Se­ri­ous busi­ness

> Why top fash­ion mod­els never smile

The Sun (Malaysia) - - STYLE -

The vogue for expressionless mod­els is ac­tu­ally very re­cent, she said, dat­ing from the rise of the Ja­panese de­sign­ers Yo­hji Ya­mamoto and Commes des Gar­con in the early 1980s.

"This was also the pe­riod of the su­per­mod­els (Cindy Craw­ford, Imam and Elle Macpher­son) who very much had their own per­son­al­ties, and it was a re­ac­tion against this," she said.

"In the 1960s, when col­lec­tions were first pre­sented as shows, mod­els of­ten smiled, laughed and even danced to mu­sic.

WALK­ING CLOTHES HANG­ERS

"Now they are seen as walk­ing clothes hang­ers. It's all about ef­fac­ing their per­son­al­ity... the clothes are it."

An­thro­pol­o­gist Leyla Neri, the di­rec­tor of fash­ion at the New School Par­sons Paris, agreed.

She dates the first ap­pear­ance of moody, of­ten scowl­ing mod­els to Brigitte Bar­dot and Jane Birkin in the 1960s.

It then sped up with the rise fem­i­nism and "women's need to be taken se­ri­ously in their pro­fes­sional lives, so you see women strik­ing strong, un­smil­ing poses in Ar­mani suits.

"Men have never smiled on the cat­walk be­cause they never have had to smile to please," Neri in­sisted.

"In the 1950s mod­els smiled all the time, in fact they were kind of liv­ing dolls," she added.

"With eman­ci­pa­tion and de­sign­ers like Yves Saint Lau­rent you get more a an­drog­y­nous look, and women be­came more mas­cu­line and pow­er­ful."

Con­tem­po­rary de­sign­ers have an "even more min­i­mal­ist vi­sion", Neri ar­gued. "They want the most neu­tral faces and bod­ies pos­si­ble to show their work.

"They do not see their mod­els as an ideal of beauty any longer. That is some­thing that the public has not quite un­der­stood."

Ev­ery few years, how­ever, icon­o­clasts like French de­signer Jean Paul Gaultier send mod­els out smil­ing.

In­dian cre­ator Man­ish Arora also cheers things up by cast­ing his bo­hemian friends.

And sev­eral mod­els ended up beam­ing through Bri­tish de­signer Paul Smith's last Paris menswear show.

"I didn't tell them to smile," he told AFP af­ter­wards. "I have noth­ing against smil­ing. If the clothes make them happy, go for it," he said.

Vil­lot, who took part in that show but didn't dare a smile, said mod­els are of­ten afraid to look too happy in case they end up look­ing ridicu­lous.

"The se­ri­ous face you can do ev­ery time, but if you smile you don't know how you are go­ing to look."

Ogunkoya agreed. "It's eas­ier to just walk and zone out. Smil­ing is def­i­nitely more of a chal­lenge."

But would he smile if asked? "Why not? You get asked to do the most ran­dom things in this job." – AFP Re­laxnews

When did the trend for expressionless mod­els start?

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