> Why top fashion models never smile
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?