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THE SHIFT: PARIS TAKES NEW YORK

Several Paris-based agencies are  re-positioning their  ships to head straight to the big bounty markets of NYSeveral Paris-based agencies are re-positioning their ships to head straight to the big bounty markets of NY

There is a certain clever big brand agency that has owners who admonish their staff to stay relevant when it comes to global financial news. That staff is required to be aware of all that dull matter as seen in the gray margins of...”The Financial Times”…“The Wall Street Journal” ..”Bloomberg News” .

They are encouraged to contemplate the meaning of all those terms esoteric to an industry more in tune with the details of who is marketing the current cult T-shirt , as seen in the meta-cool street-style blogs.

That “euro-crisis”, what could it mean? “S&P dips”., “ESM bonds”…it’ll all blow over right? If it does, will things return to what they were in 2007, when being middle class meant wanton access to credit, wildly disposable income and a new bag every month?

The relationship between consumer spending indexes and modeling industry rates might seem like a odd thing to cross-reference . However, like any other business, that industry finds itself riding on the crest and fall of a global economy that has become as unpredictable as the design direction at Balenciaga.

There is one clear consequence of that cliff-hanger of a euro-crisis rumbling through the Paris agency scene , right this minute and the rumbles now reverberate all the way to New York. As model rates plunge through-out Europe, several Paris-based agencies have been rethinking their operations and re-positioning their ships to head straight for the big bounty markets of Manhattan. A New York office has longed seemed the apex of the industry’s financial windfall but now it might well be a vital means to survival, globally. New York has always been a deep market, with everything from power bookings at Vogue through to a glut of catalog and e-commerce gigs, which while not massive in terms of rates, acquires value through the theory of the volume booking.

That deep vein has carried not only the big flagships powering back and forth on the strength of their 300 model board, it has also sustained those tiny agencies that populate the lower end of the spectrum. Whether by showroom division, or a regular stint with loyal sportswear client there has always been a means for survival for the monolithic and the miniscule.

But what will it mean when there is an insurgency of modeling companies swooping out of the unstable European scene to try to eat their way into the American market share?

In Paris, the constant hiss was that a lot of new players have already been docked in place. Of course there’s the long rumored out-post of Elite Paris, allegedly to be titled “Societe” said to be on the brink of activation. If that is the case, will staffing Societe mean cannibalizing the employees (and board) of a pre-existing big ship? And furthermore, will the strategy on hand be to shift every girl with an Elite Paris base around the axis of Societe? As such it would represent a huge realignment of the NY agency scene, even as smaller players like Silent Paris are also rumored to be repositioning itself into New York after the recents conflicts with its earlier off-shoot, Silent New York.

If there were but two new variables out of Paris that would indeed be a hiss, but when word surfaces that two more entities are shopping for New York offices, then what you have is a roar. If not for money, then also much of this new market thrust is for control. For years the inability to define the booking path of models placed in New York has irked many a Paris agency. There has always been the phenomena of girls absconding to New York (and fleeing those high French tax rates) and becoming unavailable for those lesser money bookings in Europe, all the time lowering the revenue flow. One Paris agency owner, under the security of anonymity, divulged that a New York presence was essential for his business but that moving across the New York chess-board is not as easy as it might seem at first glance. “ Do I need a New York office? Absolutely. The European market is going down . Only in the US ( except for the Kate Mosses of the world ), you can get the same prices as before. But then I think it' s hard to compete with long lasting experienced NY agents, if you don’t know well the key players “ , disclosed our agency maven. And that means that an experienced New York agent, with a legacy of connections, contacts and alliance, has more value than ever before. Given the scarcity of the population that is.

As such, all the big ships have battened down the hatches in an effort to lock up their blue chip girls even as they lock down the power bookers. It effectively guards against an interloper trying to create that fast forward management company. Purchase a raft of campaign stars, add marquee booker to the formula import a client list from the competition , et voila! The Instant Agency.

Ultimately, every relevant New York brand in this business has arrived at its power position through a long evolution. This is an industry conceptualized and given its business language, some 70 years ago by the husband and wife team of Eileen and Jerry Ford. There was nothing instant there and nothing instant about John Casablancas’ glamorization of the business of the model in the 70’s. It was a process, albeit a ruthless one but once successful, the windfall was phenomenal. Casablancas and Marie succeeded in their great vision...rendering the GIRL the priceless commodity on the fashion market. Out of that breathlessness of the Elite years, came the unlikely spark in the form of the rebellion that was the downtown driven ethos of Paul Rowland’s Women. And of course, as a reaction to that heedless (and successful) ethos came the corporate power grid of today’s market leader, IMG.

But the times and the clients of this time are what will forge the next business evolution of the modeling industry. The past management formulas were wired into their place and time, shaped of course, by the economic context. Will Paris succeed in taking New York or should New York’s stalwarts hold the ground, in that fray? One thing is sure... the management company that best succeeds in interpreting and addressing what the fashion market really needs at this moment , is the one that will best capitalize on the turnovers and turmoil roiling through the boards right now.

