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03-10-2011
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"Revenge of the Blips" - The uber short careers of modern models.
interesting article from The Imagist that I think is of relevance here. Its written by Wayne from models.com. I think he's the guy behind most of their blurbs and their lists.
Quote:
THE REVENGE OF THE BLIPS
Submitted by WAYNE on Tue, 2011-09-27

Who will Blip? Who will Blur?Who will Blast?

Blip. That's the sound she makes across the fashionscape , an extremely brief episode of noise emitted in that one great first season of hers. Blip . Her little squeak lasts about as long as a strobe or a flash in the studios of Meisel or Mert n Marcus or Inez and Vinoodh, or any of that select group of 8 photographers who eat the majority of the advertising and editorial work every season. They'll shoot her once. Or twice. For a multi-girl Balenciaga ad, for US Vogue or Vogue Paris. But she will bore and then she will never be rebooked. She might have a lifetime of lesser bookings but they will be solidly sub-blue chip. We shouldn't sob. A blip could still make 250K a year in that back catalog work, picking up a Numero here or a Pop there to still seem slightly relevant. But maximum relevancy? Long gone.

And so that is what we'll call that kind of model now. The Blips. There's no need to be cruel enough to name names but we all know exactly the kind of girl we're groaning about. The 80's/90's gave us supermodels. In the 00's girls could still ride the horse of longevity into iconic status. Think Natalia and Daria and Raquel. And now this era of ours, the 10's, is simply for Blips. Staring at the shortlist of this season's Top 10 Newcomers, gut instinct is signaling that there's going to be a lot of blipping in these ranks. This is not to cynically damn this mob of freshly scrubbed newcomers to oblivion. It is simply to acknowledge that somewhere along the model-tracking line, the game has changed.

Runway. It used to mean something. It once was a prestige platform, a kind of auditioning space for new girls to show what they were made of before an audience of the very top editors, stylists and photographers as well as the directional designers canavassing for fresh inspiration. The track had a logic and meaning, from which you could deduce and calculate a likely index of success. The opening slots and exclusives of Prada...so coveted and precious, a first exit in that space meant a star was born. That is until Prada itself (for we must imagine Prada an entity, and a very mercurial one at that) seemed to grow annoyed with all this pedestrian star-is-born drama and swung as randomly and mercurially as it wished. To the point that its Fall 2011 campaign featured 4 girls who not only did not set foot on a Prada catwalk, these girls had hardly set foot outside the little farm towns and villages they seemed to have been gleaned from. Beyond Prada it is the tone, everywhere on every runway. Every designer is doing as he or she will with these roaming bands of awkward new girls and every show increasingly a hermetic and self-enclosed statement of a single designer's current whim. There's very little connection or continuity. One moment the system emits an Arizona Muse and then the next it does not. The fact that Arizona blasted into stardom and did not blip is very much due to Arizona's will and Next's management smarts, not to some pre-set formula of success. Opening slots and after that closing slots now mean nothing whatsoever in the scheme of things. Exclusives are hardly a commitment to a career. They are frankly, a well played game of oneupmanship with the model's career being the last thing on the list of concerns. The look or the importance of the outfit probably being the first. As such I'm hoping this post is a pre-emptive strikes to bookers sending emails touting that Girl X just closed YSL. Yeah ...and...?

In many ways the designers have succeeded in a steady policy of returning fashion modeling to its pre-supermodel mores. Back then there were runway girls and they were a distinct and separate breed from the editorial and campaign super-stars. When the naughty conspiracy of Versace/Meisel/Lagerfeld and a clique of super-smart managers like Gerald Marie and John Casablancas converged on Linda, Christy, Naomi and Claudia to make an event of editorial stars stomping the runway, it seemed that momentum would last into eternity. But that strategy has been steadfastly erased season after season by very smart designers who are certain in their stance that all they need that very long and sleek girl to do is walk to the end of the catwalk, turn and exit in The Look. Nothing more. No Name. No Fame. Blip.

I've frequently said it in interviews that the supermodel died because of the beat down she used to give to clients. She took it there and now it has been taken back. That clique of very bad and very brilliant girls gave Fashion some of its most stunning and emphatic imagery but they were also spoilt young girls who behaved as all spoilt girls were wont to do. Well Kate and Kristen and Carolyn are emeritus now ...almost like ancestral aristocrats of model privilege. But for new girls looking to test the limits? In this our modern day of an over-flowing model market with its ceaseless scouting (for casting directors are scouts too now) the supply so exceeds demand that for a girl to transcend the blur and blip she will have to necessarily be an extraordinary model.

