joi, 9 septembrie 2010

High Fashion Dominates 'America's Next Top Model' Cycle 15

ver mile-high Bellinis and crisp bacon, model-turned-mogul Tyra Banks and Mr. Fashion himself, Andre Leon Talley, told a roomful of journalists why 'America's Next Top Model' was still intriguing after 15 go-rounds.

This season, the CW staple is all about high fashion, with top couture photographers a la Patrick DeMarchelier and designers like Diane Von Furnstenberg, Zac Posen and Roberto Cavalli helping to judge 14 aspiring models competing for a spread in Italian Vogue and a six-figure endorsement deal.

"Tyra really raised the bar this year," said Talley, drenched in black – leather trench coat, polo, shorts and driving shoes (Prada, Polo, Juicy Couture, Tods). Banks, whose Bankable Productions pulled in more than $30 million in 2009, is a producer of the show, which has definite aspirations this season.

"It's very important the core be high fashion," explains Banks, also donning black in a fitted dress, black pumps and slick chignon. "So I see her Paris, I see her in Milan, I see [the winner] in Italian magazines and French magazines and British magazines."

The duo explained that the relationship with Italian Vogue started about two years ago when the all-black Italian Vogue hit stands in summer of 2008. "It was all about black models, and Tyra had been photographed by Steven Meisel. And she and Franca [Sozzani] got together and started this working relationship and friendship," relayed Talley.

Of Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani, Banks says, "She really wanted to take Vogue Italia to the American audience and she felt like she had a strong connection." That connection may be green – the all-black Vogue sold like fire in the United States.

Banks, who ended her talk show last year, told us that she is signed to IMG models, the same agency that is giving the Cycle 15 winner a one-year modeling contract.

"I recently signed with IMG – not as a model – but to do things with my company, Bankable, to connect with certain sponsors," Banks explains. She also said she was working on a work of fiction, called 'Modelland,' about a school where one has to be "perfect to get in," but four friends somehow buck the trend and still manage to be successful.

"It pushes my message of expanding the definition of beauty," says Banks.

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