Not To Be Obvious, Models Are Back

Discussion in 'The ETC's of the Modeling World' started by sugarpea, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. sugarpea

    sugarpea New Member

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    NOT TO BE OBVIOUS, MODELS ARE BACK

    By GUY TREBAY

    Published: September 10, 2004


    Except for those of the lone black woman, their eyes are all blue. Each face is different, but only by minute degrees. One has a nose that is a tiny bit larger. The lower lip of another is more pouty and petulant. Every one of them has a symmetrical cast of feature and an expression that it does not take a Naomi Wolf to see as submissive and unchallenging.

    They are the nine women on the cover of Vogue for September, the largest issue in the history of a magazine where fat is good only when it can be measured in pages. The September Vogue rings in at 832. That it is a whopping success comes as no particular surprise. Few editors can approach Anna Wintour's gifts for the care and feeding of a cash cow.

    Beyond the heft of American Vogue (and the curiosity that none of its current cover subjects are American), what is noteworthy about the magazine is that the editors chose to put models and not celebrities on the cover of the all-important September issue for the first time since 2001. It may seem an odd thing to point out during Fashion Week, when leggy creatures with phenomenal faces crowd the pavement at Bryant Park, but models are back in style.

    "I had a sort of feeling that we were saturated and slightly OD'ing on the celebrity factor," said Ms. Wintour, whose own celebrity has reached the point where she is accompanied to and from shows by a pair of Sub-Zero-size bodyguards.

    "Models are more reserved, less overexposed, if you like," Ms. Wintour said. "They have more mystique and glamour." Certainly they have more than, say, the average Botox abuser with a degree from some dubious acting school and Kevin Huvane on speed dial. "They also help you pay more attention to the clothes," she added.

    That is obviously the hope behind a multimillion-dollar campaign that Annie Leibovitz has photographed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ann Taylor and that features 50 models drawn from this week's catwalks as well as fashion's back pages. Half are cult-familiar beauties with names like Donna Mitchell and Lisa Taylor. Half are current runway stars like Heather Marks and Lisa Cant, two from among a crop of large-eyed creatures who resemble John Currin paintings and who are known in the business as the Bugs.

    The campaign itself is being promoted in the 685 Ann Taylor stores, as well as in a 50-page Vogue insert; with a direct marketing effort; at a sprightly interactive Web site with films by Kate Elson, the sister of the model Karen Elson, on the making of the photographs; and on the Astrovision screen in Times Square.

    And it was celebrated last night at a benefit party in Chelsea, where five of Ms. Leibovitz's signed portraits of models (Twiggy, Beverly Johnson, Linda Evangelista, Erin O'Connor and Ms. Elson, the model) were auctioned to benefit the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer research. "From its beginning in 1954, Ann Taylor has worked with some of the world's most beautiful women," said Jerome Jessup, an Ann Taylor executive.

    If anything is striking beyond the obvious scope of the campaign's ambition (putting Ann Taylor back on the fashion map) and budget, it is how starkly it demonstrates that beauty ideals vary hardly at all.

    When Thorstein Veblen (and, honestly, would it be Fashion Week without a nod to the man who came up with "conspicuous consumption"?) first outlined the concept of what he termed a "feminine fashion ideal," he was conjuring a philosophy from a world in which definitions of beauty were rigidly class-based and class itself was in tremendous flux. In that world, not yet dominated by the mass reproduction of images, subtle qualities like a melodious voice, a fine carriage and lovely hands went into any judgment of what was beautiful.

    That planet has disappeared. It was already gone when Ann Taylor was founded, at about the time that television came onto the scene. In the century since Veblen wrote, there has apparently been little significant change in what constitutes a feminine beauty ideal, unless you take into account that those ideals now apply with unexpected equality to men.

    "There are five million male models and basically all we see is the same boy over and over and over," said Steven Cox, one of the designers of the men's wear line Duckie Brown, which showed at the Bryant Park tents on Wednesday a collection of humorous acid-colored and — in the case of a frilled bikini worn with blazer, white bucks and golf socks with "meatball" pompoms at the heel — vaguely humiliating spring clothes.

    "Obviously, there are lots of beautiful people out there and people who are stunning in a variety of ways," Mr. Cox said. "I'm not sure I can explain it, but for some reason the marketplace is narrowed so completely that they are all beautiful in exactly the same way."
     
