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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The NYT run a story on the new wave of 'Eastern European Supermodels', as shown on the cover of Vanity Fair. The comment 'the Brazilians are finished!' was attributed to E Volodina.

As readers of this Blog may remember, a similar claim was made once before - in early 2001, when the Conde Nast operatives in the UK Telegraph informed Brazilian models that 'they shouldn't bother going to Milan for the castings'. The 'Belgian model' era was around the corner - the hipsters decided that they had enough of the sexy Brazilians who followed the initial Gisele craze. You know what happened to the 'Belgians' - while the sexy Brazilians are still doing quite well, especially outside the bizarre world of high fashion, where the likes of Karen Elson and Missy Rayder still dominate.

Volodina herself was lucky - a nobody in Russian modeling, took advantage of her relationship with Guya, also Vodianova's agent, and arrived with Natalia as the No 2 of the hip 'Russian package' in NYC. That was the time btw when the local modeling professionals allegedly 'discovered' Russian models - but that's a different joke.
Despite the fact that she was never really very thin, especially in the hips, Volodina remained popular with the high fashion crowd - while Vodianova proved too sexy for the hip market and is now just a C Klein/L'Oreal girl.

Are Brazilian mods really popular with the crowd that controls high fashion these days? Sure, Gisele is Brazilian, but promoting Brazilian mods was not the general plan - the hipsters wanted someone compatible with the hot Latin trend of 97-98, and Gisele got the job mainly because of her boob size (if Elsa Benitez got her fake boobs earlier, things could be different today).
Elite Models, Gisele's agency at the time, was busy promoting their Eastern European mods before it disintegrated in late 1999. The top Brazilians, mostly ex-Elite mods, were picked up by other agencies, mainly IMG and Marilyn. IMG Paris made a lot of noise back in 1999/2000 about their Brazilian stars - the package included Gisele, Ana Beatriz, Isabeli and Jeisa -but that was just before the bulk of the modeling biz moved to NYC.
Isabeli is finally hip seven years after arriving in NYC - probably because she is the only top name left with Women(she was blacklisted too, along with every other Brazilian -except Gisele- during the 'Belgian' era) Various nobodies are more 'popular' than Carol Ribeiro, while Carol Trentini has high fashion's love for Nicole Kidman to thank. Hardly a rosy picture...

As for the subject of new and old Eastern European mods - the VF piece is another high fashion joke, since few people really care about most of the mods they feature in their story. The names who sell real products are the likes of Inna Zobova (Wonderbra outside the USA), Maja Latinovic (US Wonderbra) V Varekova, Petra Nemcova, Eva Herzigova, Adriana Sklenarikova, Olga Kurylenco, etc

Other than Vodianova and Kurkova (rather popular in Europe actually, in markets such as Spain and Poland) a 'new' mod who may appeal to the general public is Valya Zelyaeva. She is known as a 'R Lauren' model in the biz (ie not 'edgy' enough) - but she can't match Guinevere's hipness status with the 'Mary Poppins' crowd...
What about Hana? If she gets rid of whatever makes her appear anorexic, she would look OK in a swimsuit.

The story btw was shot by P Demarchelier - if it was one of the edgier 'contract photographers' instead, you can bet the model selection would be far worse. Patrick is the 'acceptable' face of high fashion, and the hipsters have stopped trashing him now that he is on AW's payroll...

All this doesn't mean there are no quality mods from Eastern Europe working right now - it's just that high fashion is not interested in good models of any kind (or anyone not based in NYC).
The fact that there is only one Czech mod in the 'hip in NYC' charts - Hana - should tell you something...


At 3/16/2005 9:37 PM, Blogger spencer said...

i really enjoyed reading that post.
this blog is such a treat.



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