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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

JC speaks out

You may remember that J Casablancas gave a big party in Rio around New Years and it was reported at the time that he was about to return to NYC and manage the new Elite there
Maybe all this happened, but I doubt anyone noticed...

Anyway, JC talked to 'O Globo' in Brazil and he reportedly said - this is no joke, I swear - that the only fashion model right now that closely resembles the classic 'supermodel' - of the Gisele, Cindy C and Naomi C variety - is...Ana Beatriz Barros.

I am not sure whether this is good or bad for Ana - the last big call JC made was advising gorgeous Elsa Benitez to move to Next from Elite - she disappeared from the face of the earth since...

Maybe JC hopes Botox Wintour, Meisel and Co will get blown up in the next Bin Laden strike and things will go back to the way they were in the 90s - otherwise, I don't see how the 'Mary Poppins' crowd in NYC will have anything to do with sensual and attractive women...

The good thing is that JC is not bitter about Ana - who said some nasty things about JC's promises when she left Elite for IMG...

The same cannot be said for Gisele - last month, a Brazilian source reported that JC was thinking about making a 'fashion movie' - the plot would allegedly include a 'Gisele satire'
I guess that means a young Gis puffing on a joint (JC alleged Gis spent most of her time smoking weed once) and visiting a plastic surgeon...

Update: Vogue.co.uk just posted this...

JOHN CASABLANCAS stands by his claim that Gisele Bundchen is a "monster of selfishness". The model man, who founded Elite Models 34 years ago before retiring to Brazil five years ago and being tempted back into the business by its new owner, Eddie Trump, in January, is clearly still angry with the model who he is credited with discovering when she was 14-years-old. "When I criticise Saint Gisele it is only to put things on the right perspective," he told the Brazilian paper O Globo. "She behaved badly with people who made everything for her. There are those people who are humble and keep that in mind, and others who pretend they were born superstars." Casablancas, who tore into the 24-year-old model when she defected from Elite to IMG in 2000, also once famously branded Heidi Klum a "German sausage". (March 29 2005, PM)

Other important fashion news - A Wintour attended LA Fashion Week (that was supposed to be a joke...)

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Brazilian model agency realignment?

Glamurama reports that a new Brazilian agency, Lumiere Models, was established a week ago. The owner is Olivier Daube, who used to be the director of Elite Brazil, and is the husband of Patricia Barros. Some agency model names mentioned are Patricia, Ana Beatriz Barros, Fabiane Nunes and Raica Oliveira.

Any more news? Or model names?

I also hear that a famous Brazilian agency changed hands, and a model may be among the owners.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Despite the rosy sales data for US Vogue that shows up in the NY Times and WWD, the real story is slightly different (what else is news?}
Here are the official dollar revenue data for the first two months of 2005 - notice that Vogue is doing poorly, along with InStyle and W
Elle however is exploding - it will be interesting to see if this trend continues...




From Brazilian Vogue - interesting militaire look suggestion from Ana Beatriz - if you sometimes seem to have trouble attracting attention, this should do the trick (Nine gets the credit...)




Sunday, March 20, 2005

Wim at supermodels.nl has lots of Anja Rubik pics - Anja still looks good, despite the obligatory 'high fashion' - induced anorexia...

He also managed to get 90 pics of fellow statuesque Polish mod Anna Tokarska. I once met Anna, and she was wearing a bikini- which I guess was better than 900 pics...she makes the various 'bugs'/IMG mods look like a joke, which is why you probably won't see her in the 'hip in NYC' model charts....

Friday, March 18, 2005

The NoTricks site has an interview with S Mattos of 40 Graus agency in Rio -he confirms that Testino shot a "special" for Paris Vogue with Isabeli and lots of other Brazilians.

Other news - Marcelle Bitar and Jeiza Chiminazzo are in the new campain for Arezzo.
Leticia Birkheuer is in the new Armani Mania Femme perfume campaign. She also did a cover shoot for Elle Brazil and will be the star in a Brazilian film.
She doesn't seem to be that popular in NYC though - even if Ivan Bart's buddies listed her as one of modeling's top earners in Forbes. Guinevere, who hovers below the modeling horizon, also with IMG, seems to be a lot hipper with the 'Mary Poppins' crowd. Tells you how much these characters value the earnings potential of a model - if I owned IMG Models, I would either fire the top management or offload the operation as fast as I could...
Laryssa Castro is in the Animale campain

And in case you haven't noticed - I repeat that the sensual Brenda Costa is the new Guerlain Shalimar model, replacing Fernanda Tavares.
As for who the new Covergirl mod is - blah ! - someone who was replaced after a couple of seasons as the Dior J'Adore mod - that was the biggest job one of the 'new' high fashion mods ever got, but it didn't last long...
If you want a good laugh - check out the cover of German GQ for the new generation of 'supermodels'...boy, this is going to cost them dearly...
Couldn't they at least inform the NYC types so that could include Luca, Emina and whatshername in their "sexy models" list?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Found around the Net, Dept - ancient pic, probably late 1994 or 1995 - pictured here are Cassia Lara, who never got the attention she deserved, in the middle the girl who won the 1994 Elite Model Look Brazil contest along with Cassia - Gisele Bundchen, and a doll-like Carol Ribeiro, back then one of the winners of Brazil Look 1995 (along with an Elite guy -at the time- who is now with Marilyn Brazil)






If you check out the Intimissimi site, in the "Communication" section you'll see pics of the their latest billboard ad featuring Ana Beatriz, which can be seen in Italy and elsewhere...