The modeling industry has always been driven by a battle for balance of power and once post-recession clients snatched all the power, they weren't going to give it back. It remains in the interest of the power brokers to retain control using that cynical strategy of one-minute models .And of the marketing device that is Top 10 Newcomers, the truth is only 2 or 3 of those girls can ever find relevancy. Being a runway powerhouse doesn't guarantee a compelling presence in a picture. You never had to be that photogenic to book a runway show anyway and a very great model manager taught me the trick that "the body comes first". That's the fact. The bodies are coming first with personality and presence running distant seconds and thirds.

That is not to say that there is not brewing in the margins, some unlikely girl brimming with presence and personality and the ability to take historic fashion pictures. In scanning for a Top 10 Newcomer maybe the new trick to celebrate girls with some awareness of their career opportunities. At this point Joan Small gets a spotlight and a drum roll. But how do you tell from a picture or a runway walk if the girl can stand up to further scrutiny? At the end of the day its all gut instinct and passion. Would you have bet on the iconic possibilities of Lara Stone 3 years ago? Lara was a Top 10 Newcomer way back then and star quality married to genius management has taken that girl very far. Trick is , if there is a "The Next Lara" in this year's pack, she's going to look at first glance, like a Blip. Which is why maybe we should never underestimate anything with a flash of brilliance.
The full article is here. (The chain of comments makes for an interesting read too.)

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03-10-2011
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Moved from Careers and Education.

What do you think? Is this the way fashion is going to be in the future? Can most models expect their careers to be over ... just like that ... in a "blip"?

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03-10-2011
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Thanks for the thread. Here's a pretty relevant read published in Playing Fashion's March 2011 issue. I'd say it belongs here.




Quote:
Fashion has been flirting with disaster when it comes to one of the most important visual ingredients, the models. The industrial way of thinking brought modeling to some point of no return with no possibility to step back and no way to keep going. The only solution to get out of what looked like no less than a lethal trap was a real will to change the processes and habits that ruled then almost ruined modeling as a whole. Being a model wasn’t only losing its prestige which was already sad enough but everything surrounding modeling started to get lower and lower, from creativity to money. The more new faces the better was the motto in every fashion capital. The choice became huge, the pressure was getting more intense than ever while the aims were almost ridiculous when you think careers could stop even faster than they started, if we can even call it a start. This was the reign of the ‘exclusive bookings’ seen as the only way to make your way to the spotlights but what the model got in the end was closer to Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame than a real, durable place on the fashion map. Disposable models: two words that should never have been put together this way but became the daily reality for many girls.

There has been no revolution, though. Nothing remarkable happened except a few messy seasons with random castings during fashion weeks before signs of evolution started to appear. The purpose of this article isn’t to comment once again on the perennial debate about models age and size but we could not keep silent on the fact that the “new” generation of models is slightly older and not as incredibly skinny as used to be. Young women are in demand while teenagers are getting less exposure in fashion shows or publication. One can always argue that the recent rise of Daphne Groeneveld (15) proves that extreme youth is not out yet but when you take time to analyse the situation properly she looks more like an exception than a trendsetter. She might have her place in Vogue Paris or on a Calvin Klein runway, that doesn’t make her more advanced in her career than many other models with a couple of high profile bookings under their belt. Compare to Arizona Muse (22) who just did her first season last year and already managed to extend her appeal from Vogue Paris to US Vogue via Vogue Italia and Dazed & Confused, knowing the different aesthetics and targets of these magazines. Another sign of change comes from the fact she made her real debuts at Prada who used to be the place to launch a career but also lost a bit of its prestige when many newcomers chosen exclusively for the show didn’t meet the high expectations of print work and campaigns. Prada choosing a woman instead of another teenager due to disappear in the crowd as soon as the curtain falls is a strong signal, magazines carrying it on takes it to the next level and everyone from mother agencies to casting directors had to take note of it.

