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A model (from Middle French modelle), is a person with a role either to promote, display, or advertise commercial products (notably fashion clothing) or to serve as a visual aide for people who are creating works of art.
Modelling ("modeling" in American English) is considered to be different from other types of public performance, such as acting or dancing. Although the boundary between modelling and performing is not always clearly defined, activities like appearing in a film or a play are generally not considered ‘modelling.’
Types of modelling include fashion, glamour, fitness, bikini, fine art, body-part and commercial print models. Models are featured in a variety of media formats including books, magazines, films, newspapers, and TV. Fashion models are sometimes featured in films (Looker), reality television shows (America’s Next Top Model, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency), or music videos ("Freedom! ’90", "Wicked Game", "Daughters", "Blurred Lines").
Celebrities, including actors, singers, sports personalities and reality TV stars, frequently take modelling contracts in addition to their regular work.
Modelling as a profession was first established in 1853 by Charles Frederick Worth, the "father of haute couture, when he asked his wife, Marie Vernet Worth, to model the clothes he designed. The term "house model" was coined to describe this type of work. Eventually, this became a common practice for Parisian fashion houses. There were no model measurement requirements and most designers would use women of varying sizes to demonstrate variety in their designs.
With the development of fashion photography, the modelling profession expanding to photo modelling. Models remained fairly anonymous and relatively poorly paid until the late 1950s. One of the first well known models was Lisa Fonssagrives, who was very popular in the 1930s. Fonssagrives appeared on over 200 Vogue covers and her name recognition led to the importance of Vogue in shaping the careers of fashion models. In 1946, Ford Models was established by Eileen and Gerard Ford in New York; it is one of the oldest model agencies in the world. One of the most prevalent models during the 1940s was Jinx Falkenburg who was paid $25 per hour, a large sum at the time. During the 1940s and 1950s, Wilhelmina Cooper, Jean Patchett, Dovima, Dorian Leigh, Suzy Parker, Evelyn Tripp, Carmen Dell’Orefice, and Lisa Fonssagrives dominated fashion. Dorothea Church was among the first black models in the industry to gain notoriety in Paris. However, these models were not known outside the fashion community. Compared to today’s models, the models of the 1950s were more voluptuous. Wilhelmina Cooper’s measurements were 38"-24"-36" whereas Chanel Iman’s measurements are 32"-23"-33". It was also during the 1950s that pin-up models originated.
The 1960s and the evolution of the industry
In the 1960s, the modelling world began to establish modelling agencies. Throughout Europe, secretarial services acted as models’ agents charging them weekly rates for their messages and bookings. For the most part, models were responsible for their own billing. In Germany, agents were not allowed to work for a percentage of someone else’s earnings. As a result, they referred to themselves as secretaries. With the exception of a few models travelling to Paris or New York, travelling was relatively unheard of for a model. Most models only worked in one market due to different labor laws regarding modelling in various countries. In the 1960s, Italy had many fashion houses and fashion magazines but was in dire need of models. Italian agencies would often coerce models to return to Italy without work visas by holding their pay. They would also pay their models in cash, which models would have to hide from custom agents. It was not uncommon for models staying in hotels such as La Louisiana in Paris or the Arena in Milan to have their hotel rooms raided by the police looking for models without work visas. It was rumoured that competing agencies were behind the raids. This led many agencies to form world-wide chains for example, Marilyn Agency has branches in Paris and New York.
By the late 1960s, London was considered the best market in Europe due to its more organised and innovative approach to modelling. It was during this time that models began to become household names. Models like Jean Shrimpton, Joanna Lumley, Tania Mallet, Celia Hammond, Twiggy, Penelope Tree, and Pauline Stone dominated the London fashion scene and were well paid, unlike their predecessors. Twiggy became The Face of ’66 at the age of 16. At this time, model agencies were not as restrictive about the models they represented, although it was uncommon for them to sign shorter models. Twiggy, who stood at 5’6" with a 32" bust and had a boy’s haircut, is credited with changing model ideals. At that time, she earned £80 an hour when the average wage was £15 a week.
In 1967, seven of the top model agents in London formed the Association of London Model Agents (ALMA). The formation of this association helped legitimize modelling and changed the fashion industry. Even with a more professional attitude towards modelling, models were still expected to have their hair and makeup done before they arrived at the shoot. However, agencies took the responsibility of a model’s promotional materials and branding. That same year, former top fashion model Wilhelmina Cooper opened up her own fashion agency with her husband called Wilhelmina Models. By 1968, FM Agency and Models 1 were established and represented models in a similar way they do today. By the late 1960s, models were treated better and making better wages. One of the innovators, Ford Models, was the first agency to advance models money they were owed and would often allow teen models who did not live locally to reside in their house, a precursor to model housing.
