This chat board is for comments on models, mag features, events, and all model-related stuff

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Alina Kabayeva finally managed to get her Olympic gold - she narrowly beat Irina Tchatchina, but there was no "excess bitchiness" displayed. The two Russians and 3d winner Bassanova are very pretty, but you can't really tell from the hideous tarting up jobs. Alina can now relax a bit and do more promotional stuff.

As for Khorkina - like the hack says, "Long may she reign over us"


Brazilian mod Cassiane Bohn has been around for a while - aparently S Meisel got interested in her, so she appears in a Vogue Italia ed. Leticia Birkheuer is on the cover of the mag's Beauty special.

Weird Kiwis Dept

"...SUPERMODEL Rachel Hunter was left in tears after a teenage sex pest groped her breasts. Rod Stewart’s ex, 35, was posing for pictures when the 16-year-old lad lunged at her. She screamed in horror as he pawed her in front of hundreds of shocked fans at a shopping centre. The boy then tried to run off but he was grabbed by a shopper and handed over to police in Christchurch, New Zealand. Shop assistant Hayley Walla, 17, said last night: “Rachel was plugging her beauty products at the mall when this guy just flew out of the crowd and grabbed at her breasts.
“She screamed and started crying. She was really upset.�
Kiwi beauty Rachel recently starred in a pop video as a sexy mum who is fancied by her daughter’s young boyfriend. He fantasises about her dancing in a leather miniskirt..." the Sun reports.
No wonder - watching "Xena: Warrior Princess" reruns (another Kiwi cultural product) was probably the cause.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Hypocritical PETA

The PETA people used to throw stuff at AW some years ago - but since the editrix consolidated her power in NYC, and probably bought them out like everyone else in town, these "sensitive" characters chose not to cause any trouble during high fashion events - or protest against Gisele or other voguey models who did Blackglama, etc campaigns. The news that they now decided to attack Cindy Crawford because she appears in the latest Blackglama campaign shows how hypocritical they really are - you can bet they'll behave themselves during NYCFW, acting like proper AW lackeys.

Trashy Burberry - "...Pub chain owner Barracuda said it had banned drinkers from wearing Burberry, Aquascutum, Henry Lloyd and Stone Island in two city centre pubs in Leicester after the labels had become associated with lager loutish behaviour. A spokeswoman for the chain said the policy was flexible and would allow, for example, well-behaved women carrying Burberry handbags..." I bet the Japanese embassy in London will issue a travel warning...


Tom Ford denied rumours that he was in talks to work with Miramax...while Elizabeth Jagger was told by Lancome that she would have to put on weight or risk losing her contract...

More Claudia S fan trouble - "...Police were called this weekend after a 49-year-old Canadian man turned up at the front door of her £9 million Suffolk mansion, asking to meet "the lovely Claudia". It is thought that he had flown 3,500 miles with the sole intention of meeting her. He was taken in by the police but was released after agreeing not to try and visit Schiffer again..."
Someone should tell this guy about Canadian "top models"...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Modelling news - someone reportedly bought Elite Models NYC in a bidding auction in Miami - but does anybody really care? The lucky man gets Rianne T H and Linda Vojtova.

Olympics - the rumor mill was right, as the AP reports, "...Under suspicion of doping, Olympic hammer throw champion Adrian Annus retired from sports Thursday rather than deal with what he called a campaign to manipulate test results against him... International Olympic Committee officials told The Associated Press that Annus passed a drug test after winning the hammer throw Sunday, but doping control officials have been trying to track him down since then for further testing. The IOC wants to find out whether he provided his own urine for the test or whether he tried to beat the screening system as teammate and discus gold medalist Robert Fazekas allegedly did, the officials said on condition of anonymity...Annus remains under the jurisdiction of IOC doping rules through the end of the games Sunday. If found guilty of a doping offense by then, he would also lose his medal..."

Nothing is "official" of course - the IOC hasn't made any statements about Annus.
Not a very transparent process, since there are major commercial interests, sports politics and lots more involved.

Joke of the day - nope, it's not the latest entry into the NYC "A-list", by virtue of a single appearance in some obscure but allegedly hip British magazine, but the fact that the US Rythmic Gymnastics team protested about the score given to the sole US athlete in the competition, who finished 18th (!!) out of 24 gymnasts, in the hoop.
The US is so irrelevant in the sport, I doubt anyone will bother - as for Alina Kabayeva, she managed to drop something again, but finished in the top positions. The very tall Ukrainian who is her main opponent, Anna Bessonova, looked very solid, but the Ukrainian team messed up and is out of the team finals.

Like, my fans care if I drop a $#@tty hoop, thinks Alina...




Monday, August 23, 2004

Barbara Fialho

Barbara Fialho is a new Brazilian model - said to have been discovered by a scout in Minas Gerais, Brazil, about a year ago. She appeared in Women NYC agency lists, and NYC types found her hip soon after - no wonder, since not only she appeared in Alexander McQueen's show, but yobo Mac even stated that she has the best body he has seen in the last 15 years! Swimsuit pics I posted from Sao Paulo Fashion Week don't reveal anything close to that, but we have to remember that yobo Mac also loves Pamela Anderson and is rather eclectic in his tastes. Anyway, Barbara did Diesel, J Mendel and Pucci campaigns, 26 shows in SPFW and 16 in Fashio Rio, just did a Dumond campaign in Brazil and flew to London in August for another new campaign shoot. (Info by P Guerra)

Volleyball types...

Francesca Piccinini is one of the most famous players in the Italian Volleyball team, competing in the Olympics currently - she has done catwalk for Laura Biagiotti, and lots more stuff, including this for Men's Health mag (the Italian edition, of course)




Sunday, August 22, 2004

Khorkina drama, etc...

I am mentioning all this since it probably won't appear in US media - Khorkina, after her loss to a US gymnast, said the following:
"...I'm just furious. I knew well in advance I was going to lose. Everything was decided in advance...I had no illusions about this when the judges gave me 9.462 for the vault after conferring with one another at length... I practically did everything right, still they just set me up and fleeced me..."
About the all-around winner, Carly Patterson:
"...I've seen a much tougher opposition than her. Let's see how long she can remain on top. Can she keep going and compete in two more Olympics like myself? No, well, you better write that Patterson is a great champion and she has a great future," she added sarcastically..."
On Sunday night, Khorkina actually fell from the uneven bars and finished last - she "...did not stay to watch the medal ceremony, storming off after receiving her 8.925 score from the judges, without watching the final competitor...". Emilie Lepennec of France won gold and US gymnasts Terin Humphrey and Courtney Kupets took silver and bronze respectively.

This is nothing compared to what happened in the men's competition - a Korean gymnast had a higher score than the US athlete who got - by "mistake" - the gold!
The three judges were suspended but the US TV audience got to see an American winner.

"...Three judges were suspended on Saturday for the mistake which saw American Paul Hamm win the men's all-round event. The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) upheld Tae-young's protest but said they could not change the outcome.
"The judges' marks have to be accepted as a final decision and cannot be changed," said the FIG in a statement.
Hamm says he will abide by any decision from the officials.
"If they decide I should give back the gold medal, then I will," he said..."

In Sunday's competition, Paul Hamm "...stumbled landing on his final tumbling combination ended his hopes and he finished down in fifth place...his twin brother Morgan finished last of the eight gymnasts competing in the floor final...Kyle Shewfelt handed Canada their inaugural gymnastics gold when he won the men's floor event".

Of course, all this may be totally coincidental - the fact that US television channel NBC is the major games financier and needs US victories to get ratings for the all-important Gymnastics events plays absolutely no role...


The other thing that will probably come as a shock - to Americans anyway - is the doping problems in Athletics.
People are already laughing at the sight of Gail Devers sliding below a hurdle instead of jumping over it - as CNN SI notes, "...Devers' took the third U.S. spot in that event when Torri Edwards was suspended for two years for accidentally ingesting a banned stimulant..."

You have to love this - while evil communists use doping intentionally, the US athletes do it "accidentally" -
Reminds me of someone accused of a sodomy offence - he testified in court that "...we were both naked, I slipped and it happened by accident..."


Update: The NYT, who did their best to cover-up the US doping scandal, by burying the story as deep as they could, just run a "sympathetic" piece on the same Torri Edwards - check out some of the language, here:
"...last week, a panel of the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld her two-year drug suspension and put an official end to her dream of competing in the Athens Games...Edwards was the latest athlete to be caught in a drug net as part of a crusade to catch those who use performance-enhancing drugs...The Court of Arbitration for Sport refused to be moved and upheld the same ban that White and others received...The drug-cleansing agencies may have inadvertently created the advocate that track and field so desperately needs...Somebody has to help the athletes fight back against these doping agencies...I just want to get across to everybody that I did not cheat. I've never cheated through my career..."

I guess that's the major worry of the NY Times and their fellow propagandists - for decades, their main claim to being the greatest was that the US stands for "no cheating" - whereas the rest of the world tries to catch up by doing just that. Now that some foreigners (the anti-doping "crusade" is run by a Canadian) are demolishing the "no cheating" myth, NY Times and Co are really getting pissed, and it shows - they even advocate "fighting back" against the anti-doping authorities!!
No wonder - what will happen when the scandal spreads to the really popular sports, like basketball and baseball, now that US judges are investigating the THG scandal?

Another NY Times hack was equally upset - he proves that he isn't even reading other US media, or even his own paper, when he claims that:
"...plenty of American athletes are either sitting out these Games because they were suspended (hmmm, I wonder why...the hack doesn't think his readers need to know) or they suddenly had a scheduling problem..."
Yep, they had more serious business than the Olympics - their local College championships perhaps?
"...Gatlin (the 100m winner) is coached by Trevor Graham, who has had six athletes test positive for banned substances in the past. Four of his athletes, but not Gatlin, have been implicated in the Balco scandal. It is all so wearying. I am not naïve, and I suspect that a lot of our American sluggers and offensive linemen are beefing themselves up artificially. With all these busts in Athens, don't hold your breath waiting for big league ballplayers to show up in Beijing in 2008. They don't need this publicity..."

