What with the shocking news of Alexander McQueen's suicide falling on the first day of the Fall/Winter 2010/2011 show season in New York, it's a little hard to navigate around fashion news at the moment. Easy to miss in the deluge: A Supermodel Betrayed, a massive feature on Gemma Ward that has just gone up on The New York Post. Two of my earlier stories (at The Sydney Morning Herald and news.com.au) are referenced in it. It contains quite a few revelations, most of them from anonymous sources, which is pretty typical of the fashion business. I mean, let's not let the truth get in the way of commercial interests. Of particular note:
An IMG insider:
"Her moment's over. She's not coming back."
The reaction of one fashion editor after spotting Ward in Chanel's Spring/Summer 2008 show, in the bikini:
"I saw her on the [Chanel] runway… I almost didn't recognize her... [she looked] big, almost bloated."
Olga Liriano, a New York City casting director and model booker, who does go on the record:
"We have a collective body dysmorphia, where we don't even know what normal is anymore, where a size 6 or 8 is overweight for a model.....there was no compassion [for Ward]".
In November 2009 IMG reportedly turned down a photo-shoot offer for Ward from Harper's Bazaar US:
"stipulating that if she were to return to its pages, it would be on the condition that she be back in modeling shape".
According to one highranking fashion mag source:
"Once these pictures are out of her being big, her brand is diminished, at least as far as her agency and the mainstream fashion world goes. Gemma's torn. In the last few years [her weight gain] was very much her f--k you to the industry. She's rebelling by putting on 30 or 40 pounds, so now going back isn't a straightforward option."
Fascinating. We have yet to check this with Harpers Bazaar - who probably also won't talk due to commercial interests - but if correct, it means that a major magazine wanted to book Ward but IMG refused unless she lost weight. Because she suddenly represents an embarrassing plus size model?
If clients are trying to book Ward, how does that equate to her moment being "over"? And if there is no interest in her, why has a mass market newspaper just published a major story on her?
Sources tell this blog that elsewhere in IMG, other parties have talked of Ward definitely making a comeback.
Frockwriter's take on this is that the industry should be extremely nervous.
Ward is sitting on a goldmine of information about the machinations at its top levels.
She's also a Scorpio. And they're known for the stings in their tails.