'In 1968 Lucie Clayton, the eponymous head of the most important modelling school in London, wrote in her book, The World of Modelling: ‘Fashion is full of the young. This is the major change of recent years. It's due to all the well-known factors - the commercial exploitability of the young and the many products geared to them, and also, I think, to the beauty of today's young people.' Clayton was specifically referring to the rise of Jean Shrimpton, Twiggy and Bond girl, Tania Mallet. They were 17 or 18 years old when they commenced modelling. At the age of 18, when Shrimpton left the Lucie Clayton school, she was, in her own words, ‘green as a spring salad’.'
Today's essay comes from Yale fashion historian, theorist and writer Becky Conekin, who draws on her research into models to dissect the dark undertones of Erica Schreiner's Fashion Fetish film. Given that she is currently putting together her new model-inspired book, titled Pretty Hard Work: A History of Fashion Modelling From the Bomb to Bowie, there is really no one more qualified to discuss this often controversial topic. Citing research from sources as varied as Marx and Slate magazine, Conekin's work is a intriguing, and pointed, history and evaluation of the bizarre relationship between fashion imagery and female models. Read it now.