>> Models are having a tough time of it, now that brands, from Chanel on down, are feeling the pinch. Designers hired fewer models to walk during couture last week, and labels are cutting fees in general.
"Half price! It's half-price everywhere, in Milan, even in New York," cried Ukranian model Anna Chyzh, backstage at Stephane Rolland last Monday. Aidan Jean-Marie, director at Premier Model Management in London, which has represented Claudia Schiffer in the past, confirmed that clients who used to pay a daily rate of $4,200 are now coming in with a budget of $2,100.
In response to the budget crisis, agencies are adjusting their mix of "commercial" models and pricier "catwalk" models. "You need both sides to survive the downturn, but the balance shifts slightly towards the commercial models," said Jean-Marie. "The catwalk girls are not your day-to-day girls, they are anomalies, with measurements they had when they were 16 and still have at 18." The rise of the more "commercial" look has already come into being in Spring 2009 ad casting, judging by the prevalence of Toni Garrn and Anna Maria Jagodzinska.
And it could get worse . . . »
But this may not be the worst of it (or best of it, if you're Toni or Anna Maria). Karen Diamond, director at Agyness Deyn's agency Models 1, doesn't expect the full impact to hit until later this year, since advertising budgets and show schedules are planned so far in advance. And new girls may be the hardest hit. "Clients will go with established models rather than giving new faces a break, and it'll be tough for new girls," she said.
Even girls who aren't new faces, like Georgina Stojiljkovic, are still having to rethink things. "I'm having some doubt now. We all do it for the money so if there is no more money, maybe I should go back and focus on my studies," she said, referring to the political science degree she put on hold a year ago to work full-time.