Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Where have all the models gone?

All artwork provided by Alvaro from his series - Homage to the Fashion Magazines

As I walk by the magazine stands and scan all the covers, I observe, every passing month, the mysterious and blatant disappearance of the model. All covers of the mainstream fashion magazines are actresses or singers; Cate Blanchett for Vogue, Natalie Portman for Harper’s Bazaar, Jessica Alba for Elle, Faith Hill for Glamour, Scarlette Johanssen for Allure, Ashlee Judd for MarieClaire.

What does it mean? Does it mean that this generation of magazine readers prefer to identify with movie actresses and singers? Of course, this is what sells. But why?
What does that say of the fashion editors’ choices and their influence in shaping fashion? Are they under pressure from their publishers to increase subscribership? Is this phenomenon dictated by the people putting the ads in the magazines? Is it just a phase? Is it here to stay?

When I was doing the press for my lipstick line, Anna Bayle Lipcolours, 8 years ago, I was very surprised to find out that one of the most influential magazines in fashion and beauty was IN STYLE. It featured nothing but movie actresses.
Is it because magazine editors have to catch up with IN STYLE’s subscribership, that they follow IN STYLE’s formula and showcase actresses, as well? Is it because fashion innovators like Tom Ford, up and left the fashion circus in 2004 to ensconce himself in Hollywood, only to dress movie stars? Is it because the biggest press that a designer could have is when his/her garment is worn by a beautiful actress on the red carpet during the Oscars, viewed by millions all around the world? Is it because models, these days, are not good role models? Is it because of ET’s (Entertainment Tonight) popularity and coverage of fashion (news, fashion shows, red carpets) and their increasing role in taking fashion into the Entertainment arena? Is Fashion following where media leads them?

Where are the Paulina Poriskovas, the Linda Evangelistas, the Cindy Crawfords, the Beverly Johnsons? Have they been relegated to the inside editorials? No, because the main photo editorials are also on the actresses. So why?

I don’t claim to know everything. The most plausible reason is probably a mixture of a lot of influences and 'cause and effect' scenarios that play in and within the different industries – publishing, moviemaking, TV, beauty products and fashion.

My theory (only from my perspective): The fashion world works like every microcosm. Each one creature dependent on the other for survival (designers, manufacturers, fashion editors, models, photographers, videographers, fashion journalists, groupies, fashionistas, beauty product makers, modeling agencies, the consumers –not in that order).

When one group gets more powerful than the other, then the balance of things change. Every other group will react to this movement and there will be changes.
I think, when a model starts earning more than fashion editors…it’s a problem. When a model becomes more important and gets more press than the designer showing…it’s a problem. So what is the state of fashion shows now? - Very young girls with developing personalities showing $80,000 garments. 'Walking zombies' is the phrase I always hear. I believe the fashion world is refusing to give that power to the models right now because the models (and their agents) have abused their celebrity.

Mine is a very simplistic take on the issue of models vs.celebrities. There are many reasons why things change but in this day and age, TV is very powerful; it is a rocket ship for disseminating information. Like what Sex in the City did for the fashion industry. Like the crossover of the models into TV when George Michael in his song, Freedom, featured Cristy, Naomi, Linda, Cindy and Tatiana Patitz in his music video that was played all over MTV; all of a sudden they were household names. Are the fashion magazines crossing over, targeting the more prestigious media (not necessarily the bigger) –Hollywood?

When will it change back? I don’t know, but IT WILL ….because fashion is a cycle. I hope it is soon, because I do miss the beauty, the art, and the freshness of an undiscovered face.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i miss the editorship era of the Great Diana Vreeland...she was what a fashion editor must always be...not only does she sees out of obscurity what can be an idea/or a thing of beauty...she says it with a megaphone and executes it by her presence...the editors nowadays are getting uglier and so "celebritized" that they feed on trendy thingys dictated by hollywood fashionistas (this is so hllywod slang coined by visual bubbleheads with what appears to be a Joan Rivers ever a fashion visionary?..why is she even given the platform to comment about what people wear?)...AND THAT MY DEAR IS THE BEGINNING WHY WE ARE LOSING THE FASHION PURISTS...the models in your league who puts their hearts and soul to make a creation work MUST be resurrected..why are these models FALLING on the catwalk?...lack of passion and discipline...airheads with heels do not go together...zombies without preservatives...and sadly all models tend to act like its another Victoria Secret fashion show...and its not even Resort collection.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

From Jaisen Tieg VanHolland.....

Anna, I think your right on the money here, I was just talking about this the other day, in fact, and this phenomenon is not restricted to the magazines covers and editorials!!!

