August 23, 2010



You know the saying "As goes California, So goes the nation"? Well in the world of American beauty it's  "As goes Ford Models...So goes the nation...and our self esteem".  Since 1958 Eileen Ford has be-spelled the nation with her bevy of classically beautiful doe eyed princesses the likes of Jean Patchett, Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley. The Ford name became synonymous with perfectly perfect girls, typically blonde and always coifed just right with dewey flawless skin. The Ford brand of beauty has long been the American standard and over time has become an international symbol of female perfection. Enter Paul Rowland.

The former head and founder of both Women and Supreme modeling agencies, Paul Rowland surprised the modeling world recently when he signed on to helm Ford's Women's division. Not only is it unusual for someone to go from the top of an agency to the head of a division, but it can hardly be claimed that Rowland's ideas on feminine beauty mirror that of the traditional Ford way.  In his first real interview since taking the new role, Rowland told T magazine this of his transition:

 “My vision is very different from Eileen Ford’s. My ideal legacy at Ford — and hopefully there will be one — would be to open up the idea of beauty not only being classic but being, you know, global. I’m just obsessed with finding these amazing creatures in all these exotic countries. I want to find girls in Egypt or Sri Lanka or India — all the places where people don’t look.”

It seems that if the Ford look of years past has been a little bit Britney (school girl not shaved head), then the Roland inspired Ford of the Future will look a little more like Shakira and Rihanna. 

If you ask me, I think that Rowland is on to something. America isn't the land of picket fences and toe headed children anymore. Just a generation ago it was common for people to come to the US from  Italy, Mexico, China and elsewhere and opt to not teach their children their native language for fear that they would be seen as "foreign" and therefor never be able to achieve the American ideal of beauty and intelligence. Now we are seeing a resurgence of pride in our cultures and a desire to celebrate who we are while still appreciating the beauty in each other. Let's hope that this shift in the modeling template bleeds into our fashion and style, inspiring us to reach into our own cultures and to wear our history literally on our sleeves. 

There's no telling how far this shift in perception at Ford will take the world of Fashion and Beauty, but here's hoping that it at least serves as a reminder that some of the most incredibly beautiful things and people never find their place in the fashion magazines. It makes me think of my favorite pair of shoes, a pair of old dairyman's boots my grandpa used to wear when milking cows. They aren't in the best shape and they probably weren't very expensive to begin with, but something about wearing them makes me feel rooted and rich, knowing the history of where both they and I came from. Dig into your closet today, maybe even into your mom's and dad's, and get with the new program by showing off what makes you, well you

Grandpa's Boot

Get more on the Ford change up at the great Ny Times supplement T magazine HERE

- brother

No comments:

Post a Comment