Friday, July 18, 2014

Cosme-Haul Icons: Sixty-Eight Years of Ford Models' Photographs (R.I.P. Eileen Ford)

By Randi Reed

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? (L
ots of images here, so give your connection time to load.) Here we go...

Carmen Dell'Orefice, 1947 at age 16.
(Photo: Erwin Blumenfeld)

Carmen Dell'Orefice, still modeling, Elle UK, 2011.
(Photo: unknown, via Elle

Eileen Ford and Carmen Dell'Orefice.
(Photo: unknown, via

Jean Patchett. Eileen Ford's first star model, early 1950's.
(Photo: unknown, via

Jean Patchett on the cover of Glamour, 1950's.
(Photo:unknown, via

Dorian Leigh, 1950's.
(Photo: unknown, via

Dorian Leigh in the most famous ad in cosmetics history, 1952.
(Photo: unknown, via

Suzy Parker, 1957.
(Photo: unknown, possibly Richard Avedon?)

Suzy Parker in a famous Revlon ad from 1963.

Martha Stewart (yes, that one). 1961-ish.
(Photo:unknown, via Martha Stewart MySpace & Huffington Post)

Martha Stewart, 1961. (Photo: unknown, via Huffington Post)

Martha Stewart in Glamour, 1962.
(Photo: unknown, via Huffington Post)

Jean Shrimpton, 60's.
(Photo: unknown, possibly William Klein.)

Jean Shrimpton, May 1963 (Photo:William Klein.)

Wilhelmina Cooper, 1965. (Photo: unknown.)

One of Wilhelmina's most famous Revlon ads, 1965.

Cheryl Tiegs and Ali MacGraw in Glamour, 1967.
(Photo: unknown)

Kim Basinger as a Breck Girl, early 1970's.

Kim Basinger, mid 1970's. (Photo: Francesco Scavullo?)

Jerry Hall, 1975.
(Photo unknown, possibly Scavullo?via Google)

Jerry Hall, British Vogue, 1975. (Photo: Norman Parkinson)
Lauren Hutton for Revlon, 1969.

Lauren Hutton, 1975? (Photo: Francesco Scavullo?)

Modeling goes mainstream. Cheryl Tiegs, 1978.
Brooke Shields, Ford's first child client. (Photo: Scavullo)

Brooke Shields beating Carmen Dell'Orefice's record  for
youngest Vogue cover, Feb. 1980. (Photo: Scavullo?)

Christie Brinkley was known as "The Face of the 80's." 1982.

Christie Brinkley, 1983. (Photo: Scavullo)

Elle Macpherson 1985. (Photo: Scavullo)

Elle Macpherson, '88-'90-ish (Photo: unknown)
Christy Turlington, 1986. (Photo: unknown)

Christy Turlington, 1990's.
(Photo: unknown, possibly Herb Ritts?)

Veronica Webb, French Vogue, 1990. (Photo: unknown)

Veronica Webb (far left), first black supermodel to
have an exclusive cosmetic contract, 1997.
(Photo: unknown)
Alek Wek, 1997. (Photo: Steven Meisel?)

Alek Wek, Vogue, 2008 (Photo: Steven Meisel.)

Carolyn Murphy, French Vogue, 2000 (Photo: Ruven Afandor)

Carolyn Murphy, Wall Street Journal, 2012. (Photo: unknown)

Delphine Balfort Vogue Australia, 2002.
(Photo: unknown, via Google)

Delphine Balfort, Vogue UK Aug. 2014. (Photo: unknown)

Chanel Iman, 2009. (Photo: unknown)

Chanel Iman. (Photo: unknown, possibly Steven Meisel?)

Lexi Boling, Vogue Italia, May 2014 (Photo: Steven Meisel)

Lexi Boling. (Photo: unknown, via Google)

Eileen Ford doing her thing, Life Magazine. (Photo: unknown)

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©2014 Cosme-Haul and Randi Reed. Images copyright their respective copyright holders and are included in this blog solely for purposes of education and discussion under the Fair Use provision of US Copyright law. No infringement is intended, and take down requests will be honored if issued in writing by the legal copyright holder. If you feel your copyright has been violated, contact us in writing at Cosme-Haul 2219 West Olive Avenue Suite 136, Burbank CA 91506 or via email at cosmehaul (at) gmail (dot)com.