The John Casablancas Thread - the Fashion Spot
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The John Casablancas Thread
He started everything, he's the one who made models stars, and he's just returned.

This is a interview he did for the New York Times

Five years into his retirement in Rio and Florida, John Casablancas has been lured back to Elite, the agency he launched in the seventies. Amy Zavatto talked to him about his plans to revive it.
The modelling world has lost much of its luster since you retired. What happened?
When I left, we just finished creating the last two supermodels, Gisele Bündchen and Heidi Klum. And here I am five years later, and the two last supermodels are Gisele and Heidi. So I can legitimately say that after me, nothing happened. The business has become extraordinarily dull.

How will you usher in the renaissance of the supermodel?
When I first came to New York—30 years ago—circumstances were so similar to what they are now. The conservative political environment. Actresses in Hollywood’s star system were famous, and models were just models. We started creating the myth behind the looks. That can be done anytime.

Name one model who could be the next Gisele.
Linda Vojtova from the Czech Republic. She’s got the smarts, the face, slightly angular yet harmonious, and a body that can take her straight to a
Victoria’s Secret contract.

Did you find yourself scouting for talent in Ipanema?
I’m always looking, and I’m very fortunate: I have a wife who enjoys it. I’m the positive eye—I look at a woman and say, “Isn’t she gorgeous,” and then my wife says, “Big knees, short neck.” She’s the destructor! And I spent an enormous amount of time defending myself against lawsuits.

You mean the class-action suits models filed about price-fixing and enduring secondhand smoke.
It’s a farce. All I see is six, seven, eight models—has-beens who never were—who are part of that class action.

Three of your children are 9 or under. If one wanted to be a model, would you approve?
If I thought they could do well. There’s nothing worse than a mediocre modeling career. I have a son [Julian, of the Strokes] who’s a rock star. And I’ve probably been more against rock than modeling.

What advice would you give the aspiring model?
Be yourself—but a revised version of yourself.

And the aspiring agent?
Never expect anyone to say thank you.

Taken from here-

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Modelgirlie's Avatar
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Didn't he sleep with a lot of under age girls in trade for a career I have no respect for a man who would do that.

It's beauty that captures your attention; personality which captures your heart.
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very interesting article.. thanks WinnieTuck. who agrees that linda is the next gisele? just because she looks like gisele.. doesn't mean we need another one.. i think we need a FRESH icon with a new look.

" There’s nothing worse than a mediocre modeling career."

... this quote bothered me. the business has so much to do with luck, there are so many biased people out there, you know.. people kissing butts.. people liking this model better just because she happens to be from a "better" country.. agencies worrying the models to death..weight/drug issues.. independence issues: it's not easy for the girls. bottom line. a model could be as striking as kate moss, yet never land a big campaign. getting work is hard.. the competition is fierce, but they all have something to offer. i don't know what he thinks he is talking about.. some models start out and could go strong, but they find out other careers are just as suitable for them and they could be just as successful with a more trustworthy job (or heck, ever thought about an EDUCATION?).. that girl may have a short career, but she has SMARTS to find what's best for her.. yes, i'm afraid a LOT could be worse than a mediocre modeling career.

even if a modeling career is short, and not much gets accomplished.. it's still an EXPERIENCE (plenty of them, actually) that the majority of the world will never get to endure.. and heck, usually even the mediocrest of the mediocre careers can put some dough (even if it's a little) in those accounts. someone needs to enlighten this guy.

other than that, i am extremely pleased that there are people out there trying to revive the supermodel era.. although nothing could be worse than all this talk, and no action. but who better to propose the idea than mr. john casablancas himself?

well done

Last edited by martinionrox; 25-06-2005 at 04:01 PM.
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Originally Posted by Modelgirlie
Didn't he sleep with a lot of under age girls in trade for a career I have no respect for a man who would do that.
You can't respect him as a human being, but you can respect him as a business man.

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Wow, I never knew julian was his son ;O

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Originally Posted by Modelgirlie
Didn't he sleep with a lot of under age girls in trade for a career I have no respect for a man who would do that.
He's not the only one to take advantage of underage girls in this business.

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I just finished reading Janice Dickinson's book and he was in it a fair amount, in the time of him just starting off elite, he came across as a sleazebag

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He's a douche. Siphoning off come what may. He's a footnote, at most.

