And now to the MBFWA Spring/Summer 2013 show pack from IMG Models Australia. A collaboration between the agency, Sydney-based collage artist and model (repped by IMG Models Australia) Mason Mulholland and graphic designer/photographer Mitchell McLennan, the pack of 57 cards comes in a smart, white laser-cut perspex box. Thirty seven of the names are definitely in town for MBFWA, with the others (including Gemma Ward and Miranda Kerr) just there for promotional purposes, but theoretically available for the event by special request.
We did get a chuckle out of the intriguing cover graphic: a mashup of images of an international runway show (with Scott ‘The Sartorialist’ Schuman visible in the front row) and a grandiose Baroque ceiling fresco, complete with cherubs - with the initials “IMG” appearing through the clouds like God.
Since the agency opened its doors in July last year IMG Models Australia has changed the face of the Australian modelling industry, dramatically ramping up the competition and poaching some big names from other agencies (Miranda Kerr, Nicole Trunfio and Gemma Ward, among others), as well as agency staff and even the agency affiliation for Australia’s Next Top Model – which was originally linked with Priscillas and later, Chic Management.
The top-rating Australian reality show has proven to be the most successful of the Next Top Model franchises in terms of springboarding models to the international runway circuit (notably Alice Burdeu, Amanda Ware, Montana Cox and Cassi van den Dungen). To further strengthen its imprimatur on AusNTM, IMG Models sent David Cunningham and Jeni Rose, its New York- and Paris-based vice presidents of development, down to Sydney in January for the interstate audition roadshow of this year’s show, which is currently filming in Sydney.
Frockwriter can reveal that not only will Cunningham and Rose be back down in Sydney for next month’s MBFWA, which is of course owned by IMG Fashion, they will be joined by IMG Models' senior vice president and managing director, Ivan Bart, who will be in town for several weeks.
If the chic didn’t hit the fan at last year’s MBFWA – with one agency accused of stitching up the competition with its relentless "Chic exclusives", only to then lose its general manager Danielle Ragenard to head up IMG Models Australia - stand by to see what goes down this year between the arch rivals.
The gloves were already off before last week’s news that Miranda Kerr did not renew her David Jones ambassadorship - arguably the single biggest modelling contract in this market, estimated to be worth over A$1million. Although signed in Australia to IMG Models, Kerr is personally managed by Aleen Keshishian of the LA-based Brillstein Entertainment Partners and frockwriter understands the latter may have helmed the DJs negotiations. The DJs contract went in the end to Jessica Gomes and Montana Cox, both of whom are represented in Australia by Chic - Kerr's previous Australian mother agent, before she jumped ship to IMG Models Australia last year as the agency's first client.
Amusingly, Cox is represented in all markets outside Australia by IMG Models. Gomes used to be repped by IMG Models in New York, but is now with Women Direct in that city, as well as several other international agencies.
The big questions for now:
Will Gemma Ward make an appearance on the MBFWA runways?
Overnight, Ward’s IMG Models Australia showcard, along with Kerr’s, garnered some viral momentum after they were Instagrammed by Sydney PR agency Mother and Father PR.
At this stage it is unlikely, we hear, that Ward will make any runway appearances during MBFWA. Various strategic “front row” sorties are more likely.
When did IMG Models Australia start representing men?
There is as yet no official men’s division, the agency is merely “managing talent” according to the agency.
Will Bart, Cunningham and Rose be involved in some capacity in the filming of Australia’s Next Top Model, which will still be shooting at the time of MBFWA?
A possibility apparently.
Will IMG Models Australia throw a big bash to officially launch the agency at the event?
Here is IMG Models Australia’s show pack for MBFWA. It includes a number of internationals girls who are signed to IMG Models worldwide, from countries such as the US, Russia, Holland, Sweden, Germany and Ireland, most of whom have never previously appeared at the event. They include brand new faces who are 'in development', such as Kim Riekenberg (Germany), Danique Grosjean (Holland) and Diana Silchenko (Russian).
As for IMG Models’ new Australians and New Zealanders at this year’s event, they include new Sydney face Astrid Holler who, according to IMG Models, was scouted on the street by VogueAustralia’s Christine Centenera (but who Chadwick Models claims was originally spotted in April 2012 by booker Jaime McHugh at Sydney's Broadway Shopping Centre, before being signed by the agency the following month, only to depart for IMG Models on March 6th).
IMG's other new-to-MBFWA faces include several local names who have previously made appearances on frockwriter's 'New Faces' series:
Adele McKeen, Adelaide
Amelia Schubert, Adelaide
April Tiplady, Adelaide
Ceci Hardy, Adelaide
Chris Noffke, Perth
Ella Verberne, Auckland
Jacob Hankin, Sydney
Jazmine Hikaka, Brisbane
Katie Holcroft, Auckland
Laura Nicholson, Perth