In February 1968, an article in Glamour described 19 models as "supermodels". They were: Cheryl Tiegs, Verushka, Lisa Palmer, Peggy Moffitt, Susan (Sue) Murray, Twiggy, Sunny Harnett, Marisa Berenson, Gretchen Harris, Heide Wiedeck, Irish Bianchi, Hiroko Matsumoto, Anne de Zogheb, Kathy Carpenter, Jean Shrimpton, Jean Patchett, Benedetta Barzini, Claudia Duxbury, and Agneta Frieberg. That same year, Naomi Sims became the first African American to be featured on the cover of Ladies’ Home Journal.
The 1970s and 1980s
The innovations of the 1960s flowed into the 1970s fashion scene. As a result of model industry associations and standards, model agencies became more business minded and more thought went into a model’s promotional materials. By this time, agencies were starting to pay for, as well control, a model’s publicity. In the early 1970s, Scandinavia had many tall, leggy, blonde-hair, blue-eyed models and not enough clients. It was during this time that Ford Models pioneered scouting. They would spend time working with agencies holding modelling contests. This was the precursor to the Ford Supermodel of the World Competition which was established in 1980. Ford also focused their attentions on Brazil who had a wide array of seemingly ‘exotic’ models, which eventually led to establishment of Ford Models Brazil. It was also during this time that the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue debuted. They set a trend by photographing "bigger and healthier" California models and printing their names by their photos, thus turning many of them into household names and establishing the issue as a hallmark of supermodel status.
The 1970s marked numerous milestones in fashion. Beverly Johnson was the first African American to appear on the cover of US Vogue in 1974. Models including Grace Jones, Donyale Luna, Minah Bird, Naomi Sims and Toukie Smith were some of the top black fashion models who paved the way for black women in fashion. In 1975, Margaux Hemingway landed a then-unprecedented million-dollar contract as the face of Fabergé’s Babe perfume and the same year appeared on the cover of Time magazine, labelled one of the "New Beauties", giving further name recognition to fashion models.
Most of the world’s most prominent modelling agencies were established in the 1970s and early 1980s. These agencies created the standard by which agencies now run. In 1974, Nevs Models was established in London with only a men’s board, the first of its kind. Elite Models was founded in Paris in 1975 as well as Friday’s Models in Japan. The next year Cal-Carries was established in Singapore which was one of the first chain agencies in Asia. In 1977, Select Model Management opened its doors as well as Why Not Models in Milan. By the 1980s, agencies such as Premier Model Management, Storm Models, Mikas, Marilyn, and Metropolitan Models had been established.
By the 1980s, most models were able to make modelling a full-time profession. It was common for models to travel abroad and work throughout Europe. As modelling became global, numerous agencies began to think globally. In 1980 Ford Models, the innovator of scouting, introduced the Ford Super Model of the World contest. That same year, John Casablancas opened Elite Models in New York. In 1981, cosmetics companies began contracting top models to lucrative endorsement deals. By 1983, Elite developed its own contest titled the Elite Model Look Competition. During the 1980s in New York, there were so-called ‘model wars’ in which Ford Models and Elite Models fought over models and campaigns. Models were jumping back and forth between agencies such Elite, Wilhelmina, and Ford. In New York, the late 1980s trend was the boyish look in which models had short cropped hair and were androgynous looking. In Europe, the trend was the exact opposite. During this time, a lot of American models who were considered more feminine looking moved abroad. By the mid-1980s, big hair was made popular by hair bands and the boyish look was out. The curvaceous models who had been popular in the 1950s and early 1970s were in style again. Models like Patti Hansen earned $200 an hour for print and $2000 for television plus residuals. It was estimated that Hansen earned about $300,000 a year during the 1980s.
The 1990s to present
The early 1990s were dominated by the supermodels of the late 1980s. In 1990, Linda Evangelista famously said to Vogue, "we don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day." This comment changed the landscape of the modelling industry through a pronounced shift in public perception of attainability. Evangelista and her contemporaries Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Stephanie Seymour, became arguably the most recognizable models in the world, earning the moniker of "supermodel", and were boosted to global recognition and new heights of wealth for the industry. In 1991, Turlington signed a contract with Maybelline that paid her $800,000 for twelve days’ work each year.
By the mid‑1990s, the new movement "heroin chic" became popular amongst New York and London editorial clients. While the heroin chic movement was inspired by model Jaime King, who suffered from heroin addiction, it was Kate Moss who became its poster child through her ads with Calvin Klein. It was during the heroin chic era that fashion split into two different categories: editorial and commercial. With the popularity of lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, there was a need for healthier supermodels such as Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum to meet the commercial modelling demand. In spite of the heroin chic movement, model Claudia Schiffer earned $12 million. The mid‑1990s also saw many Asian countries establishing modelling agencies.