  2. sugarpea

    sugarpea New Member

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    clealry the author did not look at the cover thoroughly...they do not all look the same...althgouh i agree that it lacked considerably diversity, racially
     
  3. Sloan

    Sloan I love model_mom!

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    Very interesting article! Thanks for posting! :clap: models!
     
  4. faust

    faust New Member

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    Allow me to disagree, clearly he did. And what a funny thing to note that none of them are American.
     
  5. Theory

    Theory New Member

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    Are you surprised by that? :unsure:
    I wouldn't expect any more (or less, LOL)......after all people tend to buy magazines based on who is on the cover..and not just the person's name......and they do focus groups and if the cover had been *diverse* some readers/potential readers won't pick it up or give it a 2nd glance, even an established mainstream such as Vogue....and that's just a fact......sadly.

     
  6. iluvjeisa

    iluvjeisa clever ain't wise

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    Their faces are not similar - the only quality they all share is an unusual degree of symmetry. The facial shapes are different, the mouths are different and the shapes of the eyes and noses are quite different. The thing that makes him say that is the fact that their eyes are similar. The same shine and - except for Liya and Gemma - the same color to all of them. A very smart move - it makes an otherwise crowded cover look united but diverse. It is a great cover.

    They don't look submissive and unchallenging - with the exception of perhaps Liya and Natalia. Gosh...who can think that Karolina, Gisele, Gemma or Hana look submissive. They should track him down and whip him :smile:
     
  7. faust

    faust New Member

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    Gemma has symmetry? Look at how her eyes sit on her face.
     
  8. iluvjeisa

    iluvjeisa clever ain't wise

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    To me, she's more symmetrical than Daria. I guess even symmetry is in the eyes of the beholder.

    I said "unusual degree of symmetry" not perfectly symmetrical.
     
  9. faust

    faust New Member

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    whatever. i don't follow models anyway, i think they are props. i only commented because i saw that vogue cover.
     
  10. iluvjeisa

    iluvjeisa clever ain't wise

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    Ok, I think they're as important as the photographers for the images. At least.
     
  11. carobunny

    carobunny New Member

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    When the author of the article describes the girls as "submissive and unchallenging" I think he means that they look weak, which is what I perceive when I look at them. They are all undoubtedly beautiful, but that's all they are. They show no personality, they show no strength, and they just stand around, their eyes fixed on you (the audience) as if waiting for a command, or some kind of approval. That is the feeling I got when I initially saw the cover, and the author articulated it with great words.
     
  12. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    there have only been a handful of girls in the history of magazines who qualify for that honour...don't fool yourself...girls come and go...most of them are interchangeable and replaceable...with very very few exceptions... and they are ALWAYS directed by the photographer /editor /art director...
    :flower:
     
  13. saturnine

    saturnine New Member

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    You're my hero, Softgrey. :flower: :blush:

    BRILLIANT ARTICLE!

    I thought I was the only one who thought the current crop of models were yawn-inducing clones. :rolleyes:
     
  14. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    :muscles:


    :lol: :flower:
     
  15. sugarpea

    sugarpea New Member

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    no im not surprised at all :smile:..im just irritated with anna wintour who is acting as if she did some revolutionary thing by putting these models on there...when a truly revolutionary thing would be if she, gasp, had woman of color on the front cover (besides halle berry) by herself and not surrounded by white models..
     
  16. sugarpea

    sugarpea New Member

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    my problem with his characterization of these women as submissive and unchallenging is that its so sexist, or at least appears that way...ive seen abercrombie ads with men who have the same expressions and same seemingly nonchalant look and they would never have been described as submissive and unchallenging...where is the author getting that from? there is nothing in the pictures that would indicate that to me
     
  17. sugarpea

    sugarpea New Member

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    i didnt mean when a revolutionary thing...i should really read over what i write :P
     
  18. purplelucrezia

    purplelucrezia New Member

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    Just dumb all around. :wink: :lol:

    Personally, I've long ago given up on US Vogue.
     
  19. sugarpea

    sugarpea New Member

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    are you refering to me? :(
     
  20. purplelucrezia

    purplelucrezia New Member

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    The models' facial expressions, I liked your description. :flower:
     

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