"Revenge of the Blips" - The uber short careers of modern models.
View Single Post
Join Date: Jul 2009
Thanks for the thread. Here's a pretty relevant read published in Playing Fashion's March 2011 issue. I'd say it belongs here.
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 exclusivel
y 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. No
w 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)
View this member's profile
Post a comment to this member's profile
Find More Posts by cologne_rocks