On the subject of Italian ads - Adriana Lima continues to be the star in TIM TV spots...

Is that Ana Claudia Michels on the cover of Brazilian Vogue? I guess so...


Thursday, March 10, 2005

High Fashion and poor taste...

This site is about fashion models - I often mention that hip fashion mods can best be described as mediocre, but in order to understand why the Wintours, Meisels, Testinos, Blows and their minions promote them, a discussion on the ideology behind their notion of 'chic' is necessary...

The mass media often associate high fashion creations -and models- with 'femininity', 'elegance' and other attributes that most people find appealing in women. 'Good taste' is also desirable - but do the high fashion players agree with all this? Even back in the 60s, Coco Chanel praised 'poor taste' and Vogue editrixes commented on why 'poor taste' was preferable to 'no taste at all'. This pro-'poor taste' attitude became more prevalent in the late 90s and dominates the scene today.
Recently, biz greats such as Donatella Versace and Karl Lagerfeld refused to be associated with conventional 'good taste' and 'elegance' in interviews - trashmeister Karl now talks about a 'new elegance' that defines hip high fashion.
The problem Karl and his friends have is that they depend on the middle-class nouveau riche to buy their mass-produced kitsch, so they can't really reveal their true colors and insult their customer base. Here is what they won't tell them...

High fashion shares one thing with communism - an 'anti-bourgeois' pseudo-ideology.
Communism attacks the bourgeoisie (the 'middle classes') from below, while the high fashion crowd attacks from above, to differentiate their 'elite' from the classes who may have more disposable income but are not worthy of 'elite' status. As to who should belong to the 'elite' group - in the UK, it's primarily anyone associated with the old aristocracy, and any rich folks willing to help their causes. The aristotrash may not be as affluent as the upper middle classes anymore, but they use fashion as another means of establishing social superiority. Since the average person subscribes to notions such as 'femininity', 'elegance' and 'good taste' (typical 'bourgeois values') the elitists subscribe to the opposite - 'poor taste', 'quirkiness', 'eccentricity', etc

Kitsch is widely used in Europe as a synonym for conventional poor taste. The two main sources of kitsch are seen as the UK (Burberry plaid, the Queen's dress code, etc) and the US (the American tourist look, music subcultures, etc). As some sociologists have observed, continental European aristocracy was also associated with kitsch over the centuries - it's no accident that Vogue's A L Talley is a big Marie Antoinette fan. However, the UK is the only country in Europe which still has feudal era social class divisions and an aristocracy which is quite numerous and makes its presence felt - in France and elsewhere, the aristocrats were wiped out by revolution and social change.
The UK today can't export their traditional British elitist values by themselves - to do that, they need the help of their American cousins. Since 1999, what is known as 'high fashion' is completely in the hands of a group of people based in NYC but with a strong influence - some say even direct control - exerted by the British social elite. It's the power of the US dollar which helped mass-market high fashion kitsch become a globalized business - the NYC crowd had to expand to Milan and Paris (with Tom Ford taking over Gucci Group and YSL) since the few local "fellow travelers" (like the Vercaces and Miuccia Prada in Milan, LVMH in Paris) could not effectively impose Anglo-inspired kitsch on the local sensibilities.

If you want to look deeper into things - after the New World Order was proclaimed by papa Bush in the early 90s, the AngloSaxons tried to grab control of profitable markets from old-world Europeans. Fashion was seen as a good globalized business opportunity, and control was wrestled away from the French - in a similar way in which they were kicked out of most of Africa. Paris and Milan were invaded by UK designers and stylists - but more importantly, the middle and lower level design staff members are now heavily British as well. NYC got the photography and show organizing business, and most mods had to relocate there since even minor Italian mags shoot in NYC these days.

So, what is the high fashion 'ideology'?
Part of it revolves around consumerist post-modern 'neo-kitsch', also known as 'camp' (taken from a French term, in English it refers to a fun-loving homosexual lifestyle). The theory is that the oppressed homosexual develops a 'poor taste' mentality as a means of resistance against the prevailing bourgeois social aesthetic. S Meisel said pretty much the same thing in an interview he once gave to gay mag "Advocate" - that his work is characterized by a 'queer sensibility' and a 'fuck you attitude'. Exaggeration (as in paying homage to famous transvestites), excessive ornamentation (as in fur trim on everything) and a love for stereotypes are also characteristics of 'camp'.
In a few words, 'camp' is a celebration of 'poor taste' and vulgarity - but from a position of privilege, while kitsch can come from any class.

