Monday, 11 January 2010

Where Have All The Models Gone?

Julianne Moore for Bulgari, Madonna for Dolce & Gabbana, Megan Fox for Armani...these days, if you're a fashion model, chances are you wouldn't be able to get yourself arrested in an ad campaign, let alone do your job and model in one.

The other extreme competition for the central role in a fashion shoot is the Original Supermodel, those heroines of the 90s, who rarely strode down a catwalk without the the fellow members of their exclusive clan: Claudia Schiffer is a regular face of Chanel, Naomi Campbell is the mannequin du jour at Yves Saint Laurent, and Linda Evangelista recently fronted Prada's collections.

That is not to say such talented beauties as Julianne Moore do not merit their Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot-photographed ad campaigns. Clearly it took a step up from the modelling rung on the creative ladder to act out Jean-Leon Gerome’s famous painting, Odalisque, for this particular shoot.

What next, then, for the model? If the fashion jobs are being booked by award-winning actresses and supermodels who have lasted long beyond their expected sell by date, what work is left for the garden variety mannequin?

The only way, it would seem, is up. Up the aforementioned ladder, up towards a career treading the boards or acting out on film sets, where models can compete with actresses for the attention of all types of camera lenses on the red carpet, rather than just those with fashion photographers behind them.

One model who seems to have realised this faster than her contemporaries, is Lily Cole. She has all but given up her modelling career following a successful turn in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

A word of warning, however, to all those model-turned-actresses: the requisite retouching that is carried out before any shoot is published in a fashion magazine, does not automatically translate to the big screen.

As former model Sharon Stone puts it so well:
When you're a regular gal, you look in the rear view mirror, and in the bright daylight you see that line around your mouth, but when you're an actress and you see that line up on the big screen, it's, like, seven feet long.

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