The wonderful world of modeling

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Yesterday I went to see “Mannequin – Corps de la Mode” (Models – The body of fashion) at the Cité de la Mode et du Design in Paris. This exhibition leads us through the history of modeling with lots of humor. Above all, it reveals a job that is compelling by its contradictions. Models are treated as merchandise but can also be in the best cases muses and friends to powerful people in fashion. They are surrounded non-stop by design teams, hairdressers and make-up artists yet it is a very lonely job. Showing an ounce of personality is necessary to stand out from the crowd yet models are transformed and asked to pose artificially only to have their imperfections erased with retouching. Modeling is either regarded as degrading or idolized. It was first considered a disgrace since women used their body to work, all the while arousing envy. In conditions that are not as glamorous as they seem, models are required to create the magic of a picture and to make clothes come to life.

So, do you still dream of becoming a model in your wildest dreams?

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Doppelgänger by Helmut Newton

Hier je suis allée voir “Mannequin – Corps de la Mode” à la Cité de la Mode et du Design à Paris. Cette expo aborde l’histoire du mannequinat avec beaucoup d’humour. Elle révèle un métier touchant par ses contradictions : le mannequin est femme-objet et objet marchand, mais aussi dans les meilleurs des cas muse et amie des créateurs. Le mannequin est sans cesse entouré de couturiers, coiffeurs et maquilleurs mais il reste plongé dans la solitude. On exige qu’il ait de la personnalité tout en la transformant et en lui demandant de prendre des poses artificielles pour ensuite lui ôter ses imperfections par retouches numériques. Le mannequinat est tantôt considéré comme un métier dégradant, tantôt idolâtré. D’abord considéré comme déshonorant puisqu’on y vit de son corps, il suscite l’envie pour la beauté de son univers. Dans des coulisses souvent peu glamour, les mannequins sont chargés de créer la magie d’une photo et d’animer un vêtement. Alors, est-ce que cela vous fait toujours rêver comme métier ?

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Charles Jourdan ad by Guy Bourdin

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Model goddess

Model solitude

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Shooting for Vogue in 1951

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Kate Moss was 15 when photographer Corinne Day took this picture. At a time when models were required to have a perfect, out-of-this-world beauty, Kate Moss was the first to be considered as imperfect for her relatively small height and tiny frame. And look at her now: she is widely recognized as the ideal model.

Kate Moss avait 15 ans lorsque la photographe Corinne Day a pris cette photo. Alors qu’on demandait aux mannequins d’avoir une beauté parfaite et hors-norme, Kate Moss a été la première à être considérée comme imparfaite par sa petite taille et sa maigreur. Etonnant quand on sait qu’elle est aujourd’hui vue comme le mannequin idéal.

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Sie Kommen, Helmut Newton

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Lisa Fonssagrives may have been the very first supermodel. The wife of photographer Irving Penn, she was in any case the first model to make the cover of Time Magazine in 1949.

Épouse du photographe Irving Penn, Lisa Fonssagrives est considérée comme le premier top model. Elle est en tout cas le premier mannequin à avoir fait la couverture de Time Magazine en septembre 1949.

Peter Lindbergh

Picture by Peter Lindbergh. If you like this photographer, you might enjoy this post.

Photo par Peter Lindbergh. Si vous aimez ce photographe, faites un tour sur ce billet que je lui ai consacré.

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Jean Shrimpton by David Bailey

Expo Mannequins Corps de la mode

This exhibition ends this weekend so go have a look if you can!

L’expo se termine ce weekend donc courez-y si vous le pouvez !

4 Comments

Filed under Fashion

4 responses to “The wonderful world of modeling

  1. The magazines and the TV only perpetuates the myth of the glamorous lives that models supposedly have. These days, everyone can be a wannabe model. And if you can’t be a “proper” model, personal style blogging is the way to go. And that’s not a bad thing either. What worries me is young girls are now expected to look provocative and sexy.

    • That is so true. It is shocking and worrying to see how girls these days are lead to take on a sexy image from a young age and that it becomes the norm.

  2. Modeling, so one of those things that looks all glamorous, but you know isn’t. I can’t imagine how so many young girls manage it- usually moving to strange cities with no support system. But at the same time, I love it, was totally transfixed by the likes of Cindy Crawford as a teen. Now she was a super model!!

    • I idolized models as a teen too! Now I really wouldn’t want to have that job but as you say you have to admire them for being able to move alone to foreign countries, face endless rejection and be mature so young.

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