Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Rewind forty years...

...or why I moved from London to Paris!

An email from a lovely lady in the south of France is the trigger for this post. Back in the day the gent pictured on the left was her boyfriend and my employer. For perhaps two years I handled Art Direction tasks for The Marlowe Press. The website I was alerted to presents the full archive of Peter Marlowe's output over several decades. The speciality was the publication of promotional materials for models and their agencies, so called 'head-sheets' and 'composite cards'.

It was a nice business to bein when we were all forty years younger! Peter gives a perspicacious overview of the history of the modeling business here, succinct and well worth a read. In it he speaks of John Casablancs....

The biggest contribution that agents have made in the last 40 years is their upward pressure on model's rates and one man was at the forefront of this, John Casablancas the founder of Elite, who challenged the American agencies by replicating his Paris based firm and setting up Elite Model management on their New York turf. This not only led to the model wars of the 1980's but also went a long way towards raising the price a client had to pay for a model to sell the dream.

The composite card reproduced at the top of this post has for me special significance. Ann Schaufuss was one of the only twelve models represented by the Elite agency when it first opened. The Elite logo was my creation (albeit a complete rip-off from a Paris car hire firm!) and the overall design of the card was my effort to make a very 'Helvetica' statement.

It also spurred me to leave Peter's firm, decamp to the continent and, based in Paris and Zurich, go into competition with The Marlowe Press. Our argument... I had two wondeful partners... was that with high quality Swiss printing we could win a share of the market that Peter dominated. And for about three years this was true.

Only three years, but hundreds of composites for amazing girls. Thousands of happy memories.

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