Last night I got to attend what turned out to be one of my favorite fashion events ever: The NYC premiere of the HBO documentary About Face: Supermodels Then and Now. After seeing a few trailers (here and here), I couldn’t wait to see the film. (You can catch the broadcast premiere Monday July 30 at 9pm on HBO.)
Photographer and director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders told us he got the idea for the movie after he attended a cocktail party with a group of models from the 70s and 80s. After doing a shoot with them, he realized that there was a story there, so contacted others (going back to the 50s and 60s) to see if they would work with him–and no one had any hesitations. Models like Isabella Rossellini, Beverly Johnson, Jerry Hall, Carmen dell’Orefice and many more ended up in the final product.
Some of these modeling legends, like China Machado, Carol Alt, and Beverly Johnson, hit the red carpet at the Paley Center for Media last night to share their memories as well as opine about the modeling industry now.
Greenfield-Sanders, who doesn’t work in the fashion industry, said he learned some surprising things while filming. “I never thought about sexual harassment in that world—it’s prevalent. I never thought about racism,” he told me. “As someone who’s not in the fashion world you think of the beauty of the picture, not some of the behind the scenes issues.” While these issues are explored pretty thoroughly in the film (more on that later), the ladies on the red carpet were definitely having a blast and were in the mood for reminiscing about their more light-hearted modeling memories. And some of their experiences were pretty extraordinary.