Also personifying the 80’s, Duran Duran. They were the picture of sleek, stylish superficiality. They weren’t the exact apotheosis of mindless prettiness – that would have been the boys of Wham!. Eventually, the grunge revolution would vilify the glossiness of bands like Duran Duran and Wham!. It would come to seem that bands who put so much thought into their dressing and blow drying were just ciphers with nothing real to say and no message to offer. But not delving too deeply into emotional terrain or thinking very hard about a message isn’t a crime. It’s still held that highly produced, highly commercial pop artists are less important than serious minded emo/poetic types, and in many cases that’s a point I agree with. But credit should be given to the value of an extremely effective pop sensibility like Duran Duran. They were a pop band through and through, and at that they excelled and their hits remain indelibly, durably appealing long after their fluffy hairstyles entered fashion extinction. Duran Duran were probably the best major pop band of the 80’s; in their heyday the were leaders in misguided fashion, teenybop idols, tabloid fixtures and, of course, chart-toppers. So fashion were they, that they not only earned a reputation for their cutting-edge videos, which they filled with comely models in various states of undress, but went so meta as to write songs about videos and the models in them. You might think it’s dumb, but I think a band known for their videos writing songs about videos to engender more videos is actually a pretty neat joke. I’m also pretty sure Girls On Film isn’t a parody and contains no signs of irony or self-awareness. They just honestly think filming girls for videos is the neatest thing. And they’re still up to it. Though their relevance in the wider world faded somewhat after grunge rendered hairspray and man-rouge obsolete, they never stopped making their videos and casting them with every supermodel they could find. In fact Duran Duran sowed the seeds for the supermodel phenomenon, being one of the first bands to cast models in their videos, combining fashion and pop music into a single glamorous fantasy. In 1997 their kinky video for Electric Barbarella, starring Myka Dunkle, Sophie Dahl, Devon Aoki and others, looked like an anachronism. Today the pendulum has swung back in favor of shiny, glamorous pop. Duran Duran’s most recent video, Girl Panic is an orgy of self-reference, starring Naomi Campbell as Simon Le Bon, alongside Cindy Crawford, Eva Herzigova, and Helena Christensen. They don’s sound a day out of Rio, and they sound like the next big thing.
Jessica Miller is a classic American face. She started out as Calvin Klein’s fit model and jumped from fitting room to runway to print, in an amazingly swift trajectory. She’s got that plasticity that a long career requires – the ability to swing from sweet to feral, wholesome to femme fatale and anywhere in between. And speaking of models, check in with my new Tumblr – ladygarfunkel.tumblr.com, which is all about models, movie stars, rockers, art and just anything I think is beautiful and glamorous.
Guess what, another Estonian! Tiiu Kuik has been around a bit longer than Karmen Pedaru. She might be familiar to you for her signature beauty spots and wispy, swan-necked elegance. How come she never smiles? Hello! She’s from Eastern Europe. Grinning like a monkey isn’t believed in over there.
After the stunning success of Carmen Kass, flocks of model hunters flew to Estonia in search of more wispy, steely blondes. Not in vain, it turns out. The similarly named Karmen Pedaru is a rising star. She has a similar effect of looking both brittle and strong that Kass has. It must be an Estonian thing – Tiiu Kuik has it too. Sometimes I complain there’s too many similar looking Eastern European girls out there taking up space on the runway. But we need them. Nobody does sullen like an Eastern European. Because we’re tough, strong, sullen bitches.
Coco Rocha (real name Mikhaila) is one of a younger wave of models who are firmly on the way to ‘super’. She’s been on top since her runway debut in 2005, and she’s become an ubiquitous face. She’s one of the few truly recognizable ones. Her face is unmistakable, she’s dynamic, she’s adorable, she’s funny, she always appears to be having a good time, sometimes she has red hair. Her hobby is Irish step-dancing. She’s super.
Now that Heidi Klum has become famous as an annoying TV person, it’s easy to forget that in her youth she had a stellar modeling career. Today Klum is known as one of the people on Project Runway, which is a show on television, and she has some kind of stupid Germanic catchphrase that she’s known for, and there’s lots of pictures in all the magazines of her and her husband Seal and their adorable children, so apparently she’s known for that too. But before that she was known for having the kind of approachable sex appeal that sits with equal comfort on the covers of both men’s and women’s magazines. And she had a real knack for wearing bikinis.
partying with Nina Hagen
Anne Vyalitsyna – Anne V. for short – has become known as a new generation pinup. She got the kind of high-fashion sex-bomb career once enjoyed by the likes of Heidi Klum. She’s definitely known as a body. Not The Body – that nickname’s retired – but still an outstanding body. It’s not that she’s got a substantially better physique than other models, but she’s so exuberantly, vividly athletic, just so darn healthy that she makes everyone else look wan. But she not just in the bikini business – serious fashion loves her too. She can really swing it from high to low and back again.