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I don't know what's more offensive: the fact that he slept with a lot of his clients, or that he champions Linda Vojtova, one of the homeliest models working today, as the next big thing.

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Good Article

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Monday, January 03, 2005

Proof that J Casablancas is still alive - OK, US Vogue published a letter supposedly written by him, but it could have been any of a number or celeb impersonators - I guess his PR people have more important business...

The lady in the pic is Aline Wermelinger, the (then) 17 yo Brazilian Elite Look contestant whom JC married in 1993, allegedly while she was still a virgin - I think the pic was taken in JC's place in Leblon, Rio, where he threw a party, as dk mentioned...

Last time JC was in the news, he was planning to publish a "tell-all" book - then a San Diegoan accused him of impregnating her a long time ago, etc etc

The other interesting factoid is that Yfke Sturm is also in Rio - last time anyone published anything about fellow maturing playboy Gerald Marie, GM was talking about whichever piece of Elite Models he still controls and the fact that he had great models like Yfke...maybe there is a connection here?
I met Yfke back when she was discovered (she was the Model Look winner in 1997) and despite the onslaught of the "high fashion" trash brigade -about which I'd rather not talk about, since I am still in festive mood - Yfke proves that quality never goes out of style...

They only reason we are all discussing models today is the 90s "supermodel" phenomenon - not just the original "trinity" (Linda E, Naomi C and Christy T) which is what fashion folks keep talking about, but all the top models who emerged when fashion modelling became newsworthy worldwide. I've said before that IMO, the "supermodel" was an agency-driven product - the fashion biz was clueless as usual, and the designers, stylists etc would gladly have accepted any trash, if it came with the "model of the season" tag attached. The model agency bosses at the time chose to push a high quality product - the top models would be tall, shapely, perfect and almost unreal. The purpose was to maximize their mass appeal, since the real money was to be made outside the women's fashion biz. J Casablancas was instrumental in all this, and pretty much adheared to the "classic/drop dead gorgeous beauty" principle until he sold his Elite stake and left NYC. It was the smart thing to do, since quality is what differentiates the top dogs from the wannabees - "contemporary elegance" and all that Wintour/Donatella/Lagerfeld crap only sells to a niche market (the "It girl" market was wiped out after the Wall St crash, a year before 9/11) and the nouveau riche. The fact that most big Vogue advertisers who signed on to the "new luxury" scheme have been losing money for the past 5+ years has less to do with 9/11, SARS or any other "disaster" and more with their advertising.
Not that JC didn't make mistakes - he allowed his own leading market position to be diluted by promoting inferior models (Amber V and Co were on the way out before AW/Meisel resurrected their careers, but Elite should never have signed the likes of Karen Elson or Erin OC) and failed to push the Eastern Europeans and the Brazilians early enough - the usual ignorami in NYC knew almost nothing about Russian models before Natalia Vodianova (who couldn't even get a job in Moscow) arrived in 2002, and that was a huge failure on Elite's part, with the model material they had from their contests since 1995. When the Brazilian wave hit, Elite and Ford found that their top Brazilians had moved to Marilyn, IMG etc - and they could do little with the mods still left with them. The bottom line is that when the trash crowd established itself, mediocrity became the rule and the game was lost - if JC had spoken out against AW's plans while there was still time, it may not have happened.

From here

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here is the Elite 1992 roster, I have the january 1992 book of headshots:
nadja auermann. julia anderson. anna bayle. monica bellucci. cindy crawford. meghan douglas. gail elliot. estelle halladay. linda evangelista. famke jansson. cathy fedoruk. frederique vanderwahl. jill goodacre. susan holmes. elaine irwin. yasmin lebon. mary matthews. catherine mccord. michaela bercu. karen mulder. naomi campbell. tatjana patitz. hunter reno. emma sjoberg. stephanie seymour. tara shannon. wendy veldhuis. veronica webb. heather stewart-white. kara young. jenny brunt. natasha henstridge. ingrid seynhaeve. nikki novak. jane powers. dawn radenbaugh. brenda schad. vinessa shaw. kim snowden. nina tula. tyra banks. cameron diaz.
if you like models I think you have to respect john casablancas' and monique pillard's Elite, in the 80s and 90s if not now.

