Monday, March 17, 2003

Letter to the Editor:
About Guy Trebay's column in The New York Times: "Strutting Down the Runway With a Severe Case of the Blahs


I was wondering if anyone of importance was paying attention to the message Guy Trebay was sending in his piece regarding the recent fall shows in this Sunday's Style Section. In my opinion, he couldn't have been more clear on how he feels about the seasonal search for the Next Great (White) Model Search that happens during the season.I repeat his own words: "With no obvious new national or ethnic vein being mined by talent scouts (and certainly not one that benefits black, latina or Asian models), the current preference in the business.....is for young people of no particular beauty....and a range of expression that can sometimes put an observer in mind of an aquarium."

He's absolutely right. Most of these girls are so devoid of personality and sex appeal, you have to wonder what the designers and the agencies (by default) are afraid of. By choosing Madeleine Blomberg, Adina Fohlin and Elise Crombez as the standout girls of the moment, they fail to recognize beautiful girls such as Ai, Kimanee Wilson of Elite, the Asian model Ling (who should be farther along than she is right now) and so many other girls that truly deserve the attention. These girls are not only beautiful, they know how to walk, they have beautiful smiles (when they are allowed to show them) and they have the potential to be the next supermodels in the industry. Why are these girls shoved aside and relegated to ethnic fashion zines like Vibe, Honey, Latina and the others where they are left to die on the vine? When are they going to be given a chance to really show their stuff? When will it become less of a national holiday when a black model appears on the cover of Anna Wintour's Vogue?

Mr. Trebay is only echoing the quiet mutterings that goes on under the radar. He has given voice to something that can still be turned around and made into a positive. Is anyone in the industry listening? I am not for affirmative action but this story in the Times really pissed me off. And they (the industry) wonder about the disconnect between them and the rest of the American population.

Thank you,

Phillip Johnson
(Philip is a freelance New York fashion journalist)

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