Corduroy Issue Ten
The Model Issue
Modelresource, as I'm sure you know by now, generally sticks to writing about this country's models, but we've also been known to shine a light on other areas of the Canadian industry if we like what we see. This is one of those occasions.
"I never looked at myself as different; I just thought there's room for every woman in fashion."
"I remember after I came back to London from New York, having shot with Steven [Meisel], agencies that wouldn't even talk to me were like, 'Oh, she shot Italian Vogue!' I'm like, 'I'm still the same Alek. What's changed?' And that's when I realized there are some followers and some leaders." - Alek Wek
Peterborough, Ontario's Estella Warren
photo: Peter Ash Lee
Earlier this year I was approached by Corduroy Magazine – a publication I've been wanting to work with since I first got my hands on its lovely, pulpy stock a few years ago – to write about three of the top models of the 1990s. In all, this new issue of Corduroy has ten models, each with their own cover, each with their own photo series, each with their own documented tale.
The ten that Corduroy tapped for their covers (Alek Wek, Angela Lindvall, Erin O’Connor, Estella Warren, Eva Herzigová, Kirsten Owen, Maggie Rizer, Tatjana Patitz, Trish Goff and Yasmin Le Bon) include many of my own favourites; those that carved out an identity in the era that followed the (capital-S) Supermodels, and preceded online over-saturation.
Modelresource asked Corduroy's Toronto-based, Editor-In-Chief, Tim Chan about Issue Ten, and the motivation behind ten-models-on-ten-covers.
"I did think about what to do with my sniffer as it seemed to be the only part of me that grew for a time during my adolescence. The boobs were defiant and refused to grow – and still haven't arrived – but I'm happy to say that I'm really very fond of my curvaceous nose now." - Erin O'Connor
Dan Grant (Modelresource) Why the decision to feature top models of the 90s?
Tim Chan (Corduroy) I grew up collecting fashion magazines (and still do) and I realized that so many of these images from the 90s have stuck with me, because the models back then were so diverse and unique. In a way, you felt like you knew these models as more than just mannequins; they had personalities, stories, other passions outside the industry. It's been a while since we've seen some of these women and we were curious to know what they were up to. We wanted to catch up with them at this stage of their lives, re-introducing them to people like us and perhaps introducing them to a whole new audience.
Toronto, Ontario's Kirsten Owen
photo: Peter Ash Lee
Dan Grant How did you come to choose these particular models?
Tim Chan Well first of all, these are probably ten of our favourite models. And each of them have had really fascinating careers, spanning everything from Sports Illustrated to couture. A lot of magazines are choosing to feature "older" models again, but we wanted to pick a group of models that we haven't heard from in awhile. I mean, Tatjana Patitz lives on a ranch with horses and chickens outside of Santa Barbara - she's basically retired from the modelling world and raising her son. It was so fascinating to see this iconic supermodel in a different context.
Dan Grant How does this shoot fit with Corduroy's direction?
Tim Chan We still have our actor and musician profiles in this issue but there's definitely a stronger fashion focus. With every issue, we want to continue growing, whether it's in the design (we completely re-designed our cover and layout for this issue) or in the content. Plus, we wanted to do something special for our tenth issue, hence the ten individual covers.
"I got pregnant when I was 19. I don’t know what it’s like to be an adult and not have a child to look after." - Trish Goff
Dan Grant Can you tell me a bit about Peter Ash Lee's contribution, and where he travelled to do the ten shoots?
Tim Chan Peter's style, which has in essence become Corduroy's style, is really classic and natural. The models are used to posing and selling clothes, but we wanted to take the models out of the traditional studio environment and really see them in their own element, through Peter's portraiture. It's less about getting "the shot" and more about capturing a moment. So we either went to the models or sought out locations that represented their personalities and style. We shot Alek Wek and Trish Goff in New York, flew to London to shoot Yasmin Le Bon in her home, and found the old Victorian mansion where they shot "The King's Speech" to use for our Erin O'Connor and Eva Herzigova shoots. The space was beautiful and majestic and really reflected those same qualities in Erin and Eva.
Tatjana's shoot, like I already mentioned, took place on her ranch, and we actually incorporated her horse in some of the photos! Plus, she had this sprawling piece of property with trees and lush greenery and we tried to take advantage of that.
We went to Topanga Canyon to shoot Angela Lindvall in her home and then to a small town near San Francisco to shoot Maggie Rizer. And we met up with Kirsten Owen in Toronto, where she now resides.
My favorite shoot though was Estella Warren's. We have a friend in L.A. named Matt Winter who's an interior designer for bars and restaurants. He lives in a house with a giant backyard that's like this amazing treasure trove of vintage items and antiques. Our original plan was to just borrow some of the pieces for our shoot, but we ended up loving the space so much that we just shot Estella right there, amongst all the pieces, in the backyard. Everything you see in the photos is authentic too, from the old trailer to the bicycle - these weren't props that we made or bought for the shoot.
"One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that you have to value yourself and your career. Hold yourself to certain standards." - Maggie Rizer
Czech model Eva Herzigoá
photo: Peter Ash Lee
Dan Grant Any interesting stories coming from those shoots?
Tim Chan I already mentioned some of the shoots above. I should note that we shot Kirsten Owen on a very chilly day in Toronto! Our stylist Daniela would run over and put a jacket on Kirsten to keep her warm in between set-ups, or when we were changing film (yes, we still shoot everything on film). Maybe it's because she's this super quirky model or maybe it's because we felt creative, but the way Kirsten was wrapping herself in the jacket just seemed so cool that we ended up using it in the shoot! I think the photo turned out amazing too.
Dan Grant Where can readers get their hands on these issues?
Tim Chan Corduroy is sold across Canada at Chapters and Indigo bookstores but you can also order a copy online on our website: www.corduroymag.com.
Dan Grant How do you personally, see today's models differently from those in the 90s?
Tim Chan I think models in the 90s were allowed to show more personality and develop their own signature look and style as opposed to being these beautiful anonymous creatures. Aside from the obvious differences - like body type and proportions - I think models back then had a little more freedom to experiment with how they presented themselves to the public. Even looking at the ten models we chose, no two are alike, whereas you can sit through an entire show nowadays and not be able to differentiate between any of the girls on the runway. Also - doesn't it feel like the models in the 90s just had a lot more fun?
"Fashion has become much more of a business. There are many, many more models, many more photographers, more makeup and hair artists. And also from film to digital, when that started changing, it became a much faster industry. Everything you can see immediately. There is this instant thing, which was not part of it back then. There was a Polaroid and that was it. Fashion has become a little bit more stale and boring now." - Tatjana Patitz
Dan Grant Anything else you want to add?
Tim Chan I'd love to know what it was like for YOU to interview Erin, Kirsten and Eva. Were they nice? Intimidating? Generous? Do they seem jaded by the industry or still excited to be creative and working?
Dan Grant I've interviewed Kirsten Owen once before, over coffee, so I had the benefit of knowing she's very conservative with her words. To be honest, she's not the easiest interview, but that's part of what makes her so terribly interesting.
Eva Herzigová and Erin O'Connor both gave incredibly thoughtful, expansive answers that could have doubled their respective column inches.
None of the three seemed jaded, though it's a real credit to O'Connor's legacy that she spearheaded Model Sanctuary to improve the condition for the current generation of models.