A book like this will normally be expected to contain lots of outstanding photographs with beautiful reproductions. Oddly, the photographs are the weakest part of the book. Much of the book is focused on brief, superficial interviews with famous model industry personalities conducted by David Bailey. The essays primarily repeat what popular magazines have said about the industry over the years, and are written in a similar style to that used in fashion magazines. If you are a younger person, and want to know about what modeling was like before the 90s, the text will probably be of some interest to you.
The essays begin with one about the role of the female model, and how these women emerged from being mannequins (or a blank canvases) who were often expoited into becoming well-known personalities who often developed nonmodeling careers (such as acting). The history of how agents went from controlling the industry (and getting 40 percent of the fees paid to the models) to losing control is then described. Some of the top fashion photographers are profiled next, along with their styles. Brief essays also look at designers, editors, the supermodel phenomenon, those who were harmed by becoming models (especially during heroin chic), and the fashion legends. These essays are the best part of the book
Brief interviews are reported with Isabella Blow; Karen Elson; Cindy Crawford; Jerry Hall; Michael Flutie; Eileen Ford, Lillian Bassman; Bruce Weber; Penelope Tree; Arthur Elgort, Peter Lindbergh; Patrick Demarchelier; Isabella Rossellini; Angelica Huston; Carmen Dell'Orefice; Isaac Mizrahi: Vivienne Westwood; Karl Lagerfeld; Jay Alexander; Liz Tilberis; Polly Mellen: Franca Sozzani; Anna Wintour; Christy Turlington; Naomi Campbell; Helena Christensen; Suzie Bick; James King; Jean Shrinpton; Dorian Leigh; Iman; Karen Elson; and Kate Moss. If you know much about fashion or modeling, little new will emerge here other than occasional snide comments about individuals.
All of the photographs are done by David Bailey. My favorite images in the book (as reproduced here) are:
Peter Lindbergh (p. 23)
Naomi Campbell (pp. 24-25)
Iman (p. 37)
Jerry Hall (pp. 53, 164)
Catherine Deneuve (p. 65)
Jean Shrimpton (pp. 69, 169, 185)
Anne Piaggi (p. 118)
Anna Wintour (p. 127)
Christy Turlington (p. 137)
Carmen Dell'Orefice and Dorian Leigh (p. 171).
Both the photographs and the reproductions are unremarkable. I came away thinking (once again) that David Bailey was lucky that he was able to photograph Jean Shrimpton and Catherine Deneuve so often. With other models, the results are not as good.
Having looked at this material made me realize how much fashion focus is like a brief glance, arresting . . . but then moving on to look at something else. It must be terribly difficult to go from obscurity to the center of attention to being of no more interest to most people. I admire those who can handle it well.
What can you do to make your life become a progression of rewarding accomplishments, so that maturity launches you further along in satisfactions? When you answer that question, you will have obtained a profound benefit from this panorama of fashion history.
When your heart and personality shine, you always look your best! But more importantly, you feel and act your best then, too.