Wearying indeed - they are glad to report on other people's doping troubles, but things get "weary" when the focus switches to the native boys and girls. Now you know why professional baseballers won't be in any Olympics...

As for their Gymnastics coverage - no mention of the Khorkina affair, or the "error" in Hamm's case. And that's the "liberal" media.



Meanwhile, some obnoxious/ overpretentious/ etc character on BBC World was shouting ".. who is this this Yuliya Nesterenko? Where are the great names?..." The answer is that the famous US sprinters mysteriously missed the US trials or lost in the semis or got injured or whatever - in any case, they couldn't make the Womens 100 meters final, so Nesterenko won. I doubt if NBC even mentioned her.

Well, what happens is that if you don't show up for the final, you don't have to subject to a doping test - after the THG scandal, which was largely covered up by US media, many famous US athletes, like Tim Montgomery, started to have problems and failed to qualify for the Olympic events. Kelli White - the one the obnoxious BBC character had in mind, along with Devers - was stripped of her medals, while some others were "warned"- after testing positive!!

Remember Marion Jones? Wondering why she is not a hero this time around? Check this out
This was first page news internationally - but not in the USA.
I wonder what the NBC people are saying about all this (Marion also "failed to qualify" in the US trials) since I can't watch their broadcasts - I guess some sort of "accident" is responsible.
The "accident" involves over 20 US top athletes - mostly in Track & Field, since it is well known that US basketball stars and the like are never tested for doping.

The CNN SI people are firing some warning shots, to protect certain people from embarassment...

"...In truth (Jones) doesn't have to admit to using drugs. She can simply cite her struggles to get fit, the importance of the long jump or some nagging (real or created) injury. Just like that. Everybody is safe. If the relay runs a little more slowly without her, so be it. A bronze or silver that's kept is better than a gold that's given back..."

The hero of the day is Justin Gatlin, who just won the 100 meters final.
He "...tested positive for an amphetamine at the 2001 U.S. junior championships. The drug was contained in prescription medication Gatlin had been taking for 10 years to treat a form of attention deficit disorder. The International Association of Athletics Federations gave him early reinstatement from a two-year ban in July 2002. The IAAF said a second violation would lead to a life ban...".
Add to that the news about his coach and his past exploits.


The really nasty news usually comes after the Olympics are over - that's when the major doping cases are announced.
But by then, NBC will have its ratings, and everything will be forgotten until 2008...

Update: The THG affair is not obscure, like high fashion, and cannot be regarded as conspiracy talk - if you do a Google search using "THG" you'll see that the subject was major news (front pagenews in many cases) all over the world, including the UK - with one exception, the USA. It is true that US media only really bother with Athletics every four years, when the Olympics are on prime time TV - but the lack of coverage in the major media (a couple of provincial newspapers broke the story - NY Times and Washington Post coverage is a joke) is impressive, by any standard.

The W Post made some nasty comments about Khorkina - "...Khorkina was neither graceful nor elegant in her Olympic farewell. She wasn't tactful, either, snatching her warmup jacket and exiting with a flourish, trailing television cameramen in her wake, as Humphrey stepped up to perform the rotation's final routine. When Khorkina's name appeared on an Olympic scoreboard for the last time, it was in last place, 8.925. She granted no interviews, walking briskly past waiting reporters. And she didn't so much turn her head when an American journalist asked if she truly felt she had been cheated out of the all-around gold. "It shows very poor sportsmanship," said U.S. Coach Kelli Hill. "It's too bad because she, in her day, was somebody to look up to. Now I can't even do that. I've lost all respect for her...."

The W Post followed the NY Times in questioning anti-doping authorities - that prompted an unusual response by Dick Pound, the Canadian who is the head of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). He says that the W Post hack made " prejudicial and intellectually lazy assertions" and that "a newspaper of record should act like one, not like a tabloid".
"Freedom-loving" journalism goes down the drain.



Saturday, August 21, 2004

Olympic fashionable babe watch

OK, I guess everyone knows about Svetlana Khorkina by now - she posed for Russian Playboy back in 1997, and she is on the cover of the August Russian Elle issue, looking great. She won a silver medal in the Athens Olympics a couple of days ago, and she is competing again next week.

Fewer people know about Rythmic Gymnast Alina Kabayeva - she can be seen in Longines ads, born in 1983, she is finally old enough to do some saucy photography herself. The classic Russian barbiesque type, in pics from Russian Maxim and FHM. Unfortunately she wears tons of makeup as everyone else in her sport when she competes, so it's not easy to figure out what she really looks like when you see her on TV. She'll be competing too next week.

Tennis - Sharapova wasn't in Athens (but she looks great in an editorial in the Russian Elle issue) although Myskina reached the semis - she is in the same issue too, looking like a 40s vamp. The usual Slovaks were present in Athens also.
Dementieva (in Samsung ads) and a few more are also very visible - just in case you thought Kurnikova was the last popular Russian tennis player.



Friday, August 20, 2004

Loiani arrives

You'll probably see lots of "new" but forgettable faces on agency polaroids, with NYFW approaching, but Loiani Bienow is no bland face - she is represented in NYC by 1 Management (she is with Marilyn Brazil) and is almost 1m80 tall, 87-60-89.
There are several other similar 15-16 yo interesting blondes from Brazil - among them Bruna Magagna, Priscila Uchoa, Ana Hartman, etc. They are not as tall as Loiani or Constantini or Renata Klem or Sandra Steuer - Brazilian modelling hasn't produced as many tall mods as you would expect, but they are still interesting.

Anyone knows who the female mod between Tiago Alves and Ale Ambrosio is, in the Armani A/X ad?

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The Conde Nast plug, disguised as an AP story, continues to circulate - a more expanded version of the stuff you saw below appeared on CNN and other media. It's funny how AW's mag claims to represent all of fashion, as if the rest don't exist or have opinions. If the people from H Bazaar and Elle don't object to her claims, it will certainly appear to be so. H Bazaar is a pathetic runner-up to Vogue - they are so helpless, their only hope of surviving is that Vogue continues to do well so that they can keep copying it - if Vogue goes down, they are finished too. Elle is obviously run by a clueless lot - even though they have a non-model on their Sept cover, I won't be surprised if somebody from their organization publically agrees with AW's dictates. The NY Times and other big guns remain silent - I guess they are trying to find a way to sell the Conde Nast PR without insulting their readers, who only six months ago were told why celebs are so much better than models.
Is someone going to ask Alberta Ferretti, who claimed that celebs are "human" while models aren't, what she thinks about AW's move?
Not that the pathetic and insecure Milanese (or the Parisienne for that matter) plan to object - they'll just take whatever models the usual suspects tell them are cool and hope they get some publicity out of all this.

A clueless question - since "...This season's styles are so strong..", as a Mr Julian asserts, will we continue to see the officially "nondescript" models in the hip charts?

btw - why didn't AW announce the news herself, but instructed a Sally Singer to do the job? Take a guess...



As for mag performance, PIB figures from January to July 2004, compared to the same period in 2003, show:

US Vogue is DOWN 4.8% in ad pages, up 4.8% in ad dollars
US Elle is up 2.2% in ad pages, up 9.9% in ad dollars
US H Bazaar is up 11.9% in ad pages, up 20.1% in ad dollars

Teen Vogue was up 97% and Elle Girl 71% in ad dollars, as teens seem to desert YM, Teen People and Seventeen.

Obviously, the "H Bazaar in trouble" stories you see in the NY Times or WWD are planted, and show how these publications are "influenced" by Conde Nast interests.

However - US Vogue appears to be doing very well in newsstand sales - for the first six months of 2004 (compared to the same period in 2003), they are up 10.5%, a better performance than Elle (up 6%), H Bazaar (up 6.7%) and InStyle (down 1.1%) - W was down 16.7% and is selling only 43,000 newsstand copies.
This seems to contradict what AW's cronies are suggesting - Vogue's celeb covers seem to be selling very well this year.

Elle's subscriptions btw have almost reached Vogue's - but their "total paid circulation" is 1.043 million compared to 1.275 million for Vogue. Cosmo sells almost 3 million copies.

From our archives...

A recent post reminded me of a feature that appeared in magazine BUTT - it's a Dutch gay magazine, very popular with the "supercool", several of their advertisers are also present in US Vogue.
It's an interview with NYC's darling designer and a champion of the edgy/preppy teen look

This is the link to the original BUTT magazine article online


What's the point?
Well, people (devoted MJ fans - or not) who find Paris Hilton or J-Lo "slutty" (because they've "exposed" themselves at some point), disapprove in general of women who are showing too much "flesh" and/or advocate a "Mary Poppins" dress style -for now anyway- but tend to find MJ's lifestyle choices acceptable (I have no comment on that btw) are quite vocal in high fashion - and seem to always be ready to snipe at the same targets, usually anything to to do with female sensuality and sex appeal, in sort the stuff that appeals to "straight men" - who are supposed to read only "men's mags" to satisfy their "vices".
In this respect, the backgrounds of important biz figures like MJ, and how some people compare and judge lifestyles is a subject that merits attention - people will always choose to see only what they want to see, but I am posting this for the people who are looking for more than superficial motives...
(text modified to clear up any confusion...)


Factoid - when MJ did his first show for L Vuitton, he showed only one bag -when asked about it, he said that real fashion designers design clothes, while bags are just accessories. I guess AW and her pals convinced him otherwise, since he learned to love bags a lot more.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Possibilities...

