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London Fashion Week Getting the Proverbial Shaft When It Comes to Models

Damn you, Marc Jacobs. The acclaimed designer had to move his show at the last minute — damn you, Hurricane Irene — causing a whole gaggle of girls who were supposed to fly to London Fashion Week to miss their flight. Then Gucci — damn you, Frida Giannini — pulled a cattle of catwalkers to Milan for early fittings, leaving London designers strapped for supers. All this negligent behavior and diva antics has some London-based model agencies threatening to boycott next season’s London Fashion Week if the British Fashion Council doesn’t get its shit together.

London Fashion Week Getting the Proverbial Shaft When It Comes to Models

Models on Todd Lynn's Spring 2012 runway /

According to Carole White, founder of Premier Model Management and not the biggest Naomi Campbell fan, ”We’re not just talking about one or two big girls. Jacobs had numerous models holding on options right up until the day of his show meaning they all stayed in New York just in case they got cast.”

White goes on to say, ”Gucci demanded that girls fly to Milan on Saturday to meet Frida to see if she would consider them for her show, which meant Saturday got trashed. Then the girls were expected to fly straight back to London, and if Gucci were interested, fly back to Milan again on Sunday for another round of casting, then for fittings on Monday. Only a tiny fraction of them realistically have a shot at being in that show — we all know it will be full of mega girls. I find it insulting that a designer like Frida thinks London is so insignificant that she would do that.”

For agents and models alike, Gucci and Jacobs are major gets, but that leaves the already packed London schedule of designers feeling like fashion’s bastard step-children. A source at Todd Lynn claims to have “lost 10 out of 19 girls,” with agents calling them in the middle of the night to pull their girls and some models not even showing up for fittings because they’ve flown off to Milan.

Also not helping matters is LOVE magazine editor Katie Grand — damn you Katie Grand — who styled for Jacobs and also styled for the London-based designer Giles Deacon. Grand demanded a five-hour call time — which one “fashion insider” calls ”unnecessary, absurd, selfish and wrong,” citing Paris’ strict two-hour limit — thus monopolizing any girls left in town after Burberry.

Amidst fears that London Fashion Week may be squeezed out all together, the British Fashion Council is beginning to feel the heat. The BFC is being accused of mismanaging the show calendar and for not standing up to the organizers behind the  New York and Milan fashion weeks.

Meanwhile, CEO of the BFC, Caroline Rush, insists that something is being done. She’s not particularly clear what that something is, but the Council has “invested time in developing direct relationships with model agencies to better understand their challenges and encourage them to send more internationally-recognised catwalk models to London. This season, the models at designers such as Jonathan Saunders, Erdem, Christopher Kane and Tom Ford have been of a global standard.”

Well, for those handful of shows, good for you. But for everyone else suffering at the model-grabbing claws of New York and Milan: damn you, Caroline Rush. [Telegraph]

Written by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester dot brathwaite at gmail