Over the last two years, Ann Taylor has made a noticeable effort to bring its apparel and accessories offerings out of the naughts and into the new, uber-fashion-conscious decade.
In fact, many industry insiders we've spoken to about AT's reformation have noted: "They're trying be J.Crew." Evidence of this marketing scheme can be found in the retailer's newfound preppy-meets-glam aesthetic. The company also recently inked a deal with the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund to host a runway show in Los Angeles this October.
It’s shaping up to be an interesting week in the modeling world.
First, Tyra Banks re-signs with IMG. Now, the New York Post reports that Next Management is suing Ford for poaching three of its models–Polish expats Anna Aleksandra Cywinska and Anna J., as well as Estonian Karmen Pedaru–after Next president Next President Joel Wilkenfeld petitioned Immigration and Naturalization Service to allow them to work in the US under contract.
In return, Ford is suing Next for poaching some of its best bookers and using those bookers to bring Ford models over to Next. (Ford has also sued Next three times over the past few years for “stealing” its models, including Kendra Spears.)
For the first time since 2007, Gap will have little to do with the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.
J.Crew is sponsoring this year's scholarship, which surely means that by next summer, J.Crew stores will be stocked with special items designed by the winners.
Ann Taylor, a brand that's tried to mimic J.Crew in its styling, will fund an October fashion show in Los Angeles, where models will show off designs created for the retailer. (Remember, nominees this year include Prabal Gurung and Christian Cota, so expect to see some fabulous holiday party dresses on the runway.)
It's clear that J.Crew has forked over plenty of cash to be this year's marquee sponsor. (We're talking on top of the scholarship fund.) But is it worth it? Despite the great press and great clothes that came out of the Gap/CFDA collaborations, the world's biggest retailer is struggling more than ever with its branding. (Patrick Robinson is trying to change that, and we hope that he succeeds.)
However, for J.Crew, it's less about building momentum and more about sustaining it. This will only strengthen the prestigious reputation it already enjoys among fashion-savvy consumers.
When Anna Wintour referred to relatively little-known model Arizona Muse in her last February's editor's letter as a "gorgeous, smart, grown-up" and compared her to the likes of modeling giants Linda Evangelista and Natalia Vodianova, we knew the modeling world was in for something big. It's been quite the landmark year for Muse. Top campaigns, extensive runway presence, big covers, and now another feather in her cap -- the number one model in Vogue.
Hundreds of models are cast every year in the pages of international editions of Vogue, and when we tallied the results of their work it quickly became obvious who came out on top in 2011. Quantity and quality must be accounted for to make the top 10. Not only must a models' appearances be plentiful, but the quality of those appearances must be stellar as well. This includes factors like only-girl editorials, the caliber of photographers they work with and editions they're in, and their number of overall pages. Arizona's scoresheet was predictably well-rounded. She worked with the best photographers, scored the most solo editorials and graced enough pages to fill an entire August issue all on her own (that's about 220 for those of you keeping track). She started the year with a bang by starring in only-girl editorials for Vogue China, Italia, Paris, UK and US, and that was in just one month!
It's an unusual feat for a model to skyrocket to the extent Arizona has since she hit the international scene last year, and while we're thrilled for her success, we wonder if it'll stick. While Muse has the novelty (and sometimes the curse) of it-girl status, it remains to be seen whether she'll be blessed with longevity, the true mark of a great and successful model. We are looking forward to what the new year will bring for her.
For now, click through for the rest of the top 10.