Thursday, March 10, 2011

From Betty's Library: The Complete Guide To fashion Modeling By Bernie Lenz

The Complete Guide To Fashion
Modeling By Bernie Lenz

I love this book! It is a throwback to modeling in a time were you had to have more going for you than just the ability to stay stick thin and stomp down a runway with a blank stare to loud techno music. Her book (the 1969 version) teaches you things like the "Model Stance",  "The 3/4 French Turn", how to sit , walk and stand. There is even a chapter how to plan  a fashion show ( I guess the the Women's Clubs did alot of them for charity fundraisers back then). In planing a Fashion show I found alot of the information still very relevant.  This excerpt is taken from a 2001 interview on Ms. Lenz:

Using money from her fashion show jobs, she opened Lenz Model Agency, sharing a studio with a dance instructor on Charleston Boulevard near Maryland Parkway.

At first she taught three classes a week. More importantly, she booked her models for convention shows to act as hostesses, present new products and put on fashion shows. Business boomed.

She soon moved the business with its 12 employees to a 3,000-square-foot facility at 13th Street and Charleston Boulevard and offered 14 classes.

In 1962, Lenz began putting on a weekly fashion show at the El Cortez Hotel, using the empty lounge room. The six downtown stores provided the clothes and the models would drop pre-printed cards on patron's tables which told where the items could be purchased.

"We'd do it every Friday and Saturday when the lunch crowd came in for the buffet," she recalled. "People could eat, watch the show and be out in an hour. We even had an accordion player to provide music."

Lenz acted as commentator for the shows and re-vamped her agency to include other aspects of the business like fashion merchandising classes. All the time, she kept taking modeling jobs.

She also made modeling manuals and her standards were used in 40 agencies across the country. Her book, "The Complete Book of Fashion Modeling," was published in 1969 and its first printing sold 50,000 copies. It earned her an interview on the popular Merv Griffin Show.

Her career began when she was in high school in Los Angeles, where it seemed everybody wanted to be an actor. (Mickey Rooney was a classmate.) Sure, there were other pretty girls, but Lenz stood out.

At just under 5 feet 10 inches and "skinny as a rail" people often stopped her to ask if she modeled. Her mother made her take secretarial courses just in case, but by age 15, Lenz was doing runway fashion shows for specialty stores.

"Women wore girdles back then and they were hot," she said, chuckling at the memory. "I could feel the sweat running down my legs and I thought the audience could see it. Oh, dear."

Besides runway work, she got plenty of jobs with buyers and designers in L.A.'s garment district. She also appeared in magazine and newspaper ads. So many of them, in fact, that the copies took up too much space in her apartment and she tossed them.

After a stint in San Francisco, Lenz moved to New York City in 1948 and signed with the John Robert Powers Agency. Some of the designers she worked with included Dior, Balenciaga, Chanel, Irene, Wragge, Trigére, Rentner, Adrian and Georgia Bullock.

Lenz spent 25 years as a model, stopping in 1965, and sold her agency in 1981.

"I'm glad my mother made me take business courses," she said. "It helped me run my agency and (keep up with changes). I've had a wonderful career.

If you want all the delish information  that includes information like how to model in a tea room setting (Squeak!), get the 1969 edition as the 1982 and 1988 editions remove that information. You can find copies on amazon for a song!

I guaruntee you will be able to do a 3/4 French Turn and European Turn in no time!