I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The only models deserving of the “super” prefix were the supermodels of the 1990s. Linda, Christy, Naomi, Cindy, Claudia, Nadja, Yasmeen, Veronica, Helena, Stephanie, Karen, Kate, Nadege … I could go on and on listing ’90s goddesses.
Whether you completely missed the glory days of powerful-looking women striding down international runways — or simply miss them like I do — I recommend following Unforgettable Runway on Instagram for videos, still shots, designer sketches, and more.
Enjoy the beauty! But remember that, as I wrote in 2012, modeling isn’t so glamorous behind the scenes. The long days swing between hours of bored waiting and way too many people touching you all at once. Poses, shoes, hairstyles, and rings can be painful. It’s a mistake to unveil a big, beautiful smile early in the day, because you’ll end up having to keep it plastered on your face for eight hours. (Try smiling nonstop for just eight minutes). People direct you to move this way and that way, or not move at all, and they might grow frustrated if you don’t nail it right away, because all of this is going to cost a lot more if it runs into overtime. Very few models make the kind of money that the supers made, or achieve that kind of fame, during what can prove to be a short career. Girls — some of them fleeing poverty — become part of the industry while still in their teens. Away from their families and desperate to succeed, they can become targets for sexual predators. Plus there are people constantly chipping away at their self-esteem in less criminal ways. I’m glad that a few models — such as Ulrikke Hoyer, fired abruptly from a Louis Vuitton show for being “bloated” — have recently exposed the behavior of some casting agencies. The kinds of stories that are coming out now have been told in the industry for umpteen years and the denials are no more convincing now than they were before. In Ulrikke’s case, particularly, I don’t believe Louis Vuitton had not one tailor or stylist available to make a minor alteration, if one was even needed, rather than the whole thing being about a power trip. (Ulrikke’s story, combined with a recent strike by Vuitton’s leather workers, seriously damages the Vuitton brand for me.)
The harder-than-it-looks part of modeling is on my mind this week because on Monday, I spent the day at my own lookbook shoot, with two wonderful models and a talented — and NICE! — team led by stylist Shannon Stokes. Everyone was a pleasure to work with and I promise the photos are going to blow you away when I’m ready to reveal them. In the meantime, you can see model Tricia being prepped for her last shot.
The only slightly uncooperative presence on the set was the studio’s hairless Sphynx cat, with whom I fell madly in love No one could keep me away from this cat. He felt like suede!
He was actually incredibly affectionate, but he prefers to supervise shoots rather than model. Alas! he would have looked so good in a few gold necklaces.
Thanks again to Shannon for pulling the team together and coming up with such an incredible concept. For years, I’ve had stylists pitching me photoshoots but telling me that I had to come up with the inspirational mood board for them. Dang! If I wanted to do the work myself, I would go ahead and do it myself! That’s why I didn’t do any editorial-style shoots at all. Shannon, on the other hand, came up with a gorgeous vision for me after getting a feel for my jewelry while working on last year’s Paper magazine shoot with Bella Hadid. I can hardly wait to do it again!