Mother agencies is actually where everything begins for the aspiring models all over the world and with the relentless demand of fresh faces every season that was the rule for seasons, many of their agents became model suppliers instead of real agents with their role narrowing down to find new girls for scouts coming from Paris, New York, Milan etc. The perspective of building careers for these girls wasn’t the target any longer neither for these mother agents nor from the those in fashion capitals and that’s practically how they started to kill modeling. Though, it would be a very dark and rather unfair picture to imagine all of them who were involved in this process really supported it. Most of them were only following the trend to keep their business going on. But we are not here to judge or blame anyone. It happened and thankfully things are moving on again, in a better direction this time.

Agents find the purpose of building a career more attractive again since casting directors and editors are going this way too, asking for muses instead of forgettable faces. This also places personality as a very important part of a model’s success and of course requires to be a woman rather than a teenage girl. Fashion got tired of the supermodels era when models were popular mainstream icons and went from this to anonymous disposable girls. Fortunately both belong to the past now and we can prepare ourselves to another time in modeling history: the era of models as artists. When the supermodels reigned in fashion, models were celebrity. Then became anonymous silhouettes, sometimes even reduced to the role of living clothes hangers. Now talent has to become the key to starting a career and personality gains some weight in this process. Labels are here to sell clothes but fashion is made to sell dreams (which help selling clothes). The important point in this process is that producing and selling clothes might be purely industrial from A to Z, selling dreams requires creativity more than mechanisms. This is true for the designer, the stylist, the photographer involved and no one will ever deny it. But this also has to be true for the model who is, after all, the central character of the story they want to tell and it naturally leaves no room for the army of lifeless silhouettes created by seasons flooded by new faces meant to disappear six months later. The model has to inspire and express herself, even more since videos are getting important features for brands and magazines.

published in Playing Fashion, march 2011 issue
(maud lemoine tumblr)

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And something that Ivan Bart said recently (via NY Magazine):

Quote:
In an interview with Industrie magazine, IMG Models' super-agent Ivan Bart talks about the next generation of supermodels: "Everyone’s asking: ‘Where are all of the supermodels?’ I’ll tell you, the new generation of supermodels are always the models with personality, always the models you want to work with again." Why haven't there been many models with personality in recent years? "After the supermodel, there was a hunger and desire for designers to just design clothes and let them speak for themselves, so they were looking for new faces. These girls weren’t developed yet, they were sent down the runway literally just after getting off a plane from Eastern Europe." But now, the pendulum is swinging back, he says: "The reason why there are models with personality now is that the industry realised they needed experience, the experience of Miranda Kerr and Lara Stone — who really understand how to wear clothes, how to sell clothes, how to make you feel good when they walk into a room. So you say, ‘Uh, I would like to work with her again.'"
I guess that should be enough material for now


Last edited by cologne_rocks; 03-10-2011 at 11:15 AM.
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03-10-2011
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Great reads and topic!

Let's make it a point to
refrain from naming specific models as much as possible and focus instead on the subject as a whole, as this is the Fashion In Depth and not Supporting Cast sub-forum.

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03-10-2011
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great 2 articles this is something i've always wondered about in modelling.
Not only "the formula" that seems to work for some girls but the whole aspect of supply and demand - there was never an answer (in certain years) as to why a great model with good personality wasn't more successful.

The whole issue of power in fashion in terms of vision really seems to be a driving force and I see parallels with the film industry. Who is most powerful in the hierarchy? Does that person feel respected and does that person get acknowledged for driving the careers of others?

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I agree with Ivan Bart, the supermodel era is slowly coming back with the high fashion runway appearances of the already famous VS girls Candice Swanepoel and Miranda Kerr and models like Lara Stone, who come once in a blue moon.
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07-10-2011
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i think a model can have a much longer career these days with all the retouching and cosmetic procedures available...

but i agree with some of what i heard franca sozzani from italian vogue say about too many girls all looking the same and not enough variety...

i think that is the main issue...
same same same all the time gets boring...
and then people move to the next thing---
but it's the next thing over and over and over as well...

we need variety and versatility in the faces we see--both in the editorial world and the advertising world...
and i don't mean in skin tone...but in their features and looks.....

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10-10-2011
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I'd like to think I'm wrong, but the blip problem isn't helped now that some agencies have devised clever ways of making profit from their rapid turnover girls (even though these girls themselves never make any profit).
The other thing is that having a swag of blips does no harm to the agency's profile. Everyone jumps up and down during the girl's "moment" but she's quickly forgotten when she fades.. as they trot out the next one... I've come to the opinion that runway is really about promoting the agency, not the models. Blips may come and go but having a steady stream of them keeps the agency relevant.