By the late 1990s, the heroin chic era ran its course. Teen-inspired clothing infiltrated mainstream fashion, teenpop music was on the rise, and artists such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera popularized pleather and midriffs. As fashion changed to a more youthful demographic, the models who rose to fame had to be sexier for the digital age. Following the breakthrough of Gisele Bundchen, a wave of Brazilian models including Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Ana Beatriz Barros rose to fame on the runways and became popular in commercial modelling throughout the 2000s. However, models still failed to match the influence of the "Big 6" of the early 1990s. Many[who?] attribute this to publication decisions to place celebrities on the cover of magazines rather than fashion models.
In the late 2000s, the Brazilians fell out of favour on the runways. Editorial clients were favouring models with a china-doll or alien look to them, such as Gemma Ward and Lily Cole. During the 2000s, Ford Models and NEXT Model Management were in disagreement over models. Both parties alleged the other was stealing their models. However, the biggest controversy of the 2000s was the health of high-fashion models participating in fashion week. While the health of models had been a concern since the 1970s, there were several high-profile news stories surrounding the deaths of young fashion models due to eating disorders and drug abuse. The British Fashion Council subsequently asked designers to sign a contract stating they would not use models under the age of 16. On March 3, 2012, Vogue banned models under the age of 16 as well as models who appeared to have an eating disorder. Similarly, other countries placed bans on unhealthy and underage models, including Spain, Italy, and Israel, who all enacted a minimum body mass index (BMI) requirement. In 2013, New York toughened its child labor law protections for models under the age of 18 by passing New York Senate Bill No. 5486. by which underage models are governed by the same labor protections afforded to child actors. Key new protections included: no work earlier than 5pm, later than 10pm on school nights, or later than 12:30am on non-school nights; the models may not return to work less than 12 hours after they leave; an on-site pediatric nurse; models under 16 must be accompanied by an adult chaperone; parents or guardians of underage models must create a trust account fund to which employers will transfer a minimum of 15% of the child model’s gross earnings; and employers must set aside time and a dedicated space for educational instruction.
Main article: Glamour modelling
It is widely considered that England created the market for glamour modelling when The Sun established Page 3 in 1969, a section in their newspaper which now features topless models. In the beginning, the newspaper featured sexually suggestive images of Penthouse and Playboy models. It was not until 1970 that models appeared topless. In the 1980s, The Sun ’s competitors followed suit and produced their own Page 3 sections. It was during this time glamour models first came to prominence with the likes of Samantha Fox. As a result, the United Kingdom has a very large glamour market and has numerous glamour modelling agencies to this day.
It was not until the 1990s that modern glamour modelling was established. During this time, the fashion industry was promoting models with waif bodies and androgynous looking women, which left a void. Several fashion models who were deemed too commercial and too curvacious were frustrated with industry standards and took a different approach. Models such as Victoria Silvstedt left the fashion world and began modelling for men’s magazines. In the previous decades, posing nude for Playboy resulted in a model losing their agencies and endorsements. Now, Playboy was a stepping stone which catapult the careers of Victoria Silvstedt, Pamela Anderson, and Anna Nicole Smith. Pamela Anderson became so popular from her Playboy spreads that she was able to land roles on Home Improvement and Baywatch.
In the mid-1990s, a series of men’s magazines were established such as Maxim, FHM, and Stuff. At the same time, magazines including Sweden’s Slitz re-branded themselves as men’s magazines. Pre-internet, these magazines were popular among men in their late teens and early twenties because they were considered to be more tasteful than their predecessors. With glamour market growing, fashion moved away from the waifs and onto the Brazilian bombshells. The glamour market, which consisted mostly of commercial fashion models and commercial print models, became its own genre due to its popularity. Even in a large market like the United Kingdom, however, glamour models are not usually exclusively signed to one agency as they can not financially rely on one agency to provide them with enough work. It was and still is a common practice for glamour models to partake in kiss-and-tell interviews about their dalliances with famous men. The notoriety of their alleged bed-hopping often propels their popularity and they are often promoted by their current or former fling. With Page 3 models becoming fixtures in the British tabloids, glamour models became household names such as Jordan who is now known as Katie Price. By 2004, Page 3 regulars earned anywhere for £30,000 to 40,000, where the average salary of a non-Page 3 model as of 2011 is between £10,000 and 20,000. In the early 2000s, glamour models and aspiring glamour models appeared on reality television shows such as Big Brother to gain fame. Several Big Brother alumni parlayed their 15 minutes of fame into successful glamour modelling careers. However, the glamour market became saturated by the mid-2000s and numerous men’s magazines went under including Arena, Stuff and FHM in the United States. During this time, there was an upward trend of glamour models becoming DJs to supplement their income, including Kellie Acreman and Lauren Pope. In a 2012 interview, Keeley Hazell said that going topless is not the best way to achieve success and that, "[she] was lucky to be in that 1% of people that get that, and become really successful."
