Status Update: Benetton's Next Top Models

Peter Davis

"I am trying to figure out which of these people are the models," queried a guest at Alessandro Benetton's party at The Top of the Standard for the twenty winners (from 19 countries) of Benetton's first global online casting call called "It's My Time." That was the point of the global model search which attracted over 65,000 applicants - beauty comes in every color and size. There was no Tyra Banks-style judging during this contest. The twenty winners mixed with New York boldfacers like artists Andres Serrano and Kehinde Wiley and social staples Zani Gugelmann, Olympia Scarry and Kate Schelter. All twenty models/winners are staying at chez Standard while in town shooting the Autumn/Winter 2010/2011 campaign with photographer Josh Olins that will appear on billboards, in magazines and on the Internet. "Many people say that printed media is a thing of the past, and that the web is the only source of information today, that an irreparable chasm has opened up between traditional and digital culture," Benetton told me. "I found myself wondering whether the company could bring together all these apparently contradictory elements and create a big melting pot of old media with new web-communication trends, the young with the not-so-young, the online with the offline, the traditional with the innovative. I would love to see a model reflecting the democracy of the web and the democracy of fashion, a fashion starting from the people, an idea of style and beauty that imposes itself and is not imposed."

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