This new Vogue-endorsed policy opens up some interesting possibilities - on two main fronts:

a. Since US Vogue officially insults the GUESS? spokesmodel (Paris Hilton) the Marciano brothers could grab the opportunity and make a public announcement denouncing AW's attack on Paris Hilton - and perhaps threaten to withdraw their advertising from US Vogue (or other Conde Nast publications too) as a response. That would give them a major public relations opportunity - in the past five years, nobody has dared to touch AW, but now that her cronies are talking bull and look further detached from the reality of the average American than ever before, it's the perfect time to take a jibe at them. After all,"GUESS? Model" is used as a derogatory term by AW's lackeys - maybe that approach will piss off Conde Nast, but in the end, AW's superiors will beg them to come back with their ad dollars, like they did with Giorgio Armani and L'Oreal. When people find out that many others, like Geoffry Beene, Azzedine Alaia, Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent etc had similar complaints in the past, they'll start realizing that something is rotten in AW's kingdom.

b. The big questionmark is Paris Hilton herself - she has no trouble sneering at "models in development" who dare to sit at her club table, but would she (and her family) strike back at the Conde Nasties for insulting her? I would love to see Paris trashing AW and her lame models on prime time TV - it would be a major source of embarassment for the Nasties. She could make a career out of lampooning AW and her cronies - after all, she is American old money, whereas AW is an middle-class import from England who wished she was royalty. It should be fun !!!

Beene on AW:
"...a boss lady in four-wheel drive who ignores or abandons those who do not fuel her tank. As an editor, she has turned class into mass, taste into waste. Is she not a trend herself?..."

Ready, steady...

Didn't I tell you to keep that sickbag handy?

"...The age of celebrity-obsession is over and models are back in the game, according to US Vogue. Having featured the likes of Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson and Angelina Jolie on its cover in recent months, the American style bible has given the cover of its much-hyped, 832-page September issue over to nine of the world's most gorgeous current supermodels. But while in the days of Cindy, Christy, Linda and Naomi, most readers could have put names to the faces, these days, with the exception perhaps of Gisele Bundchen, the likes of Karen Elson, Gemma Ward, Hana Soukupova, Liya Kebede, Karolina Kurkova, Isabeli Fontana, Natalia Vodianova and Daria Werbowy are hardly known. And that's the way we want it, says the magazine's Sally Singer. "In this post-supermodel, post-superdesigner world, the very top people in fashion have their lives, go to work and go home," she told AP. "It's cooler to walk down the street and have only the people who should know you know you. It makes you part of this supercool club. Fashion is always slightly ahead of the curve culturally, and people are tiring of celebrities. Reality TV and the internet has cheapened being a 'celebrity'. To be famous now is to be Paris Hilton..." say the UK vogueys.

Hail the avant-garde supercool "trendsetter" !!! F#%k Paris Hilton !!
AW loves you if people don't know shit about you!

The post-bullshit world has yet to arrive in NYC, so I should be busy for a while longer...

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The first pics of the US Vogue 3-fold cover with nine mods are out, but the major hype machine remains silent since they need to get some fan feedback first - I am not going to say anything yet, other than that the snapper copied an old Arena mag cover page concept and the makeup/airbrushing is worse than even the nastiest L'Oreal ads.
Oh - and no US models are included in the group.

So - what about people like G Armani and R Cavalli, who were sold "2nd rate" IMG models by Testino and Co in the last couple of seasons, the ones who were left out of the US Vogue cover? Too bad for them - they better be more careful next time.
Meanwhile, their (more important to Conde Nast) competitors are represented, since their mods are included in the multi-group shoot.

Update on NYC "high fashion" icons - pagesix.com informs us that one of the NYC Warholite crowd's major heroines, "low life in high heels" transvestite Holly Woodlawn (see a previous post) is not only still alive, but even gave a big party recently. No news on who attended the party though - I would like to know how many fashionable Mary Poppins fans were present. Holly was last seen in a coma, in L.A.
She starred in the movie "Trash" (1970)- one of the famous Warhol trilogy (Flesh, Heat and Trash). Many NYC fashion characters remain fixated to that period - some even have Joe Dallesandro's hair (Joe's were real though)

You already know which model (on the Sept US Vogue cover, too) "pays homage" to Jackie Curtis - guess which one may do the same for Holly - Meisel's styling in some recent Vogue Italia cover may provide some clues...check these pics out.

As for Candy Darling - she actually looked sexier than some hip "A-Listers"

Did you know that Betsey Johnson was involved with the Warhol crowd, designed clothes for the Velvet Underground, and was married to John Cale?
Nowdays she casts "pretty" models for her show - and the basse classe Warholites (Meisel and Co) ignore her.


New Age truths

One mod who was on the NYC fashion blacklist made a comeback recently.
Guinevere Van Seenus had a problem (other than the fact that she looks very "1997 chic", but has been restyled) - she made this statement, according to Village Voice, in an intereview she gave to the Face mag:
"...Karma has lots of different explanations. I've been told that 'gay' is really that you've had so many lifetimes as a particular sex that, when you move into a new sex, you have trouble adjusting. One of the karmic explanations for the Jews that were massacred was that they were the Huns at one point. You know, they massacred, pillaged, and raped thousands of villages so . . . I mean, I dunno if I believe that, but if you're bad you're gonna have repercussions in another lifetime..."

After five or so years in the freezer, she is back, and apparently very hip.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

On the left - Brazilian Bruna Brignol, in what looks like a feature from a US mag - anyone knows which one?
Bigger scans?
On the right, Natalia Gotsiy, the Ukrainian Karin Kiev mod who was the Ford "Supermodel" winner - with the agency granny in the middle and JC's old flame on the right, from a Ford Models NYC party.
We'll see if Volodina fans get impressed.



Friday, August 13, 2004

Charlize Theron will be the new Dior J'Adore girl

Dior confirmed that Charlize will appear in ads for J'Adore, starting this season.
"Working with both John and Nick was by far one of the most amazing experiences of my life," Theron said of Galliano and Nick Knight, who shot the campaign.
The contract "is thought to be a three-year deal...between $3 million and $5 million".
So - that's the end for cute Tiuu Kuik.

Last season the news was that Scarlett Johansson was to replace her - apparently the Dior people decided to go with a bigger international name, since Chanel chose Nicole Kidman as their No 5 face - so Tiuu probably got an extra season as the J'Adore girl. Scarlett will be the face of a new Calvin Klein fragrance, hardly in the same league as J'Adore or No 5.

Does this mean that models can't compete with actresses? It certainly means that "high fashion" models can't - both Dior and Chanel use little-known fashion/beauty models extensively in many of their lines.

Charlize btw was a Milan fashion model - she even won a model contest - in the early nineties, but the competition in Europe was so strong at the time that she found herself in LA, looking for a new career.
The last Chanel 5 girl I remember is Estella Warren - the ads were great, as for her modelling, she certainly is better than 95% of the Canuck mods you've been hearing about.

September issue covers are important for US fashion mags - AW bit the bullet and put models on her cover page, inc some new names, hailing the year of the "supermodel". And how does US Elle respond? With Jessica Simpson, "America's princess bride" !!!!!
Yep, Bensimon and Co are probably comatose, this choice is nothing short of ridiculus. Now that AW was proven wrong (remember when she championed celebs over models?) and changes direction, they could simply select a couple of any of the "conventional" mods they regulary feature in eds and who happen to be very visible in campaigns - and see who wins the newsstand buyers, Gemma and Co or the VS/Pantene/L'Oreal/Dior etc faces?
This was a no brainer - they could have gone the populist way, with Adriana Lima/Alessandra Ambrosio, the "elegant" way with Ana Beatriz/Raquel Zimmerman, use someone new but still visible, like Fernanda Motta (Pantene) or Leticia Birkheuer - or even some beauty spcialists (UK Cosmopolitan used Fabiana Tambosi three times in the last year, so she is certainly not costing them newsstand sales!!)
And what do you get instead?
Jessica Simpson !!!
How does this differentiate US Elle from any of the teen magazines? Geesh!!

Ana in some weird Surf dudes party in NYC organized by Rowland and Co - only days before she left Women for Next. Notice the risque outfit - probably too much for the SI Swimsuit issue parties, where the girls dress in conservative "Las Vegas escort service" fashions. The gaze is very appropriate, I think it's perfect for her "sexy and impossibly perfect" image.



More J-Lo stuff - the VS people now have some major competition in the lingerie market



Ana in the south of France, on vacation, in late July - notice the hair color



Ana Beatriz in a recent J-Lo ad



Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Eva in Italy

"...Isn't life a ball? Czech catwalker Eva Herzigova was spotted frolicking on the Sardinian coast recently looking every inch the supermodel, her perfect curves wrapped in a polka dot bikini and the arms of two millionaires. Staying at Flavio Briatore's famous Billionaire's Club on the island, Eva was seen laughing and indulging in a group hug with the Formula One boss, ex-boyfriend of both Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum, and her boyfriend, Italian businessman Gregorio Marsiaj..."

Looks like Eva put the AW/US Vogue episode behind her - while clueless "pros" are trying to make some ancient S Meisel faves look "10 years younger" using modern science, guess who is going to profit the most from the "supermodel revival" of 2005...
Naomi too, although the usual high fashion suspects won't notice - "supermodels" and models in general don't sell in their local market.

This is what the Sun had to say:

Eva Is looking her beautiful best after shocking everyone with her gaunt look last year. At the start of 2003 the supermodel's pale and anorexic look had rumours circulating about her health.
But recent appearances show a different picture looking as gorgeous as she ever did.

Me says - I don't remember any NYC "fashion journalists" making similar comments - since she looked "gaunt" on her way to a dinner with AW, the hacks were probably scared shitless about angering the alpha female (AW) - "family values", Mary Poppins etc notwithstanding.