Last edited by slit skirt; 26-07-2005 at 12:34 AM.
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ELITE CRITICISMHAVING written Gisele Bundchen off as "one big void as a person" last week, John Casablancas is insistently continuing his tirade against the supermodels that he once worked with at Elite. And now it's Naomi Campbell's turn. "Naomi has a really nasty side, because of her termperament, her lifestyle and her history," the model mogul and father of the Strokes rocker Julian Casablancas told New York's Daily News. "I like her a lot, but I would not work with her again for all the gold on earth. She was abusive with her booking staff and it was unbearable." (July 25 2005, AM)

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Hey I am a former Elite model leaving the agency now and looking for a new agency... wanted some sugestions on a good agency.. I heard Vision is having problems financially and Ford isn't doing so well now either... Elite is going through some major changes John C. is bad mouthing ever big model in the industry if you haven't heard about it read page 6 in the Washington Post. well anyways cant stand being there any longer.. looking for something better.......any help??

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The Elite Modeling Agency is without a doubt the sleaziest and slimiest agency in the world. Don’t be fooled because they have a big name. Read the following 2 stories and if you’re a mother or father and let your daughter even THINK about modeling with them after reading this, you should have your head examined.

The owner married a 17 year old model when he was 50, and lived with Stephanie Seymour when she modeled and was only 14. Now they’re involved in a major coke bust and have been exposed by the BBC as racists (used the n’ word referring to blacks on an undercover tape) and talked about having sex with underage models at their model contests.

They are filth. They are pornographers. They just do it under the cover of being a legit agency.

One mother's mission to protect her catwalk girl
Burhan Wazir
Sunday November 28, 1999
The Observer
Viv Brown worries about her daughter. Hollie, a 14-year-old five foot eight blond is signed to Select, a leading model agency in London. She has been modelling for around a year - already, she has appeared in several magazines, including Italian Vogue. Her mother accompanies her to fashion shoots, and oversees Select's suggestions for Hollie's career.
`There is the worry that men might try and take advantage of my daughter,' says Brown, of Ravensworth in Gateshead. `I've never come across it, but that doesn't mean it never happens. But perhaps that's why I always make sure that I'm there. And we've made sure that none of the girls at Hollie's school know she is modelling: they might get a little jealous and try to bully her.' Brown says her daughter has yet to express any intention to make a career of modelling. `But if she did decide to do it, I would make sure it was the right decision. Young girls can get really carried away - Hollie knows that not everyone can become a supermodel.'
The fashion industry neatly escapes all notions of morality. In the past decade alone, the industry has glorified heroin chic, anorexia, racial stereotypes and increasingly younger models. But over the next few weeks, photographers, model bookers and agency bosses will be forced to re-evaluate the way the industry acquits itself.
Two senior executives at Elite - one of the industry's leading agencies - last week resigned in the wake of a British television documentary showing one soliciting sex with young women, and the other making racist comments. Elite, which boasts clients such as Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell, revealed that its Europe Chairman Gerald Marie and Xavier Moreau, head of Elite Model Look, had voluntarily stepped down from their positions.
Both Marie and Moreau were among four Elite staff investigated by the documentary. Filmed in secret, Marie - ex-husband of supermodel Linda Evangelista - was seen saying to an undercover woman journalist: `I'll give you one million lire (£300) if you go to bed with me.' Moreau, a close confidante of Naomi Campbell, was shown remarking to friends over dinner: `Africa would be okay if they were all white.' He later adds: `I don't like black girls.'
Elite is widely regarded as the blueprint for modern modelling - it ushered in a wave of corporate thinking previously unseen in the industry. Since it opened in 1971, the agency has discovered and managed several generations of supermodels. `Elite invented the whole modern modelling business,' says Roger Tredre, Editor-In-Chief of Worth Global Style Network, the fashion industry's online bible. `They brought in professional people who turned modelling into the corporate and professionally run business it is today.'
But Elite has long attracted accusations of seedy impropriety on the part of its male management. Its chairman John Casablancas serves as a fitting metaphor for the fashion industry's fickle moral standards. At over 6ft 2 inches, he cuts an imposing figure - almost professorial in his treatment of his models. In 1994, then aged 50, he married for the third time. His bride was a 17-year-old Bible-reading Brazilian high school junior called Aline Wermelinger - they met when she was competing in the regional heat of Elite's `Look of the Year' contest in Rio De Janeiro. Casablancas, who was one of the contest's judges, voted Wermelinger the winner.
Interviewed the same year, Casablancas explained his rationale for marrying such a young model: `Look, I was 24 and the models were 18,' he said, almost without irony. `I was 35 and the models were 18. I was 45 and the models were 18. And now I'm 50 and the models are still 18. It's not that I try to date the models that I work with. It's that everybody socialises with the people with whom they work all the time and so the possibility that that would happen was enormous.'

