Sunday, 15 March 2009


For an agency that now boasts five divisions and a database of 7000 clients, Models 1 started from far humbler numbers over forty years ago.

Founded in 1968, Models 1 had just three models on its books. Against these odds, the agency developed and flourished into the largest and most successful agency in Europe. Forty years on, it is one of the most notable players on the modelling stage.

Models 1 have a roll-call that is the envy of every other agency. Not content to rest on the shoulders of one stellar signing, Models 1 has diversified into a multi-division behemoth. Its longevity can with some certainty be pinned down to the fact that Models 1 has recognised that there is strength in numbers.

Listing just some of the names attached to Models 1 makes it clear that this agency is central to the world of modelling:

Agyness Deyn
Amber Valletta
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Noemie Lenoir
Karolina Kurkova

These are only a few of the names attached to Models 1. The agency has cemented its fashion cache in recent years with high-fashion signings Agyness Deyn and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: Deyn’s iconic look in particular has come to define a whole new wave of street fashion. Deyn’s influence over popular fashion is not something that should be overlooked. Her unique style is now much copied, and as much a part of pop culture as Topshop and YouTube. When fashion commentators look back on this time, Deyn’s face will be indelibly marked on it. Having the guts to sign someone as tide-changing as Deyn proves that age does not mean an agency is stuck in its past. With Deyn, Models 1 has secured its future and place within the modelling industry.

Of course, Models 1 has used its years of influence to create a mightily-impressive client list. Annually working with 1200 clients, Models 1 has links with the worlds of haute couture, ready-to-wear, through to the stalwarts of the high street.
What makes Models 1 special is that it doesn’t just focus on the current face du jour. Its Classic Women division can cite campaigns with skincare brands Garnier and Clarins. They also represent Twiggy and Marie Helvin, a reminder of Models 1’s extensive legacy.

True to form, Models 1 has cultivated a huge and diverse client base. They have built substantial working relationships with major brands such as Marks and Spencer – something that can only happen with the benefit of insight and experience. It is this huge range of clients (quite literally, Prada to Peugeot), that makes Models 1 stand apart from its competitors.

Despite their size, Models 1, from day one, have adhered to a very simple philosophy: a model’s welfare is in their strongest, most absolute, interests. They have a very good industry-wide reputation when it comes to their models. No new model is thrown out into the big, bad world without knowing the basics. Just as they build and develop existing talents’ careers, Models 1 sensibly recognise that new faces need just as much attention, sometimes more. Therefore, when a fresh Models 1 signing goes out on castings, they are prepared, professional and focused.

Working with existing talent has also brought its own rewards: names like Crawford, Evangelista, Kurkova and Valletta are the reason why Models 1 has such a strong foothold in the industry. When a model can be recognised by a surname alone, it is an indicator that there has been a lot of hard work behind the scenes getting them to that point.

Where Models 1 is succeeding currently, is with the batch of faces that are making a comeback within the modelling industry: Karolina Kurkova and Linda Evangelista are proof that there is such a thing as a second act in a model’s career. You are not necessarily done and dusted by the age of 25. Evangelista’s prolific affiliation with brands such as L’Oreal shows that Models 1 is committed to providing iconic faces at every age. The shift in advertising to target skincare aimed at consumers over 40, using models over 40, is a significant about-turn that Models 1 has taken advantage of. While other agencies have been focusing in the newer faces in the pack, Models 1 has used its extensive back-catalogue to devastating effect.

The final pointer to just how highly-regarded Models 1 is within the fashion industry, is best defined by the fact that they are the agency every ‘Britain’s Next Top Model’ season winner has been signed to. It is the most substantial, glittering prize waved at the hopefuls who take part in the televised modelling competition. It’s no wonder with a year’s contract on offer that the competition gets so ruthless.

Every BNTM winner has gone on to achieve some degree of success within the industry (Cycle 2 winner Lianna Fowler has appeared in both British and Russian Vogue – a distinction yet to be equalled by another other BNTM contestant). The fact that the show’s producers have chosen Models 1 as the grand prize shows how it is perceived, not only by fashion insiders, but the world at large. Models 1 are a force to be reckoned with. With a history of forty years to draw upon, it has the skills and the know-how to exist for forty more, and beyond.

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