Eva will soon be seen in her latest film, Modigliani, and this time she is determined that her movie career takes off. She will disappoint her male fans as she has said that she does not intend to unveil the double feature which made her a household name in the first place.

The beauty made herself famous when she fronted the Wonderbra billboard ads ten years ago, winning her an army of admiring fans
(Me says - that was in Europe, the US mod was far blander)

In a report she says that she is constantly bombarded with offers from people offering me huge amounts of money to do stuff, whether it is films or just posing in a studio.
(Me says - I bet Gemma and Co are getting lots of similar offers - after all, for the avid Vogue reader, they are the "top models", while Eva H (!!!) isn't)

Eva, 31, also reportedly says that she gets with rubbish offered, for example, Superbra Versus Godzilla. "If they can find an excuse for me to display my breasts then they take it. These films are outrageous. I would be ashamed to be in them, or for my family to see them. The image that I am a sex symbol is such an antiquated idea - if you have fair hair and blue eyes so you must be stupid. You model, so it makes you doubly stupid.

Eva can speak four languages. The daughter of a secretary and a mining engineer, she was spotted at the age of 16 by a model agency scout, during her ten years on the catwalk she becoming one of the highest paid models before deciding to try her hand at acting. After several attempts that went nowhere she seemed to have lost her way but luckily for Eva, one of the few people to recognize her true talent was Glaswegian Mick Davis, who wrote the movie Modigliani.

It tells the tale of artist Pablo Picasso's great rival Amedeo Modigliani and Mick thought Eva would be perfect in the role of Picasso's wife Olga. Her portrayal of the feisty character was greeted with acclaim by critics at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this month.

Eva says she now wants to concentrate on acting and is hoping her latest role will lead to other movies.
Eva has been dating Gregorio Marsiaj, who runs his own sports footwear firm and is the son of a well-off Turin businessman, for two years, friends describe them as very, very happy."




NYC Fashion Week is coming up September 8th, and the last ex-USSR mods that I know, who never visited NYC before, are heading for the Big Apple. I told one teen mod that according to the NY Times, ladies over 17 are not supposed to show too much of their legs in public - and that the "Mary Poppins" look is considered appropriate for the trendy. Her response was "They can $%$#&$ Mary Poppins where @#$%# - plus some Russian comments I couldn't decipher. I asked another mod - her professional opinion regarding the statistics of a well-known Russian hip mod. Her comment was "..her butt is bigger than a Moscow public bus...", which I guess is used as a unit of measurement. A third teen birdie, of the Moscovite highbrow variety, commented on the cosmopolitan quality of another A-lister: "She sounds like she comes from a little village - I bet her mother has a cow". Obviously zillions of TV shows promoting the fun of US farming life had little effect in Russian urban areas. Add to that lots of trash talk about Marc Jacobs and LVMH - apparently the sight of Masha Shaparova in 100% L Vuitton was considered gross, even though she was dressed for a London posh event.
Guess what - the Ford Models contest winner from Kiev made a late entry into the "A-List", apparently she will be in NYC catwalks. No news about how much weight she was forced to lose in order to qualify.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Unforgettable fashion reporting

Nothing to do with NYC "fashion journalism", don't worry...

Shane Watson, March 30, 2001, The Guardian:
"...Carine Roitfeld...they refused to believe that someone with a face like Iggy Pop's, legs like Rumplestiltskin and the expression of a childcatcher could be the icon of fashion girls world over. "That", said one of them, "is the scariest looking woman I've ever seen". But isn't that the thing about cool? It is prized beyond rubies by a few obsessive individuals and is absolutely incomprehensible to everyone else..."

Spooky!

Sophie Dahl had some unfortunate experiances with family members:

David Jenkins, 11/10/2000, UK Telegraph.

"...As Isabella Blow, the fashion muse who four years ago discovered Sophie weeping on a London pavement and turned her into a modelling phenomenon, once put it: 'No one can keep their hands off Sophie.'...to complicate things further, when Sophie was 17, the famously rackety Tessa Dahl, her 44-year-old mother, also took one of Sophie's male friends to bed.
Tessa's waywardness - well-chronicled battles with hard drugs, suicide attempts, bankruptcy, a tendency to drag her teenaged daughter from India to New York to London and back again at the drop of a hat - inevitably took its toll on the mother-daughter relationship - no shit, says FV - it can't have been helped by the 'first period' party Tessa threw for Sophie at the Plaza, New York; a cake, with a single symbolic red candle, was wheeled in...it was at Da Silvano's that she recently suffered a version of Britain's 'all hands on Sophie' syndrome. 'There I was, in the loo, with my trousers round my ankles, having a pee. And you know Paul Schrader? The man who wrote Taxi Driver? He was banging on the door and I said just a minute and he opened it! From the other side! With a key! And the whole restaurant saw me! Completely unacceptable!'..."

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The story so far...

This is an update of a May 2003 posting...

If you think the stuff you see is this Blog is obscure - you are right.

Thanks to AW, her friends and minions, and their "new aesthetic", the public has grown totally indifferent to today's "top" fashion models - the ones seen in the "major" fashion mags and in the various "top model" lists.

Despite the efforts of a small group of people to kill the original "supermodel" concept (according to which the top models have to be the ones with the best bodies and face features and with mass appeal potential) and replace it with their own version, most people still talk about Cindy C and Naomi C when they are asked to think "top model".
In fact, 2005 will be a "supermodel" year - you'll see once again many of the things that were hip in 1995, including rave fashions, and of course, the (high fashion) "supermodel". A grotesque version of Linda E is back, looking exactly like she did in 1995, and sharing campaigns with Paulina Porizkova and others.

The "specialist" reporter on the subject, M Gross, who wrote the book "Model", lost his column last year because readers of the NY Daily News newspaper reportedly showed little interest in his (A-list) model-related coverage. He is back in the news, since a new "supermodel" movie is to be released in 2005, with backing from Madonna, and based on the "Model" book.
Most of the media "model reporting" is really nothing more than PR for model agencies and NYC fashion PR houses, like Krier, KCD and Betak - with almost all "gossipers" having something in common: Awe for publishing giants Conde Nast and their high fashion mags. Other competing mags (US Elle and H Bazaar mainly) regularly get trashed, there are constant rumors about H Bazaar's "troubles", while the main rivals to the Conde Nast "contract photographers" - mainly P. Demarchelier and G. Bensimon- are routinely described as incompetent or talentless
(Demarchelier recently signed with Conde Nast, so the critical CN lackeys will now learn to adore him).
The NYC high fashion clique has total control of NYC media reporting on modeling - although even major biz events, like fashion weeks, are today minor news.

Does the media indifference really bother the high fashion crowd - or was it achieved by design?

Yours truly is different- I have no ties whatsoever to fashion or modelling, English is not my first language, and not even Gerald Marie would hire me (Despite the fact that his Ukrainian wife is one of my Top 3 fave models, ever since 1997). I operate from somewhere in Europe, and couldn't care less about the NYC model biz "insider" stuff - I mention these open-sourced "gossip" stories mostly for their comic relief value, and to highlight the crass characters of many of the main participants. The truth is that the Milanese and the Parisienne are even more irrelevant - and they don't speak much English, so they are no fun at all.
Some of this "gossip" btw may help to explain why certain models do better than others, or why some agencies do poorly (in which case, it's the models again who suffer)- so it has some relevance.

I do like "new" fashion mods - but my interest has waned after the decline in overall fashion model quality, caused partly by the collapse of the "old-style" fashion modeling biz, which was run mostly by maturing playboys and various dillitantes - they may have looked weird to grown up women, but they sure knew how to pick the best girls. The quality of most of today's model "discoveries" is very poor, compared to what model agencies produced in the nineties, when the international frenzy with the "supermods" was in top gear.
My interest in all this started after I found out that many of the top girls in the (very few) major fashion model contests - the prime vehicles for discovering the best new mods throughout the nineties - were in fact better mods than most of the celebrated "top models".
That was back in late 1997, but I still feel relevant - many of the girls I met back then and in the next 3-4 years are only now becoming more visible. The delay is largely due to the "edgy" model wave that sidelined most quality models in the past 5-6 years (to call these "edgy" mods simply inferior in quality would be incorrect, since they were in effect "anti-models" - the people who promoted them wanted to destroy the image of the perfect, elegant, appealing model, that the "supermodel" era produced)
Girls like Michelle Alves had trouble finding jobs from 1999 onwards - it was only recently - after 9/11 in fact - that many got the success they deserved. Others, like Korina Longin and Noemie Lenoir, among the "soon to be big" in 1997, are still not widely known, in high fashion circles anyway. Rhea Durham, the "Revlon girl" after Cindy C, was "high fashion" for a time, but perhaps her beauty looked too "classic" for AW's purposes - she still works, got married, but the hipster crowd pretends she doesn't exist. The girls who were working before 1998 and "survived" without much trouble tend to share certain common characteristics - mainly the fact that they are favourites of AW/Meisel and their circle.