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03-11-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bothsidesnow View Post
I'd like to think I'm wrong, but the blip problem isn't helped now that some agencies have devised clever ways of making profit from their rapid turnover girls (even though these girls themselves never make any profit).
The other thing is that having a swag of blips does no harm to the agency's profile. Everyone jumps up and down during the girl's "moment" but she's quickly forgotten when she fades.. as they trot out the next one... I've come to the opinion that runway is really about promoting the agency, not the models. Blips may come and go but having a steady stream of them keeps the agency relevant.
Absolutely! I agree 100%. I find both of these articles amazing, eyes' opener and very well written. Hopefully designers stop changing girls every single season and try to make new models the next wave of top models; the same goes with magazines' editors and photographers as well, in the end they're the ones who have the power to cast those girls and change their destiny.

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I don't know if modeling has changed so much other than the higher proportion of very young models (fifteen to sixteen-ish) entering the industry and getting high level bookings. Modeling has always been this take a whole bunch of young girls and churn them through the system, and once the smoke clears in 3-4 years only a handful remain. I definitely think that in five or so years that we will be able to state that the industry has produced another set of Natalia and Daria and Raquels, and dare I say that in ten years we may even have another supermodel which would actually put this era of models ahead of the previous one.

What I think the difference is is that we are living in the information age and some people follow models like others follow sports talent, which is perfectly fine, so people intensely scrutinize who opens Prada and what newbies get shot by Meisel or rack up campaigns and who makes the Top 10 Newcomer Lists - did these lists even exists ten years ago? So there is an investment in this "game" and people get frustrated and hurt when their girl ends up fading after an impressive debut, I include myself in that group because I will be tossing names out in various threads about who I wish will get whatever coveted booking is under discussion and the girl in question is probably shooting a Kohl's ad or has returned to the Ukraine or Brazil. My point is that the blip phenomenon has always existed in fashion, always has and always will, the point is that in recent years the blips have been given names and faces and not remained anonymous blips who faded before anyone noticed them.

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22-12-2011
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One thing I personally find rather disturbing is when one model comes along with a great, rather novel, look and even though people still love that look and the model still is in shape and great, another model comes around - sporting the same look - who becomes the favourite instead.

It just seems inhumane. Right now I'm thinking of Freja's replacement with Saskia, that seems to have taken place...I mean...as far as I know Freja is still around....


Last edited by iluvjeisa; 22-12-2011 at 10:52 AM.
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I thought Saskia was more of an Iris Strubegger replacement but I get what you're saying.
I'm pretty sure modeling agencies specifically look for girls who have similarities to the top models

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Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvjeisa View Post
One thing I personally find rather disturbing is when one model comes along with a great, rather novel, look and even though people still love that look and the model still is in shape and great, another model comes around - sporting the same look - who becomes the favourite instead.

It just seems inhumane. Right now I'm thinking of Freja's replacement with Saskia, that seems to have taken place...I mean...as far as I know Freja is still around....
Do you have a particular example?
I'm not sure about the Saskia/Freja comparison since they both are quite different from each other. Physically, and also in terms of vibes. (Saskia is less nonchalant and "boyish" but more subtle and dynamic than Freja).

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23-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cologne_rocks View Post
Do you have a particular example?
I'm not sure about the Saskia/Freja comparison since they both are quite different from each other. Physically, and also in terms of vibes. (Saskia is less nonchalant and "boyish" but more subtle and dynamic than Freja).
Oh, Saskia is quite boyish enough. I don't want this to get into some model combat mode - I simply feel that some models bring in a new look, through the power of their physical attributes and their personality, and are replaced by fillers who might be more "new" to the industry, but usually not as good as the original.

This really is stating the obvious. But basically, to put it in a nut shell:
The thirst for fresh new blood just for the sake of it doesn't appeal to me. It's too easy, too simple, too banale, too naive....and conveniently enough so entirely dismissive of the model as a muse...

I guess the most gloriously offensive replacement was that of Gia by Cindy Crawford. As if. That must have been the most egregious misunderstanding of Gia's appeal that one could conjure up. Yeah, lets bring the inspired artiste savant back as an flat business woman trapped in a similar body.


Last edited by iluvjeisa; 23-12-2011 at 07:06 AM.
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