Models, Then and Now

I always thought I got why the supermodel era was so important in fashion, but it is dawning on me that I really had no idea. Lately I’ve been spending a large portion of my day writing up the posters of information that will be on view at the Met/Costume Institute’s Model as Muse show, and for some reason or other I have been given all of the late 80s/early to mid 90s models to write about (those and the seventies era party girl hotties, of course). Even though I knew tons of information about them and could have written the bios without a thought, I have to do research and have several sources for every single thing I say so while doing this research I saw so many pictures of these girls- all the famous ones and so many others besides. It was quite remarkable to me how strong these girls look. I’m not talking about physically (even though many of them have gloriously strong, lean muscles) but in terms of their auras- women won’t take shit from anyone and who are ecstatically happy to be alive. More than that they all seem to have personalities- each individual girl was her own person and not just one in a line of many (I’m not talking about just the girls who became famous but all the models I’ve seen in old editorials).
Yesterday I worked on a photoshoot for a Fall 2009 campaign. I didn’t recognize any of the model’s names when I looked at the call sheet in the morning, and, honestly, now that I’ve met them I still wouldn’t be able to remember them. They all looked the same- innocent young faces, long brown hair, completely and utterly boring. I watched the famous photographer shoot them and they were completely lacking in any personality or inspiration, and the client and producers seemed very happy with this. I guess I miss the era when designers wanted their models to be more than simply coat hangers, when they wanted them to act like this.

P.S. How amazing is this dress? It would be perfect for now, except this is from a 1988 German Marie Claire.


One comment

  1. Miss Peelpants · April 4, 2009

    How can you look like a woman if you’re still a teenager? That’s the problem.I agree with you. So many models who fill the pages of magazines now are so generic and weak (in terms of that inner strength you’re talking about). Blank-faced Eastern European teenagers. There’s nothing aspirational or inspirational about that.So many of the photoshoots are utterly yawnworthy as well. But I can’t decide whether that’s the fault of the designers or the photographers!I shall stop ranting now….;)


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