Not that I was ever into "supermodels" much - I was no more interested than the average guy, just following the supermod coverage on the TV news and all over the press, for much of the nineties. I still have the 1986 Sports Illustrated calendar - it was actually a present - with Paulina Porizkova's pics, but I never bought any mags with her editorials.
As for the "supermodel" story - most people credit Elite's Monique Pillard as the inventor of the supermodel concept - helped by Marco Glaviano, who shot a series of calendars with Paulina Porizkova, in 86 and 87. Cindy Crawford was the top name in the late 80s - and beyond. Cindy, as well as S Seymour and 80s top model Hunter Reno were contestants in the first fashion model contest Elite organised, in Acapulco, Mexico. Linda Evangelista wasn't there - but she did win the "Miss Niagara Falls" contest when she was 14 years old. In 1990, after the initial success of the "Trinity" (Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista) in which S. Meisel played a significant role, after he met Christy in 1986 - Gerald Marie, one of Elite's owners (who was also instrumental in the "Trinity" success story and used it to promote his new wife, Linda E) convinced several important designers,like Gianni Versace, that supermodels were worth much more than the standard pay rate. Gianni started the model "exlusives" game - he paid more than anyone else was willing to, so that a supermodel would do only his show during Milan fashion week. Other designers joined the bidding when they saw the media attention this concept brought to Gianni, and model rates in general skyrocketed.
The "Trinity" disbanded in late 1992, not long after Linda E made her famous "won't get out of bed for less that $10K" comment. That was effectively the end of the "high fashion supermodel" - interest in them declined throughout 93 and 94, and by 1995 they were absent from most FW shows.

S Meisel really became -internationally- significant again only after 1998, when he started shooting major European campaigns. Most of Meisel's friends actually were influential long ago, even before AW became the US Vogue editrix, in 1988. US Elle (whose launch in NYC and success in the late 80s contributed to the editorship changes in US Vogue) and people like Demarchelier arrived fairly late, but threatened the clique's power.
The Gross book is probably the only source on Meisel's past, since he stays well away from publicity - here are a few things Gross mentions about him:
"Meisel and a pack of powerful fashion friends were trying to resurrect the cult of the fashion photographer of the sixties...In the beginning, he was imitating his idol, Avedon, whom he worshipped since grade school...he copies anything from Horst to Bourdin and poses his models as actresses and mannequins of earlier times..." Gross also mentions an interview Meisel once gave to the gay mag "Advocate", in which he says he always liked to photograph "...more effeminate-looking men, more masculine-looking women, and drag queens in hopes of teaching that there is a wide variety of people...there's absolutely a queer sensibility to my work...but there's also a sense of humor...a sarcasm and a fuck you attitude as well as a serious beauty"
This may be useful for those who claim that Meisel and Co are just doing their job and don't have any kind of agenda - one has to wonder how much of this "queer sensibility" AW shares with him.

The supermodels generated publicity not just by appealing to fashion's limited audience, but mainly by appearing in the mass media and in men's magazines, calendars, etc - they were in fact a mass-appeal "product". Designers, fashion magazines and the biz in general benefited from the increased public interest in all things fashion - if you look at the covers of most big fashion mags throughout the first half of the nineties, they are dedicated to "supermodels". The same was true for mainstream media - models outnumbered celebrities.
The big winners were of course the model agency bosses - the public demanded more of the same, and many new names joined the supermodel club after 1991 as a result.

In 1992 , the "grunge" trend was hot, along with Nirvana and Seattle music, and several "waifs" became big - with Kate Moss getting the Calvin Klein contract. The few famous waifs (Meisel also "developed" Stella Tennant, considered a waif at the time) were just a sideshow though. The public wanted tall, perfectly proportioned supermods - even Naomi C said at the time that she felt "inferior" when standing next to many of these "perfect" girls.
Here is the ancient alt.supermodels FAQ which tells you more than you really need to know - this one factoid warrants special mention:
"...Amber Valletta, in 1995...was everywhere and then deliberately cut back on exposure to prevent saturation and self-distruction of her career".
I bet the hipsters are still laughing - Amber is of course a perennial fave of the NYC high fashion clique. Her Versace campaign saturation did little to damage her career - although the same cannot be said for Versace sales.
As for "everywhere" - I don't remember seeing her in any European (non-Conde Nast)fashion mags until the late 90s.

The Gross book ends sometime in 1995. That was when terminal "supermodel boredom" hit fashion (although the trend started two years earlier) and Christy Turlington announced her retirement (but have since returned, retired again, etc).
What went wrong?
Gross offers some views - the major reason was that models became too powerful, and when even their agents got pissed (classic scene of JC in the back of a limo, blasting "ungrateful" Naomi) they got in trouble.
The supermod frenzy actually peaked in Europe in 95/96 - many "fashion/supermodel TV specials" were filmed at the time, mainly in France and the UK. In all of them, photographers like Demarchelier or Baily are shown waiting, sometimes for days, for the supermod to show up for her scheduled shoot. AW's alternative business plan certainly took care of that problem.

Many of the "top" mods who showed up between 92 and 96 disappeared not long after - Irina Pantaeva, Claudia Mason, Meghan Douglas, Jenny Shimizu, Laeticia Herrera, Iris Palmer, Fabienne, Patricia Velasquez (she did show up again recently, in beauty ads in US magazines) and so many others. Some, like Michelle Hicks and Guinevere van Seenus, Vogue Italia regulars, show up here and there and then disappear again. The 1995 "hot face", Kristin McMenamy, as well as Shalom Harlow, gave up. Bridget Hall is still around, like Chandra North, Georgina Grenville and Kirsty Hume, but hardly among the hipster faves. Others, like Maggie Wrobel, Michelle Weweje, Michelle Behennah, etc were successful commercially but got little respect from "high fashion". A great resource for model fans is "Mr 88's" magazine lists, buried somewhere - but still accessible (Please, never link directly to any pics in these sites - use text links instead).
There were also many faces who were popular mostly in Europe at the time - Adriana Sklenarikova, Carla Bruni, Ines Sastre and others are far better known today than any of the "fashion" names mentioned above. Eva Herzigova is still considered a "GUESS model" by many NYC "pros" - her mass appeal in Europe is second only to Naomi's. Models like Valeria Mazza, Leticia Casta or Nieves Alvares are huge in their respective markets. Euro fashion mags did not adopt the "celebrity covergirl" swing that was so popular in the US - most mags still use models on their cover pages.

I don't know if anyone will do a book about post-1995 events, but it will probably be boring and far removed from the truth - nobody in NYC would dare go against AW and her clique. How are they going to explain the "Belgians" - as just another "beauty wave", like a clueless US Elle person reportedly claimed?

So, what about the Madonna/Gross movie? Well, M Gross made a lot of money working for Conde Nast magazines, and I doubt he'll risk his professional future to tell a truth that nobody really cares about.
In spring 2003, the news was that Michael Flutie was trying to buy the media rights to the Gross book. His Company agency glory days were the post-95 years, so maybe he was going to expand on the book story he represented some of the best models at the time.
Flutie was not the typical model boss - he said himself once, that being gay made it easier for him to approach girls with modeling potential. His mods were rather "conventional" though - like Amy Wesson, perhaps the best US model after 1995 in my opinion, who had some trouble with drugs. While still popular in Europe, with several campaigns in France and Italy in past years, she still faces problems getting work in NYC.

NYC agents often display poor taste in model selection - or maybe that's the plan, since "good taste" is a no-no for the high fashion illuminati. The locals always talk about "the girl from next door" look, and until about 1996/97, the majority of the mods in their rosters were Anglo-Saxon, like their next-door neighbors.
Like their London friends, they are largely culturally ignorant - it's not that they knew and didn't care about Eastern European or other "ethnic" models, but they actually had no idea what these mods looked like - they probably assumed they resembled the evil spies in cold war propaganda movies. There were several hilarious "ethnic mod" articles in both US and UK media, inc one in the NYC Paper magazine, which demonstrate their ignorance - in the Paper story, a few years ago, a "Wilhelmina agent" who was apparently ex-Elite, claims that there are really no worthy Russian models, and Elite (the big agency at the time) wouldn't open an office in Moscow any time soon. Elite of course worked with agency Red Stars in Moscow since the the early nineties, and many of the top winners in their model contest - Tatiana Zavialova in 93 (3d), Natalia Semanova in 94 (1st), Irina Bondarenko in 95 (2nd) Diana Kovalchuk in 96 (1st), Vika Sementsova in 99 (1st) - were ex-USSR, and represented by the Moscow agency! Obviously Elite's PR wasn't very effective, but such displays of ignorance are typical even today, when one reads the statements made by NYC biz people - most don't ever bother to read or look at the pics in fashion magazines (except the 4-5 "hip" titles, of course).
The truth is that very few people in any agency really know anything about models - and most of those who were competent, are long gone.

It's amazing how many US top mods come from poorer areas in the US midwest and south - Amy Wesson was spotted in Biloxie, Missisippi (in a trailer park, if we are to believe Mr Flutie) but she is probably the only one who doesn't show it. Up to the mid-90s, the modelling world was ruled by the Nordic blonde, preferrably of the native English-speaking variety. Past Elite Model Look final contests used to include huge numbers of US and Canadian girls, who had limited success afterwards. That "inbalance" came to an end around 96/97, the same time many Milanese openly complained about the quality of "top" US models, as the fashion world was fast becoming more international (not in the narrow "add some black/hispanic variety" sense, as popular in NYC) and most of the hip US mods at the time didn't look very "cosmopolitan". Not surprising, considering their backgrounds.

