Out of Fashion: The Absence of Color
Why have images of black models been in sharp decline in high fashion for more than a decade?
Some of the fashion industry's most prominent voices Pulitzer Prize winner Robin Givhan, super model Naomi Campbell, and Cathy Horyn of the New York Times to name a few have stated that models of color have been especially absent on the runway as well as editorially. This open forum with the fashion glitterati in the audience and on stage will investigate why and discuss what can be done to make positive change.
Former fashion model and model agency owner, Bethann Hardison will lead a discussion on the lack of the black image in fashion today with stylist Lori Goldstein, model agent David Ralph, fashion designer Tracy Reese, and casting agent James Scully. After revealing how they each personally fit into the fashion puzzle, the group will explore the issues and complex layers (who is really at fault? The designer? The agent? The photographer? The stylist? The magazine editor?) and consider solutions to the problem (consumer action, the fashion industry acknowledging its social responsibility, etc.). After a brief discussion, the audience will join an open forum of questions and comments.
Bethann Hardison began her international modeling career with Willi Smith, and went on to work with Anne Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, Perris Ellis, Issey Miyake, and Ungaro. Since her modeling days she has worked at Stephen Burrows, Valentino Couture, and Click Model Management before forming Bethann Management. In 1995, Bethann recreated the concept of the male supermodel and made fashion history by signing her client, Tyson Beckford, to an exclusive contract with designer Ralph Lauren. It was the first contract of its kind ever to be given to an African-American male model. In 1996 she ended her representation of fashion models and became co-executive producer of Between Brothers for Fox Network and more recently, co-executive producer of the syndicated television show Livin? Large. Bethann Hardison currently maintains management for Tyson Beckford, Kadeem Hardison, and Naomi Campbell and is developing a documentary on the Black fashion model.
For over twenty years Lori Goldstein has collaborated with Annie Leibovitz as principal photographer for Vanity Fair and, since the early 1990s, with Steven Meisel for Italian Vogue. Goldstein has held the position of Contributing Editor at Italian Vogue and Allure, acted as creative-consultant on wardrobe selection for Madonna, Cameron Diaz, and Demi Moore, and has been a creative consultant with fashion designers including Donatella Versace, Calvin Klein, Narciso Rodriguez, and TSE.
In the nearly ten years since the debut of Tracy Reese, the label has come to epitomize feminine chic. Tracy has since ventured into home design, accessories and opened her first Flagship Boutique in Manhattan?s Meatpacking District in Spring 2006. Tracy Reese and her second label, plenty by Tracy Reese, are sold nationwide to Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Anthropologie, and Scoop, among others.
About James Scully
James Scully is a renowned fashion show casting agent responsible for discovering many of the iconic models who helped mold the image of Gucci during the stellar Tom Ford years. He worked with Tom Ford for ten years before moving on to work for Harper's Bazaar as a model editor. He is now a casting agent once again.