Will Jan 2013 witness a whole lot of girls with a new body of agency credits to their name? Those are the signals. A volatile and unpredictable industry shifts one more time. But ultimately, that strange vocabulary of money , as parsed in “The Economist” will shape the final word on the matter.

To my understanding

This "new" agency from Elite Paris is going to be a joint with another major NYC player and the shifts and moves have already started.

I must say though, there are a hell a lot of agencies in NYC and there are way too many damn random girls. I remember looking at this past season's show packages on models.com and NYC had the most submitted by agencies and there are even more than that...

Marlilyn!

Marlilyn!

Who the hell says there's

Who the hell says there's money in New York though? That's the biggest illusion. New York agencies are scrambling for money from overseas clients anyway. And scraping together dotcom bookings. New York might be a better money market but it sure ain't an easy market . Unless you're Wilhelmina or Ford with plus and children's and fit and all that . So good luck!

Spring ahead...

Pun intended. Can't but to wonder if the arrival of Spring Studios also signals a global takeover over what seems to be a stagnant NY creative pool. As a photographer I think it's an exciting prospect to have a more diverse vision than what currently prevails in this fair metropolis.

Marilyn and DNA did it

Marilyn and DNA did it successfully before. Why not? By the way is the whole Marilyn team going to Societe? Who 's going to Marilyn then? Eric DuBois?

'Who the hell says there's'

DNA were not originally a Parisian agency, the owner David was a formerly a booker in Paris and then came to NY and started a 'D' level agency called 'Partners' that was born out of a 'D' list agency called 'Now'.
Metropolitan did survive for several years back in the 90's when they had Claudia Schiffer and Eva Herzigova at their peak but after those models left it all went kaput, A trendy Belgian (nearly Parisian) 'boutique' with 'cool' girls called 'Vision' came and went real quick and there are a couple of others who I just cant think of at the moment.
IMHO in order to really survive in the NY market I totally agree with the author of the 'Who the hell says there's' post as unless your a major full service agency it's just too hard to make the rent. Gone are the days of 'Boutiques' making pay- Boutiques are weak.

Soul is making pay ! And it

Soul is making pay ! And it boutique boots. Don't get that twisted. Most of those full service agencies are so burdened with debt you might be surprise.

Boo teek

Boutiques are a left over of the pre internet generation, they were vanity shops at best, they dont make the money needed to pay staff or rent or pay models on time- and that's a fact! It's all about full service major agencies that can supply what a client needs when they want it with no attitude or time wasting bookers trying to be fabulous. Paul Rowland is a great example, he had the trendiest agency in the world with 'Women' and now is at the old girl called 'Ford'. It's all about Models getting payed, clients being serviced and just getting jobs booked so we all can move onto the next project. Yes it does impress if your girl does IT Vogue with Steven but at the end of the day , if we cant book her for a decent $$ job that wont hurt her-we will move onto an agency that will give us someone else and that's why 99.999999% I will always buy/book talent from a major agency such as IMG, Next or Ford.
If this major new agency from Paris comes to town it may be welcomed as long as they can service clients..
At the end of the day- it is NOT about the models or agencies, it's about those that employ, we run the show.

What is up with all these

What is up with all these old and bitter bookers just jumping from agency to agency year after year. No wonder nobody wants to be a Booker anymore. The last thing any smart kid wants to do is work at a modeling agency . People from good schools don't dream of getting a job at a modeling agency. That's why you're still talking about yesterday's news like they matter anymore. It's the extinction of the dinosaurs all over again.

What is up with all these

These 'old and bitter bookers' actually play a pivotal part in the industry and pretty much direct and manage careers of models that earn millions of $$, they turn everyday wannabees into international brands and keep it all kosher. What you see in the magazines is a demonstration of their work, experience and skill put into play. You sound like a disgruntled little person that hasn't had any luck in getting a job at a model agency. It's so important that anyone entering the industry knows the history and yesterdays news is very relevent when it comes to being a 'Booker/agent/manager', as in any job you need to know your shit, and the history is part of it.
Yes bookers switch agencies a lot as do Football players to another team or a Doctor to another surgery, if the price is right. It's about the $$ at some point and a lot of bookers get paid a lot of serious money. Get a grip little one, do your homework, learn the business and study the history/yesterdays news. Maybe then you may have a chance at getting a job or an internship. But first you need to grow some balls as your bitterness smells of rejection as well as a lack of-balls.

Hmm . Models who earn

Hmm . Models who earn millions.

Gisele :IMG
Heidi Klum:IMG
Kate Moss:IMG
Daria:IMG
Lara:IMG
Carolyn:IMG
Candice:IMG
Adriana:Marilyn
Alessandra:DNA
Natalia:DNA

So Ivan Bart, David Bonnouvrier and Chris Gay are the ONLY agents worth all this ego and arrogance.
Joel and Faith can join the list. They're serious business people.

Everybody else in this business is a fake, a liar, a joke and pretending .

Ha ha wait until Elite Paris

Ha ha wait until Elite Paris starts pulling their girls left right and center. That's going to be fun.

Taste is a dictatorship.

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