Elite was pushing the second wave of supermodeldom back then - their "Supermodels of 2000" hopefuls - back in 96/97 -included Ines Rivero and Valeria Mazza (both from Argentina), Daniela Pestova (Czech Republic) and Ingrid Seynhaeve (Belgium). Note that none of the so-called "top NYC mods" - Amber Valletta, etc - on US Vogue cover pages and editorials at the time, or any Anglo-American types, were included. In 1998, their "Latin queen" was Gisele Bundchen, a little known Brazilian model of German ancestry, who had won the Brazilian Look in 1994 but had done next to nothing since. The hyping followed the Linda E model - constant exposure for many months in a row, on different Vogue editions. AW called her a "Vogue supermodel" - it was obvious that some people were trying to re-engineer the "supermodel" business model, but by adapting it to their mentality.
With AW's clique post-98 domination, many of the "high fashion" waifs/superwaifs who had little mass appeal or even exposure outside the US/UK, got their revenge - Meisel keeps planting Amber Valletta everywhere, Carolyn Murphy was recalled from her Costa Rican surfing exile to appear on Roitfeld's Vogue Paris with a radical salon hairdo - and then as a post-modern Grace Kelly for E Lauder, while Trish Goff, Tasha Tilberg, Stella Tennant and others are still around - it's like time has stopped.
Other more promising models faced troubles - Angie Lindvall, an "Elle face" back in 97, became "cult" and then fell from NYC hipster grace, but seems to be back in favor with the hipsters in 2004.
Many excellent new US/Canadian mods like Bekah Jenkins, Noot Sear, Lindsay Frimodt, etc work mostly in Europe - while bland "next door girl" faces keep showing up every season and getting most of the high fashion hype. Originally the Milanese used them for such trends as "trailer trash chic" - known as "poverty chic" in NYC - but now they are everywhere.

An old site which was mainly Elite PR, supermodel.com, still exists. Buried in their "reports archive", you can find NYC modeling biz factoids from late 96 and 97. You won't see many "edgy" faces - compare these mods with today's "A-Listers".
Notice the "Elite Party" story - the agents are probably all gone, the new mods in the pics were Nina Heimlich, Jennifer Williams and a cute Danita Angell, still a junior in high school. Georgina Cooper btw is still around. The Model Look event mentioned is probably from 1997, a NY preliminary. Note a very young Tracy Trinita (a 1995 Look finalist), Daniela Pestova - obviously their big star at the time - Rosemarie Wetzel - "Elite's next supermod" in late 1995 who still looks amazing in recent Oenobiol ads, and Larissa Bondarenko (not related to G Marie's current wife, Irina Bondarenko) - who showed up naked in Italian Max, looking great for her 28+ years.
One of the "lost Prada girls" is Sierra Huisman - allegedly an IMG "discovery" in 1999, but notice her in a 1997 Shisheido party -and Alek Wek was there too - long before she was hip in NYC! - here. The "Ford 50 years party" item shows that Ford did even worse than Elite in wasting top model careers - the selection of Diana Kovalchuk as the 1996 Look winner was partly due to her resemblance to Patricia Velasquez, very hot at the time.
Russians and Argentinians/Brazilians were going to be the next wave, or that was what Elite's people had in mind - but not the Russians of the sort that Women agency promoted up to recently. Natalia Semanova and several others (Dior face Christina Semenovskaya, Wonderbra girl Inna Zobova, Tatiana Zavialova, Clarins girl Olga Kurylenko, etc) were major stars in Paris/Milan, but never really appealed to the NYC fashion crowd - to the few knowledgable types anyway, since the rest probably don't know they exist - while Colette Pechekonova, said to have been discovered via the internet, did so, for reasons unknown.
I have the programme of the 1997 Elite international Model Look contest final - it includes a pic of Tatiana Zavialova, who was said to represent the soon-to-arrive "alternative beauty" to fashion modeling. That term, in later years referred to manly-looking, knobbly-kneed and generally quirky mods - but in 1997, an appealing Russian face was the "alternative" to the usual nordic blondes and the "next door" faces.
Even the Vogue empire had selected the very impressive Malgosia Bela as its "Face of 2000", according to German Vogue - but Meisel reportedly still can't find the right hairstyle (!!!!) to revive her career.
As for the Brazilians, NYC modelling never liked "Latin" - looking models. Of course, few people knew about the mostly blonde gauchas from Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina back then - and Shirley Mallmann's success at the time was not enough to signal anything, since most people didn't even know she was Brazilian.
The success of Gisele Bundchen in 1998 had a lot to do with the "Latin" trend at the time, when stars like J Lopez and Ricky Martin were very popular. Gisele, spent over a year in NYC doing mostly nothing since she arrived there in Dec 96, while Elite was ignoring the rest of their excellent 94-97 Brazilian model discoveries - they were in "development", which meant they had to wait for their turn. Most didn't, and left Elite for other agencies. Ford Models miscalculated also - along with Elite, they had the two oldest modeling agencies in Brazil, and their local model contests produced the best mods (Adriana Lima and Revlon girl Luciana Curtis were Ford Brazil, while Isabeli, Michelle Alves, Alessandra Ambrosio, Ana Beatriz Barros, Fernanda Tavares, Caroline Magalhaes-Ribeiro and Gisele were with Elite Brazil).
When Gisele got her US Vogue cover in July 1998, it was agencies like Marilyn and IMG who had the Brazilian stars, almost all of them ex-Elite and ex-Ford Brazil discoveries.

In late 1999, J Casablancas changed plans, and Elite promoted young Raica Oliveira as the new Dior girl after she won the Look 99 title - but it was too late, as Elite was in decline already. Soon after the international final in Nice, France, in September 99, a "sex, drugs and underage models exploitation" expose appeared on BBC TV. Nothing was actually proved, except that French playboys have a poor sense of humor, and that London agencies -Select in particular- knew that some of their models were heroin/cocaine addicts and did little about it. In fact, the London Premier agency lady boss declared that however bad things were, she wasn't going to play the "model granny". Instead of getting outraged at this indifference towards models, many people were "worried" about the threat old model bosses posed to underaged mods.

This is probably what the Madonna/Gross movie will focus on - Gross keeps talking about the sad lifes of some models who partied too hard and were exploited by the biz, to showcase the "ugliness" of modelling. Of course, "mediterranean loverboys" are the only villains - after all, Ivan Bart and Co cannot possibly be considered a threat to underage mods (even lesbian bookers are OK in this respect)
You can be sure that the demands hip agents/stylists make on 50 kilo/16 yo mods to lose over 10% of their already low weight before they can do "high fashion" is one of the subjects which will be ignored in the Madonna movie - which after all,is intended as a merchandising extravaganza, sort of "Sex and the City" travels back in time.

The 1999 "expose" accelerated Elite's decline and effectively eliminated the agency as the major modelling force in NYC, at least in the new "edgy" high fashion environment. What did JC really had in his mind at the time?
I don't know if Elite was going to resist AW's new "modelling world order", but their Look 99 press release sounded like a defiant statement in defense of "classic beauty". JC showed weakness during that period - he tried to find new people to head Elite NYC, but they in turn made all sorts of demands and then abandoned him. After he left NYC "as planned" for retirement in Florida, having sold his agency share to a Swiss financier, some minor bookers with connections to Meisel and Co took effective control, and eventually abandoned the agency along with the models they were managing.

Meisel wasn't always into "edgy" - he liked girls like Mexican Elsa Benitez a lot in 96/97. Her Pirelli calendar pics were amazing, and she was "the other" Elite major Latin star - and he used her a lot in Vogue Italia eds. If Elsa had the "glistening breasts" that high fashion so adored in Gisele, I wonder whether she could have been the one in Gisele's place. In any case, it was Gisele who got the major hype, and as a result, the world discovered Brazilian fashion models - which is really what matters.
The London agency lady bosses did their best to push their "edgy" faves since AW became the "trendsetter" - mostly local aristotrash, nieces and girlriends of the glitterati, plus a few "provincial" girls - their successes included Karen Elson, Erin O'Connor, Jodie Kidd and Kate Moss - who suddenly was now the "top" name and not just a sideshow to the "true" supermods. The London mods can be superwaif, overweight (Sophie Dahl - this UK Telegraph article on her beats any Monty Python movie script) or have other quirks usually not tolerated in "normal" mods - but NYC "anglophiles" will make sure they'll do well regardless.

S/S 2004 was the time for the major comeback of the Anglo-American model - new US/UK as well as Canadian and Australian faces dominated the high fashion catwalks. Even Karen Elson made a comeback - she now appears all over French fashion magazines as a beauty model, along with Omahyra Mota and other NYC beauty queens, and French Elle (who had to explain to its readers what "edgy" was back in 2000) devoted a cover to her, even though she never bothered to do any eds for Elle editions in the past.

Even though "pioneering" Karl Lagerfeld had adopted Stella Tennant in 1996 (Kate Moss lasted one year) and then Karen Elson in 1997 (who, he said, resembled an "alien mutant" - this April 1998 Salon story senses the new mood) things in mainland Europe took longer to catch up with Meisel's "new aesthetic" turn - even himself used to shoot faces like Amy Lemons and Elsa Benitez just a year before.
The turn went into high gear by the arrival of mods like Karen E and Sunniva Stordal in Vogue Italia. Karen's story is important since she was the "battering ram" used by AW's pals to impose their "new order" - her story was covered in several articles (in June 1997 and March 1998 and as well as in this piece, when the "freak" was now conventionally "chic". (UK Telegraph - free registration may be needed). When Karen Elson showed up in Milan in Spring 98, the Milanese called her "fat" and unsuitable for catwalk duty - but they soon understood what was going on, and never complained again. Karen even became a Valentino girl in 1999/2000, underscoring the total surrender of the "high fashion" Milanese to AW's new business model. She recently revealed her anorexia/bulimia problems in UK Vogue, but apparently it hardly impressed anyone in NYC.