Its photographers and writers too are being replaced by the celebrity invasion with their articles and influence being published in such prestige's order and decadence as Vogue, Vanity Fair, W. magazine and many more as editors "press" on. The art . . . .and Nuevo of the Hollywood quick picks has caught on to the "reality" tv appeal and created its very own version realizing "reality" sells!

Of course this is also just an opinion but I do believe that as you mentioned, the pressure to sell placed upon the publishers, designers, marketing directors and so on, along with the decline of reputable spokes "models" like the Christy's and Vendella'ss and Paulina's, Iman's and of course Anna's which is much in part a reflection of bad lighting shed in recent years on the fashion industries, its abuse of agents, self destruction of models and designer "fits" is the reason for this latest celebrity outbreak on the fashion scene. Celebrities are more prone to acting with model behavior, they are publicly involved in forms of beautifying the world outside themselves and when they do get dirty the make an effort to keep in under wraps . . . .

Let's face it, Being in the public Eye is strenuous, it takes a great deal of maturity to handle the rush and whirlwinds that are attributed to such fame, in an industry where fashion models are rarely old enough to go on their first un-chaperoned date it is not surprising then that the less than model behavior of the beauty elite has driven their appearances to near extinction. With would be role models like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and the public exploitations of certain super models drug abuse which seemingly has made the beauty only more famous, its no wonder why these self sabotage newcomers are ending up with a shelf life too short to re-establish the long term profitability of the former "Super Model".

I think its sad that fashion has become so commercialized that it no longer exhibits the artistic and progressive edge that once launched the careers of so many of fashions most celebrated designers, photographers, artist, models and agencies. The once great Fords, Elites, Karin's and Wilhelmina's are no more unique now than your neighborhood star bucks. . . .Wake up Agents, Smell the coffee Models . . . While you may have been born with destiny's flavor, your beauties uniqueness today is about as patent as your nearest competitors budget. The key to your success, to all success in the modeling market is in our "roots". Ground them . . . .agents must build models as they had in they're former glory, invest in your "names" and they're longevity, we must be more selective in not just the faces we introduce but the "air' these models carry with them. Super models are super beings, Girls want to emulate them, women want to mirror they're power and powerful men want escort them on their arms. They work with charity's, mentor children who dream of becoming just like them. Super models" are super for more than just they're faces, they are a graceful presence capable of camouflaging and filtering the less appetizing affairs of life. Is that not the purpose of fantasy, we want to relate to our Icons but for God sake keep your dirty laundry in the hamper! Be real, but be really concerned, especially with what your presenting of yourself . . . . Beautiful people living beautiful lives . . . . This is what the public wants to see beyond the pages and right now I'd say Hollywood is doing a better job of that for the moment.

How do we reclaim our territory . . . by using our "fashion" street smarts.

Create beautiful "people", act with respect and respect privilege, take the Ego out of the fashion economy and those who run it and I am certain the Lure of the model image will be mused again!



Jaisen Tieg VanHolland

3:30 PM  
Blogger Coutorture said...


It is a depressing observation. I wrote a piece nearly a year ago on Almost Girl called "How In Style and Tom Ford Ruined Fashion" but I took the title down when I was afraid I could not get a job in fashion for making that critique.

Now of course I don't care as I am independent and do not suffer for being honest as I would in the books. But as someone who has come of age in a world of fashion in which there are no models I have trouble imagining it any other way. For me it feels like a myth that one day there were real models.

Business isn't necessarily a bad influence on fashion. Markets do matter. But declining taste and education levels have done much to damage the markets who would consume the beauty of fashion past.

I can only hope that fashion blogging with its dedicated amateurs who really know and love this arena will demand that the market move back.


9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a fashion publicist and wardrobe stylist, i manage on an hourly basis that very attraction to and elevation of the hollywood celebrity image and the real or imagined importance that it holds to fashion.

several years ago, i began to observe the disappearance of swans and the rise of the accessible actress/celebrity image with what could politely be called horrendous disappontment, so i took to the streets and inquired about this amongst my collegues, expecting to hear the rallying cries of "save the supermodels"...but that didn't happen.

time and again, i heard the same reaction, "actresses sell covers." i received many lengthy explanations about the fact that people didn't want to look at something unattainable. interesting.

many people feel that hollywood and fashion are one and the same. i am not one of these people. i ...but i digress. i miss models. i miss the magic of a new linda evangelista-style moptop haircut. i crave the anticipation of the next new face elevated to the stratosphere by the february cover of elle magazine. architecture. lines. form at its finest- or even at its most strange, stark and haunting. my concern is that this is happening because people are buying into it.

if people are uninterested at unattainable images of beauty, then what's next? will haley's comet be replaced by a neon mc donald's sign?

and so, guys, it begs the question-what do we do? and if not us, then who?

