Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Model Grace

INTERVIEW with Isabel Bohrer of (premier internet fashion community site) on the subject of grace.


IS: When you think of the word "grace," what images come to your mind?
When I think of the word “grace”, I see a swan gliding through the waters of a pond, an eagle in flight soaring proud , or a dancer moving his/her body with fluidity.

IS: How does grace play into working as a model?
Grace is an important component of being a model. I define grace as beauty of form and movement.

A model’s movements on the runway or a photo shoot must be fluid. Fluid movements, like walking elegantly on a catwalk captures the eye of the audience. The human eye subliminally always goes to beauty in all its forms (symmetry, harmony,etc..) . The audience will take notice of a big commotion or a big splash but overall, the audience wants to look at something that is pleasing; something that is elegant and graceful.

At also makes it easier for the photographers and videographers to shoot a model that walks down the runway with fluidity because the photographers can anticipate your next move. The chances of their getting the perfect shot is greatly increased by the fact that they know you will be in the right spot, at the right time, in the perfect pose, for them to get the ‘perfect picture’.

This concept is the same in a photo shoot, making jerky movements is a gamble because the shot may or may not be great. Fluidity is key, as you go from one pose to the next. A photo shoot is an exercise in control. A model that has graceful movements in front of the camera, making graceful lines with her body, makes it so much easier for the photographer to capture a great picture.

IS: Do you perceive yourself, or other models, as graceful?
Yes, I do perceive myself as graceful. I was known to have the most graceful walk during my time. Even when I was doing sports wear and not couture, like the fashion shows of Dorothee Bis and Betsey Johnson, where you had to jump around the stage and have fun, I managed to play the role that was given to me and still project or maintain a ‘signature’ essence of elegance and grace.

All models who consistently work the runways are graceful, really, but in different degrees. Walking with grace and elegance is an art and some just do it much better than others, as in dancing. Everyone can dance, but some excel.

A very good example was the model, Mounia, who in the 80’s was one of the muses of Yves St. Laurent. She always did the wedding numbers. She was not a looker and much shorter than everyone working, but she always delivered. You would look at her and the garment she is selling, even though the runway was populated by the most beautiful models and more beautiful dresses, because she is one of the girls who took modeling to be an art form. She moved her whole body (positioning of hands, the tilt of the head, pursing of her lips, blink of her eyes) to interpret the garment she was wearing. By investing so much of herself, she could always command the attention of the audience whenever she walked in.

IS: How is your perception of grace altered by the clothes you wear? Do some clothes make you feel more graceful than others? If so, why?
In the fashion business where there is much diversity in terms of clothing and themes, one does have to adjust as a model, as I have mentioned above. Some clothes are definitely more graceful than others.

As a model, I always studied the lines of a garment. It dictates the movement necessary to show the garment to its best advantage.

When I am wearing couture clothes, the lines of the garments are definitely more elegant and you have to hold yourself a certain way, as opposed to casual clothes and sportswear. However, it does not really matter what you wear, because you are still selling beauty. And even if I am jumping around and giggling with the rest of the models on stage, I still do it (the jumping and giggling) with grace.

On Grace:
And now, for the intangible element called ‘grace’.

For the longest time that I was working in the fashion business, interacting with a multitude of fashion people with a vast range of temperaments, I firmly believe I would not have lasted as long as I have, if I did not comport myself with grace.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote,
“Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait”.

In fashion modeling, a business where the underlying premise is beauty, there is beauty and there is ‘beauty with grace’.

For the successful models who are put up on the pedestals of fashion, there are those who accept their genetic gifts from God with grace and…… of course, there are those that throw cell phones at their housekeepers.

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Blogger Last Day Emails said...

Excellent advice and insight once again! I sure hope that graceful movements in posing and walking can be an acquired skill. Also, I find that I'm more graceful when I'm relaxed. But if I'm nervous or too self-conscious, my movements get a little bit jerky, erratic, non-flowing.

3:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anna -

...and you always had grace. When we worked together years ago (yes, we did!)when I was Louis Dell'Olio's assistant at Anne Klein, you were always a professional - charming, gracious, and kind. You never had "attitude". And as for grace in movement - I always said that no one could work a sarong skirt on the runway like you! You floated, glided...

Thanks for reminding people that there was a time when models knew how to move - not just clomp and stomp down a runway. And when models were muses - not just animated clothes hangers.

I love your site! Keep up the great writing -

XO Steve

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that last line... hilarious.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

..this should be the "ideal model's concise guide to succeed in fashion"..well written and truly extracted from a

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... with humor...its a cute read and insightful as least you make so much sense beyond your fabulous photos...
i could not agree more with your philosophy on grace and fluidity...for even the sharp and linear beauty like Steella Tennant and Kristen Mcmenammy..they find their "fluidity and grace" with the way they contort their bodies..angular-bizarre..and very few models can actually deliver their poses...
the recent "next top-model" collection of models (Vogue April 2007) they all look the same...bunch of pretty blahs..
even the clothes have lost its drama..actually there is no drama..
Vogue needs to wake up..Anna Wintour has detoured...big time.

3:17 PM  

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