The pivotal year for the swing to "edgy" was 1998 - that was also when Tom Ford, who was at the time thinking of leaving Gucci for Hollywood, decided to stay on and expand the Gruppo - AW and her allies took advantage of that, along with the door that was opened by Mr. Arnaud and his friends into Paris, for AW's fave London-educated young designers (Galliano, McQueen, McCartney, etc) to replace such "stale" traditionalists as Dior's G Ferre, who would have refused to go "trash" to appeal to the "It girls". Yves St Laurent was an easy target - the YSL PaP ad campaigns by Sorrenti were amazing and a work of art, his designs were actually selling well, but AW had blacklisted Yves and he in response refused to advertise in her mag. The YSL owners were looking for a better business deal - and AW's "new order" plan looked appealing. Tom Ford took care of the business penetration into Paris - the "creative" brain for both YSL and Gucci was in London - and the Parisienne, who send the Gendarmerie to harass G Armani when he attempted a Paris showing, gladly collaborated - once again stupidly thinking that post-modernism was the salvation for their stagnating fashion business.
The relation between Tom Ford and AW is well-known, and if you needed proof, the "Goddess" corporate PR, financed by Tom and hosted by AW, is one example. Tom Ford was one of very few people on whom AW could count on for ad revenue - and other things. He was also instrumental in helping to install his own stylist, Carine Roitfeld, as the editrix of Vogue Paris - an irrelevant publication when Juliet Buck was running it, but nowdays the darling of every NYC hipster, second only to Vogue Italia, Meisel's pet project, in that respect. For a fun article on Carine R and "coolness" check this out - nothing like NYC "fashion journalism" can produce.

Yves wasn't the only one US Vogue-only readers may be ignorant about - when Prada financed Azzedine Alaia's comeback recently, he refused Conde Nast employees entry to his Paris show as a payback for the treatment he had received from US Vogue in the past. Conde Nast editrixes can have very cozy relationships with their advertisers - Versace is very important in their list, and gets special "protection" - for example, other designers who may be called "the new Gianni Versace", such as Julien McDonald, Elie Saab or even Roberto Cavalli, are ignored or trashed by the vogueys. It may of course be just a coincidence, that all three who design Versace-like fashions receive similar treatment. In contrast, Mr Elbaz, who was "stale" and "boring" as the last YSL designer before Tom Ford took over, is now doing fine, since he presently works for an LVMH firm, a major Vogue advertiser

Conde Nast bigwigs are very much invoved in the philosophy behind their high fashion mags - SI Newhouse approves of the almost total absence of men in AW's publication, and has made comments about some Vogue editions being too "testosterone heavy", bacause they featured photos of men.
The absence of men in US Vogue - pregnant women get photographed (only when having babies is trendy) by well-known lesbian A Leibowitz, while the men "responsible" are nowhere in sight - is interesting, but I doubt if NYC journalists will ever comment on the subject.

The "It girl" was the centerpiece of AW's business plan - but statistics showed that they had stopped buying "luxury" goods as early as mid-2000, after they were wiped out by the stock market crash. That was not the case in the mid-90s, as the exploding stock market was creating many new urbanite professional-class females, in the 19 to 35 age bracket, who were going to be the customers for AW's "high fashion" ideal. The newly famous fashion designers and their brands, brought out of obscurity in the late 80s and the first half of the 90s by the clever marketing trick of the "supermodel", plus the new London-originating "talent", would now go global with a unified message, but appealing to the right niche audience - so the mass-appeal of the "supermodels" was seen as irrelevant.
When Tom Ford started to re-organise Gucci, he got rid of Gucci licencees, and concentrated on branding and total control of the product. The fashion models were now going to be part of the total package - they didn't have to be appealing, but it was important that the target audience was to perceive them as "cool". In fact, if they had some quirk, that could add to their "coolness" and help differentiate the product. The plan was helped by "cool" publications, also targeted at the same newly affluent audience - yuppie lifestyle/fashion mags like i-D, Dazed and Confused, Numero, etc. These mags (with the exception of Surface and very few others) surrendered their faux avant-garde image to service the high fashion conglomerates - their new role was now to push the "luxury" conglomerate merch, and use the new "edgy" and "cool" mods, shot by new "cool" photographers - preferrably under Conde Nast contract, since Virgos tend to be control freaks. Real anant-garde was the last thing that really interested the hipsters - not only Surface, but other "alternative" fashion/lifestyle mags, like Helena Christensen's Nylon, did not impress them - since they were not under their control, and they weren't really serving the "luxury" market and AW's advertisers. AW's friends showed their respect for models and designers alike, when the Prada boss said that "marketing is more important than design" - but the so-called "designers" proved spineless and none complained about the comment.

How the "high fashion model hype" system actually works:
The "hip" agents/bookers (being a Conde Nast lackey increases your hipness value in NYC) grab some nodescript/"edgy" face out of a playground or find some bland face with little or no modeling history (as was the case with many 22+ year old "Belgians"), the contract "cool" photographers are instructed to shoot her for editorials scheduled to appear in cooperating "cool" artsy magazines like i-D, and the result is used as proof of the mod's "hipness" - next, the "friendly" conglomerates get them as "exclusives" for their shows or campaigns, in a game that benefits everyone - the mod's hyped "value" may then convince other (usually clueless, Germany's Escada is an example) fashion clients to pay extra to get the mods for their own campaigns as well - they couldn't do any better than get the "prestigious" Gucci/Prada girl, after all. When it comes to people like Testino, his polaroid is all that's needed for a model to make it big. Of course, people like Meisel and Testino are busy, and have little time scouting for models - usually the mods are suggested to them (or to their assistants actually) by fashion PR people or "stylists"- it was no accident that nearly all hip Russian mods, the first to really impress the NYC crowd after 1998, are represented by the same agent (Anne Vialytsina was an IMG "discovery").

As for the fashion week shows, the major NYC fashion PR firms gradually took over the show management and organisation - they nominate the season's "hip" faces and bus them around to all the "major" shows. The hippest show stylists are actually the same ones doing the "cool" styling for the hippest high fashion magazines - Meisel's Vogue Italia stylist, the Pop stylist, etc - so there is no danger of any "non-approved" mods displacing the "cool" ones from show castings. The hip agency bosses made a lot of money from fashion shows in past years - that balanced the revenue they were losing because their "edgy" models weren't suitable for any other work.

The big model powerhouses, who were behind the "supermodel" concept, and used their resources to find the "better" models were not needed any more - during the years that big agency bosses were in control, AW and everyone else in fashion played a secondary role, and that obviously had to change.
I actually never even heard of Anna Wintour - or any other editrix - even after watching and reading hundrends of fashion-related articles and TV reports, up to late 1997. AW couldn't rise to the top and become the "trendsetter" unless model bosses/mega-agents lost their power - and they did help their own demise by asking for 50+ percent fees, alienating everyone and behaving like nobody could ever threaten them. Their greediness was such, that they had started to threaten model fan sites with "copyright" laws - I learned from an Elite bigwig in 98 that the agency had sold the model portfolios of all their models to a French multimedia company - and that those types could "get upset" if others published online photos of Elite's mods (an argument helped by the peculiar French copyright laws)
Elite was the major power behind most top models/supermodels (by 1996/97 they had all the major girls) but their power was coming to an end - the agency effectively collapsed in less than two years, from mid-1998 to mid-2000. The owners of the new hip agencies were now the principal players, and they were welcomed by fashion's "new order" - remnants of the "old order" (Karin, Metropolitan, Wilhelmina, Riccardo Gay, etc) were sidelined.

There are of course those people who think that AW is really incapable of such grandiose planning, and it was really her London pals in modelling and fashion (and perhaps some others behind them, who sought a chance to help Her Majesty's coffers) who "helped" her with all this - I tend to subscribe to that theory.
Is she (and her minions) really responsible for everything that's happening in the modeling world?
The truth is that her "trash chic" approach (every proper high fashion person is pro-poor taste and anti-bourgeois, whatever that means to the politically ignorant in NYC) and her ever-increasing strong preference for using celebrities instead of models helped reveal the true nature of most "creative" types in high fashion.
Up to a few years ago, most of the fashion gliteratti showed up on TV expressing their love for the mods in their shows, coz they allegedly personified the "drop dead gorgeous woman" ideal they so much adored. AW helped them to "come out" and express their true love - for "thinness", "new sexy" and "alternative elegance" - and show their (dis)respect for models in general.
Even "conventional" Alberta Ferreti trashed models when she said that "the difference between dressing an actress or a pop star and a model is huge...a star - the right star - humanises the clothes."
Imagine what sort of respect the freakier biz types have for fashion mods. So, some totally manufactured mega-fake "star", like pop tart Kylie, is more "human" than fashion models?

It looks more and more like the high fashion biz people would rather go back to pre-85 times, when only a few horsey blondes like Jerry Hall modelled - but they would also like to keep the fame and money the "supermodels" brought to them.
If it wasn't for models and their appeal, very few people would bother with any of them - as was the case 20 years ago.

AW and her pals, after their own fave anti-models failed consistently to help sell products, blaimed the mods and switched their attention to celebrities or model/celebrities from the past - even the one "Vogue Supermodel" - ie Gisele - is not that visible in the last couiple of years. AW's problem is how to find celebrities who are not widely known in the US, and who will then need her strong "support" - she seems to have chosen ex-Posh Spice for that role, she probably thinks she can do an "Ozzy" and charm the US public. We'll see.

The rest of the world still likes fashion models very much, and "classic" mods continue to appear on the covers of fashion magazines and TV around the world. In Italy, the big mobile phone companies who dominate the ad market use very appealing young mods, like Megan Gale or Kasia Smutniak, in their print/TV ads. Fernanda Tavares and L Casta look gorgeous in L'Oreal TV ads - their people know that actresses/pop stars alone can't sell every product. Teresa Lourenco was in Campari TV ads while many young mods, like Yfke Sturm, show up in French/Euro hair product/beauty/cosmetics ads - and the list goes on.

The "supermodel boredom" period coincided with some major model-related controversies - on the NYC side, the Davide Sorrenti affair, the drug troubles of Jamie King, Amy Wesson and others, and the public outrcy against fashion biz practices that even forced President Clinton to condemn them. (Today, "conservative" and "family values" G W Bush sees nothing wrong with AW's anorexic world, and one of his nieces is part of the celebrity/model circuit)

London agencies were badly bruised by their own 1997 "heroin chic" scandals - when British designers had to announce, under public pressure, that they wouldn't employ any model addicts (imagine how widespread the problem was in London).
The UK Vogue editrix btw - infamous for a number of things, among them calling Sophia Loren "white trash" - said in 1998 that heroin chic "may" cause harm - but not really.
The agencies did recover soon though, and were instrumental in providing models for AW's "edgy" wave.