Fashion kitsch/camp does not apply to straight males, who don't usually have a 'look' - unless they are fashion victims. The concepts are mainly feminine.
Kitsch is always mass-produced (the high fashion conglomerates are mass marketing giants) and its objects are 'beautified' - but not beautiful. This explains why the models used in high fashion are not conventionally 'pretty' - their 'beauty' is grossly artificial and some sort of quirk (Julia Stegner's mouth, for example) that distracts from conventional 'beauty' is essential.
The claim that 'quirky' is better business because it attracts consumer attention is false - notice that high fashion types themselves use 'perfect' looking males in their campaigns. The alleged quirkiness marketing trick seems to apply only to females.

High fashion creations (including photography) can never be art, because art is the unique result of individual inspiration, while kitsch is just mass-produced copies of 'nostalgia', usually with heavy 'periodization' (as in 'this is so 80s'). Kitsch however can't be outright repulsive, since the merch has to be sold on a massive scale.
One of the reasons that the high fashion crowd doesn't like sensual nudity is that the bare -curvy- female body is considered 'art', while a heavily ornamented or waif body is kitsch. The high fashion 'waif' look is a combination of a kitsch body in kitsch clothes. High fashion adores Kate Moss because she is the personification of kitsch -if she was also aristotrash, she would be perfect. The high fashion photographer will usually pick 'unattractive' females for any nudes he may shoot - but will always use 'perfect' males.

'Camp' elitism needs socially lesser people to poke fun at - which is why Miuccia Prada uses the 'English housewife' look, etc. Her creations, like the overpriced nylon bags, are intended as another joke on the bourgeois consumer - Miuccia and AW subscribe to the notion that you can't have the luxury of irony when you are poor. This elitist urban tribe brings together WASP and JAP princesses, British aristotrash, NYC Warhol male groupies from the 70s and the assorted Eurotrash.

High fashion models look a certain way, because the characters who pick them make sure they conform to their own mentality.
The 'poor taste' tribe has managed to wipe out the old modeling biz, promoting some willing nobodies who used to be model contest animateurs in the 90s to 'hip agent' status, and also imposing their trashy model choices on the European markets. As long as the big fashion conglomerates continue to prop up all this crap, I see little potential for change - maybe one season with 'pretty'(?) mods following a season with 'bugs', and that's about it.
I normally couldn't care less about high fashion - the same people were around in the 80s/90s, the voguey waifs appeared in all the 'major' shows, but the fashion scene was centered around the conventionally perfect 'supermodel' image until the very late 90s. Nowdays, the rejects from the 'hip in NYC' (or A-list) charts can be seen in most campaigns, even in Euro mags - a pathetic sight.
The only good thing - the money I used to spend on the fashion mags I no longer buy stays in my pocket. Maybe I should thank AW for all the cash I am saving...

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...

Monday, March 07, 2005

Giulio has the full collection of pics from the new Yamamay catalogue featuring Ana Beatriz, in his site, here



More news from Brazil - check out also www.notricks.com.br - the Blog's fave teen redhead, Cintia Dicker, had a fever but is OK now and will appear in the Walter Rodrigues show today in Paris. Looks like the Italian D mag people like her a lot, since she has something like five covers already - three are pictured below, along with her brand new Moschino Jeans campaign ad.





Curvy Daniella Sarahyba, who exploded in the pages of the last SI Swimsuit issue, appears in the new Gap Body campaign, shot by Peter Lindbergh.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

AW saved from French furry animals terror

AL Talley impersonating a character from the Chipmunks

ANNA Wintour's brave refusal to buckle under to threats from animal-rights terrorists earned her a pie in the face yesterday at the Chanel show in Paris.

"That is for the little animals," cried the smartly dressed blonde, who was allowed to escape. Witnesses said Wintour looked shaken, but Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley quickly marched her backstage to clean up.

Wintour later told Hilary Alexander of London's Telegraph that, "She didn't know what type of pie it was — maybe tofu, but she felt sure it was great for the skin."

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Yeah, Paris FW is on...Zzzzzzzzzzzzz...the Parisienne demand mods with 83cm chest maximum - sod them...
The shopping experience for the NY crowd could be better if it wasn't snowing...not exactly "Paris in spring", eh?

Back to more interesting stuff - top left, the four mods are the gorgeous Constantini, a previous Brazil Model Look winner - Ingrid Kelly, the very pretty Fabiana Semprebom and Leticia ?
Top right, Raica, from the cover page of Vizoo magazine.

Below - three pics from the Brazilian No Tricks site - thanks to Debora Dias for the info...

Left - massively cute Carol Francischini, the sensual Carmel Bortoleti, Renata Klem - by now a veteran in the biz, and Joao Veluttini.
Middle pic, Gianne Albertoni with Simone Hanke - and on the right, Roberta Bastos with Fabio Luis.