for Prada, and three times for Chanel.

"To all my fashion fans, I am sad to inform you that my injury has put me in a position to retire from this high heel business," Wixson continued.

Still, she's making the most of her it: It turns out Wixson has an "artistic side that wants to shine through," which is why she's pursuing "new endeavors" in the fields of interior design, pottery, sculpture, carving, and "inventing for the future." All that now seems to be grouped under her new project, Wixson Design, whose Instagram handle she made sure to tag in her announcement.

Inspiration will no doubt at least in part come from the whirlwind, travel-heavy life she's led since 2009. After shooting for Italian Vogue with Meisel—and landing a page all to herself in that September issue of W, featuring a closeup of her legendary gap-toothed pout—the model received offers from IMG and New York models, but signed to Marilyn Agency, and eventually switched over to the Society Management. Along the way, she also made friends with Miuccia Prada and Karl Lagerfeld, as well as Jason Wu, who gamely designed her prom dress.

Wixson was no stranger to foot injuries in that time, either: Over the course of her career, she's endured more than a few runway tumbles, including two at separate Versace shows, and a fall at Jean Paul Gaultier that ended with a sprained ankle. Still, Wixson has also always recovered gracefully; now that she seems to have given up the runway for good, take a look back at some of her best moments in W over the years, here.

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