Apparently, people like looking at models. 

That’s something premiere modeling agency Ford rediscovered when they launched Ford Models TV in early 2007.  Post-pubescent boys and girls super into fashion (but I’m guessing mostly post-pubescent boys) clicked by the hundreds of thousands to watch Molly talk about why her zebra print bikini fits so well and see Alejandra take off, try on, and take off her clothes in a frustratingly poorly lit changing room.

Putting striking individuals with Ford contracts on camera and online gives the models a new platform for visibility and pushes the agency’s brand in front of an audience that might not be watching Tyra Banks yell at underprivileged girls who need to eat more.

Now, other staple brands of the fashion industry are starting to follow suit.  Albeit, the the designs for their online extensions are a lot more expensive. 

Contrary to the minimally produced, low-fi productions seen in Ford Models TV, Vogue magazine today launched the first eight-minute episode in the 12-part more-documentary-than-reality series Model.Live. It follows three models “as they navigate casting calls, catwalks and airports for fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris,” to a tune of $3 million, or $31,000 a minute

You can see where the money went when you watch.  It’s slick:

Vogue partered up with the IMG agency for the show, who provided the models.  There’s 19-year-old Cato from Amsterdam, 20-year-old Madeline from Indiania, and 16-year-old Austria from the Dominican Republic.  They’re all thin, cute, and seem very, very safe, foreboding no catfights, illicit drug use, or Hills-type “drama.”

Models.Live looks like a primetime special on Bravo that the network would run if they waned to project a cleaner, safer, friendlier image of the modeling world.  Perhaps Express LLC – who paid at least $1 million to be the series’ lead sponsor – wanted it that way. 

In addition to its flagship show, Vogue.TV features ancilliary series including Louise Roe dishing how to go from zero to chic in 60 seconds, a look at top designer’s collections, a trip Behind the Lens of major fashion events, an education on what trends to watch.  All videos play alongside a schmancy ad display that showcases links to buy the products being used or worn on screen. 

Everything shines with a high layer of gloss that I’m sure passed by Wintour‘s discrening eye, but that could be Vogue.TV’s biggest problem.  It’s too much like television and takes itself far too seriously, trying to display a parent-friendly modeling world in a traditional way without any of the sultry stuff that makes people want to tune in. 

If Express wants to make its money back and still not be a part of your-average-reality-tv show, it should at least think about getting Cato, Madeline, Austria, and others into some intimates.  I hear people like looking at models a lot more when they’re wearing those.

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