Model role

runways used to be simpler affairs. at its core, it is, after all, a trade show. no one is clamoring to attend the MAGIC fashion & apparel show in vegas, and that is, of course, because it isn't fun, or easy (more walking than sitting for the "audience"). a lot of effort and expense has gone into transforming the runway shows into televised events, worthy of major coverage, thus allowing extra exposure for the designer beyond editorial endorsements.

they are still showing clothes (the victoria secret show notwithstanding), but the hair and makeup are given as much thought and time as the collection it seems (and sold simultaneously, with celebrity makeup artists using the platform as a venue to show their company's new "collection"). the real draw for the cameras though are the famous faces. designers invite celebrities who are not going to do a substantial amount of buying, or probably none at all, give them free clothes to wear, and give them a front row seat beside the runway so that they can be seen in them. when the lights go out, the designers feed us celebrities on the runway.

professionals in the field do not need this presentation at all to decide what they will purchase for their stores, or promote on their pages. it's all for us (thank you!!).

these models are famous for their beauty. for being beautiful, and tall, and thin, and for being chosen to be models in the first place (based on the first 3 criteria). i see beauty in women on the street all the time, staggering beauty, in professional secretaries, and shop clerks, and dentists, etc. so the professionals are not particularly special, other than their heightened familiarity. we know and own their faces, or can own stacks of issues containing their faces (and favorite stores, desserts, labels, books, songs, vacation spots, etc.). far more magazines highlighting these women are sold than any of the clothes they model are. how did this desire to possess the beauties trump the desire to possess the clothing they are supposed to be selling?

do you need all the pageantry or are the clothes enough?


Anonymous said...

I'm going back and forth on this question, because I keep remembering times when the supermodel thing seemed appropriate for the day - like the CK one ads with Jenny and Kate...just so 90s and the models definitely reflected that.

This is really tough, actually. I keep wanting to say the clothes are enough because I really don't pay attention to the model/ celebrity part except by unintentional osmosis. But the paegentry...I realize with Dries Van Noten his presentation is always unique and I like that. It highlights his vision. Same with makeup, hair and styling. It helps us to understand the concepts more than we might with hanger appeal...or differently. It is selling at it's finest...

Carlene said...

I actually don't think they are using enough models these days (at least in the U.S.). A model on the cover of Vogue or any other is a rarity. I wish they would go back to cover models. But anyway...

I do love the coverage of the shows on and in some magazines that show backstage preparation and more detail (and the models in street clothes). But are the gigantic showbiz extravaganzas necessary? Nah. What the hell does Ashton Kutcher have to do with women's fashion? Is there something he's not telling us?

Oh, oh, along with the cover models, I miss fashion illustration. It was so beautiful, and it's all but disappeared; the little they do have is kind of eh. (I'm talking to you, Rubin Toledo for Nordstrom.) I'm a little bitter, though, because I've drawn fashion since I could hold a pencil, studied it, and hoped to make it a career. Lately, I've been thinking about doing it anyway, just for fun.

SO, in answer to your question, no, I don't need all the pageantry. The clothes are enough, as consumer products, but I love and miss the art of fashion and it's presentation in 2D media.

editor said...

carlene - ooooo yes, illustration. i can't remember which magazine had some section that was often illustrated and i always wanted to look like the drawings (and it wasn't that weird distorted big head, huge eyes, stick body stuff). what i love most is the what they can do with hair in drawings. i always covet the hair. that's wrong. :p
please start drawing again! how fantastic would a fashion illustration blog be?
the only thing i ever doodled (ad nauseam) was a wedding dress, all white and poufy. in the end, polar opposite of what i wore in reality.
and i agree, models belong on fashion magazine covers. it's just odd how prevalent they have become in the stories/articles as well.

genx theorist - sometimes i'm very distracted by the models, by the faces, familiar or not, if they appeal, and it can undermine my interest in the clothing as it is presented on the runway. or rather, i should say that the appeal is definitely heightened when i do like the whole package, so i can't separate it really and only look from the neck down.

jenny shizu, or something like that? she was a doll.
i am stuck in the 90s with my model infatuations. i am totally clueless about current models (maybe not totally, but very behind).

Iheartfashion said...

Jenny Shimizu? Bald with a dragon tattoo on her head? She was Angelina Jolie's lover for a while, pre-Brad Pitt obviously (and I'm a little ashamed that I know that...I'm not even a casual reader of the Enquirer or Star, really!)
Anyway, back to the topic at hand: I like the whole package. Galliano's runway extravaganza's are so much fun, and I like to see the clothes on a model as opposed to just on the hanger. It does add to the appeal for me. And I agree; no more celebrity magazine covers! Posh Spice, Jessica Simpson, and Paris Hilton have nothing to do with fashion, although I end up buying the magazines in spite of the covers.

editor said...

shimizu, that's it! right, dragon tattoo. don't worry, i know that trivia too. :)