In honor of legendary model agent Eileen Ford, who passed away July 9, 2014, Cosme-Haul presents sixty-eight years of Ford Models' photographs, from the beginning to present day.
As creator of the Ford Modeling Agency along with her husband Jerry, Eileen Ford was a force to be reckoned with. Fiercely protective of her clients, Ford changed fashion industry pay rates in the models' favor and created the industry's first exclusive cosmetics contracts for models--Karen Graham for Estee Lauder and Lauren Hutton for Revlon are two examples.
Taking the modeling industry mainstream and evolving her agency into Ford Models, Inc., Eileen Ford made stars of her models. Many would reach pop culture icon status. Other Ford clients, while perhaps lesser known outside of the fashion world, would have lasting impact within the industry, such as Carmen Dell'Orefice.
Dell'Orefice started modeling as a teenager in 1946, joining the Ford Modeling Agency in 1953. After marrying and retiring from modeling in 1958, Dell'Orefice came back to modeling in 1978 and has worked ever since. Known in the industry as the oldest working model (also having been, in 1947, the youngest to be on the cover of Vogue), in September 2012, at the age of 81, Dell'Orefice walked the runway in several shows during New York's Fashion Week.
Regardless of whether you agree with Eileen Ford's controversially rigid concepts of beauty, she undeniably changed the fashion industry. She turned the modeling industry on its head, brought models to the public's attention, and guarded her clients' interests--both professionally and personally.
Most importantly, at a time when few women had careers, Eileen Ford created the Ford Modeling Agency (as it was called then), a company that's flourished for nearly seventy years. That in itself is worth celebrating.
R.I.P., Eileen Ford.
Below, you'll find images of some of Ford Models' many clients over the years, some in their most iconic photographs and ad campaigns.
I'll be blunt: putting this post together was fun, but aspects of it were a bit of a nightmare...which is actually kind of fitting for the modeling industry. More than twenty-five hours of work went into this post, and as of deadline time, I'm still expecting fact check info to come in. As with any image business, models change agencies, and information on clients is inconsistent: Jean Shimpton and Twiggy are often confused, for example. Some say one or both were clients, others say neither. And, Naomi Campbell--Ford client or not?
Sources also vary as to when Carmen Dell'Orefice joined the Ford Modelling Agency. I include her 1947 Vogue cover here, as she and Ford started the same year (whether together or not).
Lastly, a note about the photographers: I strongly believe in crediting photographers for the wonderful images they create. Unfortunately, tracking down correct credits for Google images is hit or miss, as there's much misinformation out there. If you know the correct photographer's credit for these images, please let me know at cosmehaul (at) g mail (dot) com, citing your source, and I'll gratefully correct it and attribute the correction to you here on Cosme-Haul.
Ready to see the evolution of the modern modeling industry before your eyes? (Lots of images here, so give your connection time to load.) Here we go...
|Carmen Dell'Orefice, 1947 at age 16.|
(Photo: Erwin Blumenfeld)