Types of models
"Fashion model" redirects here. For the 1945 film, see Fashion Model (film).
Main articles: Size zero and Female body shape
Runway models showcase clothes from fashion designers, fashion media, and consumers. They are also called "live models" and are self-employed. Runway models work in different locations, constantly travelling between those cities where fashion is well known – London, Milan, New York City, and Paris. Second-tier international fashion center cities includes Rome, Florence, Venice, Brescia, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Moscow. Cities where catalog work comprises the bulk of fashion packaging, merchandising and marketing work includes Miami, San Francisco, Sydney, Chicago, Toronto, Mexico City, Tokyo, Hamburg, London, and Beijing.
The demands for runway models include certain height and weight requirements. During runway shows, models have to constantly change clothes and makeup. The models walk, turn and stand in order to demonstrate the garment’s key features. Models also go to interviews (called "go and sees") presenting the absolute requirement of a portfolio. The more experience a model has, the more likely she is to be hired for a fashion show. A runway model can also work in other areas, such as department store fashion shows, and the most successful models sometimes create their own product lines or go into acting.:191–192
The British Association of Model Agents (AMA) says that female models should be around 34"-24"-34" in and between 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) and 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) tall. The average model is very slender. Those who do not meet the size requirement may try to become a Plus-size model. According to the New York Better Business Career Services website, the preferred dimensions for a male model are a height of 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) to 6 ft 2 in (188 cm), a waist of 29–32 in (73.66–81.28 cm) and a chest measurement of 39–40 in (99.06–101.60 cm). Male runway models have been noted as being skinny and well toned.
Male and female models must also possess clear skin, healthy hair, and attractive facial features. Stringent weight and body proportion guidelines form a selective criteria by which established and would‑be models are judged for their placement suitability, on an ongoing basis—with some variation regionally and market tier-level dependent, subject, too, to current prevailing trends at any point, in any era—by agents, agencies and end-clients.
Formerly, the required measurements for models were 35"-23.5"-35" in (90-60-90 cm), which were the alleged measurements of Marilyn Monroe. Today’s fashion models tend to have measurements closer to the AMA-recommended shape. Although in some fashion centres], a size 00 is more ideal than a size 0.
The often thin shape of many fashion models has been criticized for warping girls’ body image and encouraging eating disorders. Organisers of a fashion show in Madrid in September 2006 turned away models who were judged to be underweight by medical personnel who were on hand. In February 2007, six months after her sister, Luisel Ramos—also a model—died, Uruguayan model Eliana Ramos became the third fashion model to die of malnutrition in six months. The second victim was Ana Carolina Reston. Luisel Ramos died of heart failure caused by anorexia nervosa just after stepping off the catwalk.
In the early 21st century, runway walks became less flamboyant compared to the late 20th century, when Naomi Campbell and other supermodels were known for their distinctive struts. Instead, most designers preferred a natural stroll.
Supermodels are highly paid, high profile fashion models with a great amount of experience. These celebrities appear on top fashion magazine covers, national advertisements such as commercials or spreads and in fashion shows. Much more importantly, in financial terms, their appearance in advertising can amount to an endorsement, attracting far greater rewards, especially when they conclude deals to advertise a brand exclusively, as "the face" of that brand.
Plus-size models are models who generally have larger measurements than editorial fashion models. The primary use of plus-size models is to appear in advertising and runway shows for plus size labels. Plus-size models are also engaged in work that is not strictly related to selling large-sized clothing, e.g., stock photography and advertising photography for cosmetics, household and pharmaceutical products and sunglasses, footwear and watches. Therefore plus-size models do not exclusively wear garments marketed as plus-size clothing. This is especially true when participating in fashion editorials for mainstream fashion magazines. Some plus-size models have appeared in runway shows and campaigns for mainstream retailers and designers such as Gucci, Guess, Jean-Paul Gaulthier, Levi’s and Versace Jeans. Some top plus-size models currently working include Ashley Graham, Candice Huffine, Marquita Pring, Robyn Lawley and Tara Lynn.
Glamour modelling focuses solely on sexuality. Therefore, there are no requirements to be a glamour model other than the ability to pose seductively. Glamour models can be any size or shape. There is no industry standard for glamour modelling and it varies greatly by country. For the most part, glamour models are limited to modelling in calendars, men’s magazines, such as Playboy, lingerie modelling, fetish modelling, music videos, and extra work in films. However, some extremely popular glamour models transition into commercial print modelling, appearing in swimwear and lingerie campaigns.
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