'John Casablancas, founder of leading model agency Elite and the father of Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas, has been named in a sex abuse lawsuit by an aspiring model who claims he made her pregnant at the age of 15, and then arranged an abortion -- all more than 15 years ago.
John Casablancas, 60, whose Elite agency has represented supermodels such as Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell, is accused of sexual abuse of a minor. The plaintiff, whose name was not made public, is seeking substantial damages. Lawyers for Casablancas said the allegations were fabricated and were confident the case would be dismissed.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Casablancas began sexually abusing the girl in 1988 when she was a finalist in Elite's prestigious 'Look of the Year' competition for fresh new faces. The former model said she traveled with Casablancas to New York later that year when it was discovered she was pregnant by him. She alleges she was driven to a doctor's office and an abortion was arranged for her at the behest of Casablancas. '

Sorry it took me some time - this is a picture of John Casablancas, founder of model agency Elite, 'judging' a candidate in the 'Look of the Year' contest. Casablancas is the one with glasses.

He is now accused in Los Angeles of sexual abuse of a minor. The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, alleges that Casablancas began sexually abusing the girl in 1988 when she was a finalist in Elite's prestigious 'Look of the Year' competition for fresh new faces.

The former model said she traveled with Casablancas to New York later that year when it was discovered she was pregnant by him. She alleges she was driven to a doctor's office and an abortion was arranged for her at the behest of Casablancas.

Casablancas set up the Elite agency in New York in 1970 and made it into one of the world's leading model agencies, guiding the careers of Linda Evangelista, Andie MacDowell and Kelly Emberg and rivaling the long-established Ford Models Inc.

The name of the plaintiff in the Los Angeles lawsuit is being withheld but her lawyer said she was now in her 30s, married with two children, and living in San Diego.

'What happened to me should never happen to any little girl. I hope that by coming forward I can protect other minor boys and girls working for Elite or any other agency,' the plaintiff said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Casablancas denies the charges. He left Elite in 2000 and now runs the John Casablancas Modeling and Career Center in New York.

Elite was at the center of another sex storm in 1999 when a British television documentary caught the chairman of Elite Europe soliciting sex from an undercover journalist who was posing as an aspiring model. Two senior Elite executives were forced to resign.

Casablancas was accused in Michael Gross' best-seller 'Models' to have taken advantage of several minors, including supermodel Stefanie Seymour.

He is regularly accused of milking would-be models, asking for 'registration fees', 'book expenses' etc. More about that here .

A federal judge has ruled that a proposed class action lawsuit against several major New York modeling agencies can go forward because their actions may have violated federal law.
The order, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, dismissed the models' state law claims but allowed their federal claims to proceed.
'As a result of defendants' alleged unlawful agreement to fix prices on commission and charges to models, plaintiffs have been damaged and continue to be damaged by having to pay inflated prices in a non-competitive setting,' Judge Harold Baer, Jr. wrote. (Click here to read the order.)
The class action suit was filed by models working for New York modeling agencies including Wilhemina Model Agency, Ford Models, and Elite Model Management. The models alleged that the agencies conspired to set fees charged to models, charged fees in excess of those allowed by New York state law, and did not look out for the plaintiffs' welfare. The modeling agencies allegedly fixed the prices at monthly meetings of the International Model Management Association.
Baer found that despite the defendants' protestations that the plaintiffs' 'bare-bones' complaint lacked detail, the allegations meet minimum standard for antitrust claim. 'Taking the allegation of uniform pricing, participation in a trade association to facilitate the price fixing, and other uniform features of the contract…I am persuaded that plaintiffs have met their burden, at least for now,' Baer wrote.

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