Model Woman: Eileen Ford and the Business of Beauty

Model Woman: Eileen Ford and the Business of Beauty

by Robert Lacey


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A revealing, no-holds-barred portrait of the legendary Eileen Ford—the entrepreneur who transformed the business of modeling and helped invent the celebrity supermodel.

Working with her husband, Jerry, Eileen Ford created the twentieth century’s largest and most successful modeling agency, representing some of the fashion world’s most famous names—Suzy Parker, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Lauren Hutton, Rene Russo, Christie Brinkley, Jerry Hall, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell. Her relentless ambition turned the business of modeling into one of the most glamorous and desired professions, helping to convert her stable of beautiful faces into millionaire superstars.

Model Woman chronicles the Ford Modeling Agency’s meteoric rise to the top of the fashion and beauty business, and paints a vibrant portrait of the uncompromising woman at its helm in all her glittering, tyrannical brilliance. Outspoken and controversial, Ford was never afraid to offend in defense of her stringent standards. When she chose, she could deliver hauteur in the grand tradition of fashion’s battle-axes, from Coco Chanel to Diana Vreeland—just ask John Casablancas or Janice Dickinson. But she was also a shrewd businesswoman with a keen eye for talent and a passion for serving her clients.

Drawing on more than four years of intensive interviews with Ford and her intimates, associates, and rivals, as well as exclusive access to agency documents and memorabilia, Robert Lacey weaves an unforgettable tale of a determined entrepreneur and the empire she built—a story of beauty, ambition, business, and popular culture as powerful and complex as the woman at its center.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062108081
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/05/2016
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 361,712
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Robert Lacey is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty books, including The Queen; Ford: The Men and the Machine; The Year 1000; and Inside the Kingdom. He lives in London.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Supermodels for Breakfast 1

1 Nothing to do But Look Pretty 12

2 Origins 20

3 The Most Talented Child Ever Born 26

4 Great Neck 31

5 The Bobbsey Twins 38

6 Young and Beautiful 45

7 Something Mellifluous 51

8 Model Student 58

9 Le Meilleur Moment De L'Amour 62

10 Jerry 69

11 Stylist 75

12 Agency 83

13 New Look 90

14 Goddesses and Masterpieces 97

15 Model Types 103

16 Scouts and Bookers 114

17 Ideal for Entertaining 124

18 Shoes Under the Bed 130

19 Bonjour, Paris! 136

20 Celebrity Models 143

21 In the Eye of the Beholder 152

22 Youthquake 1965 163

23 Rivalries 175

24 Breakfast at Seventy-Eighth Street 185

25 The Panorama 193

26 Model Wars 203

27 The Ford Empire Strikes Back 211

28 Cover Girls 219

29 Sex and Drugs and Supermodels 230

30 Hopping Like Bedbugs 239

31 Full Circle 246

Epilogue: Beauty Business 257

Appendix: Top Ford Models 265

Acknowledgments 267

Photographic Sources 275

Notes 279

Bibliography 313

Index 321

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