Montana Cox tipped to become next top model for DJs, writes Ros Reines
The Sunday Telegraph
May 13, 2012 12:00AM
CAN a former reality star help to turn around the fortunes of a department store chain in today's harsh retail climate?
Speculation is rampant in the industry that Australia's Next Top Model (ANTM) winner, Montana Cox, is replacing Samantha Harris as David Jones' Youth Fashion Ambassador.
Word is that beautiful, indigenous model Harris, will not have her contract renewed when it expires later this year.
Signing up Cox, modelling's rising star, would be a massive coup for David Jones and comes at a time when CEO Paul Zahra is trying to put the pieces of the jigsaw back together at the retail giant after a turbulent two years.
Cox is also no stranger to David Jones. In November, it announced she had a short-term contract with them or an "exclusive model agreement".
Since then, the eloquent 18-year-old has hit the runway for the world's top labels including Lanvin and Chanel, and she's earmarked for a new Oscar de la Renta campaign.
"She's a cool young Australian girl," says David Jones-stocked designer Alex Perry. "She would inspire lots of others to try and emulate her look."
According to Cox's agent, Chic, negotiations are still continuing with the department store.
Meanwhile, a David Jones spokeswoman yesterday praised Harris as a fantastic youth ambassador but stopped short of saying her contract would be renewed. She will, however, still star in their upcoming spring/summer season alongside Cox.
No doubt Cox is part of David Jones' strategy to claw its way back since the department store parted ways with former CEO Mark McInnes in June 2010.
His departure coincided with the grim retail trading period which ensued thanks to the rising cost of living and the popularity of online shopping.
No wonder the adjective most often employed in conjunction with new chief Zahra was "embattled". But last week he was given a nickname by one of his key suppliers - the Maltese Terrier. It followed his radical changes at executive level.
Out went marketing group executive Brett Riddington along with home and food group executive Patrick Robinson and in came Donna Player, the former merchandise and planning general manager from Big W, reputed to be an incredibly smart retail operator.
It seems that whatever happens, the Maltese Terrier is determined to make his mark on 2012 and it looks like Montana Cox is coming along for the ride.