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a fashion publicist and stylist, i manage on an hourly basis the elevation of and loyalty to the hollywood star-as-fashion-icon idea. a few years ago, when i saw the disappearance of the swans and the rise of the actresses on magazine covers and front-of-book pages globally, i took to the streets and inquired about it to my collegues, expecting to hear outcries of "save the suprmodels." what i heard instead was the same answer, over and over, "actresses sell covers. people don't want to look at unattainable images- they want a whole picture, someone they can relate to."

i happen to be someone who misses the magic of a new linda evangelista-like moptop haircut or the anticipation that comes from wondering if the new face on the february elle cover will be the next model catpulted into the fashion startosphere. i deal with plenty of things tat i can relate to- sometimes i'd like a little fantasy and the hope of something meteoric..but i digress. i fear that this has happened because people have bought into it.

if people truly find unattainable beauty unappealing, then what's next? is haley's comet in danger of being replaced by a neon mc donald's sign?

it begs the question- what do we do? and if not us, then who?

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anna b fantastique!
i agree to a point...but you were probably in New York during those times....only (at least almost always..) in the US do they bank on a familiar "face of the moment" covergirl (its such a pattern that when an actress is comiong out with a movie then they get the coveted COVER face...whaddaf@k are these idiotors are thinking?...not only obviously they lack the bravura to be inventive...they suck in to who/nobodys-in-fashion movie agents let them be dictated to ACTUALLY think this EUROPE..italian Vogue would feature a complete unknown and voila..they are backing up a beautiful unknown bwlieving in her potentials....theus the beginning of the Naomi Campbell ( before she discovered the other uses of a cell phone)...a Kate Moss and..Italian Vogue is STILL in the same formula..
so i am must be heard AND seen again..
let them wonder what the Glory of the "Anna Bayke" then they will realize...THAT IS A TRUE PRO!

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey anna,

MEDIOCRITY! that's the word that comes to mind as i peruse fashion magazines now. these celebrities are all over place and i've gotten so very bored. like come on, kate hudson on july vogue?

i think it's the whole idea of celebrity and exposure that brought all of this on because people nowadays are so much more visual AND voyeuristic. the masses want to live those celebrity lives. actors are the new supermodels. after the fashion model phenomenon of the nineties, hollywood girls said "why not us?" so they glammed up, went to couture shows, borrowed the expensive clothes, appeared on the red carpet, and voila!

like you said, designers get high visibility on the red carpet when actors wear their designs. i believe the perception is that actors are so much more human than models simply because they are more accessible. they are not as physically perfect, they are much more tangible because of film (you can hear them talk and see them move, as opposed to a superstar mannequin on a print editorial)AND they make tons of money which we all would like for ourselves. so the masses are drawn to this materialistic pop culture phenomenon. add to that the attractive notion that everybody can be a celebrity nowadays thanks to the internet (my space / you tube) and shows like american idol. the actress on the fashion magazine cover just makes the idea a little more achievable i suppose.

and also, like you, i do want models back on the cover of magazines but i'm afraid there's no one around to swing the pendulum back. there's been a sad shortage of good ones. there has not been anyone truly fabulous since linda. not even giselle cut it for me. as far as i'm concerned she was just vavava-voom and not much else (for those readers out there who think she's the bomb, well, sorry but i beg to disagree). no one has grace and talent. no one can walk! truly walk!

editors do have their work cut out for them, don't they...

juan miguel

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ms Anna,

First, let me congratulate you for the wonderful work that you are sharing to the world! Your Newsletter is Amazing!!!! Your website, I have visited a couple of times and I am so proud to be a Filipina! You and all the rest who have brought prestige and honor to all of us Asians, in what ever field they are in, are indeed great examples for this generation... Your beauty, grace and passion for your craft will continually inspire alot of Asian women to aim for the best!

I love this editorial in particular and I must agree with you when you say that fashion is a cycle..I just wish that this one cycle will soon be over. I long for the day that I will once again see models on the covers of Elle, Vogue, Harper's and all other fashion magazines! Fashion Magazines must live up to their objective/s and their vision/s.. it is what makes them unique and powerful! I still believe in them...

I pray for you continued success and again, I am grateful that you are sharing your thoughts to the world!


Lorena Pangan

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I can answer your question. The real models are still there; they haven't gone away.

Why are actresses now on the magazine covers, then? My guess is that these actresses need some type of work to do while reality stars and lesser-known gods capture the attention of entertainment producers. Their agents are pushing to get them noticed again and magazine covers DO attract attention.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:30 AM  

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