The superwaifs that arrived with the "heroin-chic" look multiplied, but were still largely a sideshow - and clients weren't all that happy. Omega watches threatened to pull its ads out of UK Vogue in 1997 because of the "skeletal" mods - primarily Trish Goff - who appeared in the mag. Quirky/edgy mods in eds and on covers pages increased sharply from 1998 on - and up to early 2002, most of the "edgy" faces who arrived in NYC, came via London - Norwegians, Russians, Belgians, whatever the "trend" demanded.
The "Belgians" came and went as fast as the Antwerp designers who AW promoted - remember the US Vogue special on them? Nowdays, ex-"edgy" Anouck L and Co are being "beautified" and marketed to Japanese cosmetics firms.

NYC has now become the one "model capital" - up to the start of the "edgy" wave, most of the top mods were based in Paris - and the rest in Milan.
Some top names didn't even bother to travel to NYC, for the local fashion week. Today, very few good mods remain in Paris - mostly the ones who live there permanently and have husbands/boyfriends. Even Natalia Semanova had to move to NYC with her husband, a booker with Elite Paris, to revive her career - the NYC types did not include her in the crowd they bused to the "major" shows. In fact, the inability of a mod to travel to NYC or LA is often cited as a factor that limits her success potential. The models need to be in NYC (or LA) because that's where most of the "important" editorial and campaign photography takes place.
The reasons for why much of the fashion photography business has moved to the US are more complex - lower prices made possible by technical advances is one factor. The bottom line is that most of the new "hip" faces appear as NYC agency models - Natalia Vodianova spend two years in Paris and Milan being ignored by the local high fashion crowd, who started adoring her after she came back via NYC.

Model agencies in Paris and Milan still (with a couple of exceptions) scout for "conventional" models - since in Europe, a good quality model will do Couture, PaP, cosmetics, catalogues, etc as required.
(even if some model agents like to brag that their mods are not "commercial", since they think it makes them look more important)
In Milan, over 70% of working mods are from Eastern Europe or Brazil, and the number of Eastern Europeans in Paris is also high, even if Brazilians are not as popular as in the late 90s.

The Italian fashion business is so big, that even the fashion conglomerates and AW's power plays don't influence things there as much as they do in Paris (where the fashion week show times are altered, to fit into AW's busy schedule) or NYC.
In fact, AW was so pissed by the refusal of the Italian fashion board to accommodate her schedule by changing their dates, that she skipped Milan FW more than once- her minions in the media followed that by trashing the Milanese shows and designers and singing the praises of Parisian fashion.
Unfortunately for them and AW, the recent unpopularity of everything French in the US isn't helping them much - so now they have to be nice to the Milanese once again.

There are constant reports about Gerald Marie trying to unload Elite - he is in courts with a Swiss partner who refuses to give up the brand name - and also that Ford, and even "powerhouse" IMG, are up for sale. The "safe" agencies seem to be the ones who have managed to find some "investor". The downturn in the agency business was to be expected - AW's strategy and the deminished importance of the fashion model isn't doing the people who are in the modeling biz (and not media/entertainment) any good.

It was announced that there won't be any more "Vogue Awards" specials on VH1 - I guess Stella Tennant was the final straw for the average viewer, with K Kurkova less successful than expected, once again proof that AW's policies are financial failures. No VS lingerie show for 2004, either.

Few people in NYC or anywhere else continue to spend serious money on models and ad campaigns - mainly lingerie firms and beauty/cosmetics brands.
The Victoria's Secret people are constantly under siege by the usual NYC suspects to add more "high fashion" to their castings - their disasterous 2001 lineup (Betak even planted his wife, 76cm-chest Audrey Marnay, in the roster) was followed by a much better 2002 and 2003 effort. Other sexy model "institutions", like the Pirelli calendar and the SI Swimsuit Special are on a slippery slope.

At the same time, the new men's mags - Maxim, Stuff, Max, Arena, some GQ editions, etc are slowly moving away from the Pamela Anderson "Nordic boobaliscious blonde bombshell" stereotype, and into featuring more good fashion mods.
The clueless high fashion crowd believes that what (straight) men want to see is someone like Heidi Klum - their idea of a "swimsuit" mod.
Men's mag readers however are not "It girls", and the mag editors can't afford to have their mags fail to please the hipsters.

In addition to Victoria's Secret, the "high fashion" contingent now targets cosmetics/beauty firms, even lowly Maybelline (Carmen Kass was said to be in contention, but she escaped embarassment after Dior decided to renew her J' Adore contract) and the few remaining fashion brands who are willing to spend money - mainly "urban chic" labels like Baby Phat. And of course, US Vogue's hippest are nowdays regulars in many of the (previously) much-despised "catalogues".

AW's Milanese axis was and still is based on Gianni Versace's talentless and insecure sister, the duo of Dolce and Gabbana - who still do their creative shopping in London flea markets- and of course, Ms Miuccia Prada, a PhD in Political Science and a proud communist, who took over the family business and used the models and products to scorn the bourgoisie - she once said that her designs are inspired by "the banal" (NYC types should look that up)
Lots of banal (but affluent) women support Miuccia's agenda and the rest of AW's friends, even if AW's "alternative" business model has effectively collapsed and all "major" Vogue advertisers are in bad financial shape.
However, R Lauren, L'Oreal, and other "uncool" brands who tend to use "unhip" models and no "A-Listers" are posting big profits, proving convincingly that a bad economic situation really affects only those who execute bad business plans, have poor marketing and the wrong products)
Gianni Versace's death in 1997 removed a voice that could counter AW's plans - not that Gianni was 100% true to his stated principles ("I don't like models with no tits or ass") since he did use waifs and superwaifs in his shows shortly before his death. However, the term "Versace model" meant something - which is no longer relevant today. Valentino proved to be very weak, and even Roberto Cavalli has to accomodate the "high fashion" crowd since he wants to expand in the US (The S/S 2005 choice of Angie Lindvall will certainly alienate the Cavalli woman, and I think Roberto's sales will suffer as a result)
JP Gaultier used to be known as someone who liked "pretty girls" - why he had to replace mods like Cathy Hurley with the duo of Karen Elson/Omahyra Mota in his latest perfume ads is a mystery. Perhaps he is only a figurehead now and has no creative control anymore.

AW is of course mainly interested in the success of her own magazine before anything else - but when her best advertisers are slashing their ad budgets, and she has trouble replacing them (her mag needs to mantain high margins, and its importance is mainly due to the fact that it generates much more ad revenue from the same number of ad pages as other similar mags) without her mag starting to look like Glamour - even merchandisers like Saks or Ann Taylor won't keep placing 20-page "advertorials" for long, if the retail situation doesn't improve. Very few people noticed that Vogue's ad revenue dropped more than "troubled Bazaar's" in 2002, over 8%, from Jan to Dec 2002, compared to the same period in 2001 - AW's media friends made sure that little detail was glossed over.
Unless the US Army decides to give Conde Nast a "reconstruction" contract to help Iraqi women "modernise", or something equally unexpected happens, the financial future for AW's mag looks bleak. Her position in US Vogue is still secure though - if she goes, all the talentless lot who exist thanks to the suck-up jobs they keep doing for her will be left in limbo - their services will no longer be needed. The truth is that the Conde Nast ownership has nobody to replace her with - unless they choose a male editor, as was the case when she arrived at US Vogue.

The future for modeling doesn't look any better, even if 9/11 and the financial crisis made people "want beauty again" - as Tom Ford lamented, in a NY Times interview, also suggesting that beauty "isn't good for fashion". Tom is fashion history in 2004, and the important issue for this site is what's good for models - now that the public got used to mediocrity and bland faces, there is little incentive for agency scouts (even of the armchair variety) to look for "better" models - since they would be worth the same as any nobody who Meisel decides to put on the Vogue Italia cover - or another of Testino's "exclusives".
The fragmented agency situation isn't helping either - the people with money to spend on new models, now go directly to small towns in places like Transdnisteria or Chuvash, in the middle of nowhere, to get the girls from their home agencies - in the past, they would work with 2-3 big national agencies who would develop a handful of carefully selected mods which were usually the best of the lot. The quality of the models coming out of model contests is much worse than pre-99, but some good ones still surface - one example is the EML 2002 winner, Ana Mihajlovic.

Not all fashion is "high fashion" of course - there are many countries where "edgy" doesn't sell (as anyone who has observed the different ad versions in Vogue Espana can tell) and the mass-appeal brands everywhere (or even R. Lauren) still look for that "fascinating" face to grab the attention of the buying public. Milan is the prime example, a place where most brands still look for appealing mods for their campaigns.
The models in non-"high fashion" (from a model selection viewpoint) mags like Marie Claire and even Cosmo (especially the UK edition) look much better nowdays - who would expect an elegant Slovakian brunette with piercing eyes, like Linda Nyvltova, in a traditional "power blondes" mag?

Yours truly will continue to cover true fashion models (but not glamour mods, heavily implanted men's mag beauties, or "hip" A-listers who shouldn't be modelling at all) of the "traditional" variety - wherever they may work, in Vogue, Maxim, catalogues, mobile phone commercials, etc.
They don't need to look all alike or even be "pretty" - I like Inge Guerts and Cathy Hurley the same as Elena Rosenkova and Lindsay Frimodt - all very good fashion models, but very different types, their "hipness factor" is irrelevant to me.

Stay tuned...