Spreading Knowledge

Spreading knowledge amongst the women of the world.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Art and History of Fashion Modeling (Part I)

Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week is receiving all the rage and hype over the week. With designers like Tory Burch, Zang Toi, Ralph Lauren, and Betsey Johnson, the runways are filled with aspiring designs, and the streets host as catwalks with fashionistas wearing hot styles and new looks. With notable models—such as Joan Smalls, Ajak Deng, Karolina Kurkova, and Jourdan Dunn—showcasing the collections, I have decided to shine light on the art of modeling and why this industry is widely competitive and equally entertaining!

The Father of Haute Couture: The Founding of Modeling

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Charles Frederick Worth was an English fashion designer in the 19th Century. Known as the "Father of Haute Couture," he was the first designer to introduce fashion modeling. In 1853, Worth had asked his wife, Marie Vernet Worth, to model his designs. Afterwards, this practice was typically used in Parisian Fashion Houses, and these models were known as “house models." Measurement requirements were not needed at the time because designers used women that varied in size to showcase the variety of the designs.
Photo Source|| First Fashion Model in History

First Supermodel and the 60's

Fashion Photography developed during the beginning of photography. Though models were paid poorly, one of the first known models was Lisa Fonssagrives—Swedish model from the 1930s. She appeared in about 200 Vogue covers, which lead to her fame as well as Vogue's involvement in developing modeling careers.
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Photo Source
The 1960s hosted as the evolution of the modeling industry where agencies were established. Most models, however, did not travel to Paris or New York during this time (it was uncommon and quite absurd). Models in Italy during the 60s were paid in cash, for Italy was in need of models for their magazines and fashion houses; however, many of these Italian models did not attain work visas. Hotel raids were rumored to be set up by rivaling Italian agencies.

London was considered a more organized market for modeling agencies. At the time, shorter models were not signed while taller models with smaller bust sizes were in demand. A prime example for the new standards was supermodel Twiggy, who stood 5'6" with a 32" bust. 
Photo Source
Photo Source
During the 1967, seven of the top model agents in London formed the Association of London Model Agents (ALMA). This association changed the fashion industry by emphasizing the importance of a more professional attitude toward modeling. Models were required to have hair and makeup done before their arrival to a shoot, and modeling agencies took responsibility for a model's branding and promotional materials. During this time, Wilhelmina Cooper developed her own fashion agency with the help of her husband, called Wilhelmina Models.

By the late 60's, models were paid better and treated with more respect. Ford Models was one of the first agencies to allow teen models. In February 1968, an article by Glamour Magazine used the term “supermodel" to describe 19 of the most famous models during the 60's. And the first African American model to appeared on the cover of Ladies' Home Journal in 1968 was Naomi Sims.

Supermodel Verushka||View her and the other 19 Famous Supermodels on Cult of Aphrodite Vintage

More to Come

The next article will be about modeling through the 70's to now, and I'll also shine light on the Model Controversy and the "Ideal" Woman. Until next time loves!
~~ReneA P.


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