Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Icon investigation

I've been wondering what makes an icon. What makes models from one era have longevity and others fade away? What keeps people intrigued by certain personalities and not by others when both get the same amount of media coverage? Brigitte Bardot was where I started my musings..she is still a large fashion influence today and it can't be just down to her being a buxom blonde, and with her unpleasant racist tendencies it definitely isn't her winning personality or intelligence. Kate Moss is another model with an impressive and unusually long career in the industry but she shies away from the media, we know very little of her opinions and often any information we do learn about her in the media is not flattering. So it just their looks?
Looking at photos of Brigitte Bardot from the 1960s I noted that there are a lot of shots where she is staring at the camera almost as though she was half-wild, wary but self-assured, with a very open but also distrustful stare. Other more provocative poses are much more aggressive than submissive and needy. Both looks are almost feral.
Although there are smiling photos to be found of Ms. Bardot more often than not there is an unsmiling, wary and perhaps defiant pose in every photo, she never appears weak, she does not seem overly concerned at looking beautiful in every shot. For a fashion model or actress that is rather brave, and was maybe a little ground breaking in her time.

Raquel Welch's early shots around her famous bikini-clad appearance in One Million Year's B.C. in 1966 have the same feral wary vs. in heat expressions....! I admit Rachel went down the little clothing and big smiles route after this phase though....

Early shots of Kate Moss are often described as looking vulnerable and innocent but there is still a strength and self-assurance in her eyes as above.

Again, more provocative shots are always strong images, she seems aloof and confident.

I had noted in the past that Ms. Moss NEVER smiles in posed photos, you will see snatched photos of her with friends with a lovely big smile,but posed photos are always unsmiling as above. I do think it's a brave thing for a model but it works! She has maintained a mystery and intrigue about herself that has kept her interesting for two decades in a normally fickle business.
Georgia Jagger, Cara Delevigne and Isabel Lucas have the same blank feral stare/man-eater thing going on, might be a sign of long careers to come!

I read once that Yoko Ono never smiled because her mother had told her that people who smile too much strike others as stupid and weak, they see it as submissive and ingratiating and that in some way you are showing too much of your inner self and becoming too transparent. She (and Posh Spice!) may have taken it to extremes but Ms. Moss shows that you do get more respect, at least in the modelling world, if you keep the toothy grins to a minimum.

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