Eileen Ford and the Business of Beauty
MODEL WOMAN is the heroic story of an extraordinary woman. Best-selling author Robert Lacey casts Eileen Ford as a female icon of our times who, with her husband Jerry Ford, invented the modern model-agency business and nurtured such major talents as Suzy Parker, Lauren Hutton, Christie Brinkley, Beverly Johnson, Jerry Hall, Brooke Shields and Kim Basinger, as well as stars like Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington who still dominate the model scene.
With his customary reliance on original, first-hand source material, Lacey will draw on exclusive access to Eileen Ford and her papers to offer the inner, emotional narrative of an extraordinary public life, together with a cultural history of that fascinating and surprisingly recent era when fashion and beauty became big business.
The book will incorporate interviews from a glamorous cast of characters, including many of the models mentioned above, as well as Rene Russo, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Cheryl Tiegs and former protégé John Casablancas, Eileen's fierce protagonist in the notorious "Model Wars."
US Publisher: HarperCollins Inc (June 16, 2015)
“A fascinating look at the woman who, perhaps more than anyone, shaped our ideas of what it means to be a sophisticated American beauty.”
“A treat for biography lovers and those interested in the business side of beauty. Fashion mavens will appreciate Eileen’s musings on the rise of supermodels as bona fide celebrities.”
“Unputdownable ... left me not only full of admiration for her achievements but also rather liking her....Lacey weaves riveting narratives into his account of the life of Ford ... with an eye for detail and juicy anecdotes.”
Penelope Tree, Financial Times
“Exhaustively and painstakingly researched, yielding a biography that serves as a testament both to this woman’s professional prowess as well as her personal life….In the world of fashion-related biographies, this surely ranks up there with some of the best.”
New York Journal of Books
“Culled from countless hours of interviews with talent scouts, bookers, celebrities, and Ford herself, Lacey diligently maps the agency’s explosive success and skillfully intertwines the glitz and cutthroat melodrama of the modeling world with Ford’s shrewd, intimidating business strategies, uncanny vision, and ability to merge beauty with fame…. A briskly written, unapologetically frank portrait of “the empress of American modeling—a mixture of Mary Tyler Moore and Barbara Walters, but tougher.”
“Ms. Ford’s status as a controversial, demanding figure isn’t ignored in Mr. Lacey’s portrait of one of the hardest working women in fashion. The juicy details of a tell-all are met with the nuance of a memoir in this portrait of the woman he recalls as the ‘matriarch of modeling.’ … Heavyweights like Richard Avedon, Diana Vreeland, and Grace Coddington traipse in and out of this book’s pages, but Ms. Ford is the biography’s headstrong star.… Mr. Lacey’s vivid interviews include chats with colorful industry insiders.”
New York Observer
“In the fascinating Model Woman, author Robert Lacey paints Ford as an intriguing paradox….A wholly entertaining, insightful and slightly bitchy look inside the moneyed world of modeling.”
“An intensive look at a highly competitive business, with fabulous turf battles and clashing egos among the biggest names in fashion.... A compelling portrait of a savvy businesswoman who transformed the modeling business.”
“One of the 10 best fashion reads of 2015.”
New York Examiner
“A high-powered page-turner . . .”
“…as glamorous and gossipy as one could wish...powerful messages about how we Americans see ourselves, or wish we could see ourselves.”
Slate Book Review
“This correspondent, who during those intoxicating times was a fashion editor for British Vogue, can vouch that Lacey presents an accurate and fascinating insight into the trajectory of both the glamourous and treacherous world of the Supermodel and her maker...This is a compelling summer read for fashionistas…”
"Robert Lacey weaves an unforgettable tale of a determined entrepreneur and the empire she built—a story of beauty, ambition, business, and popular culture as powerful and complex as the woman at its centre."
Address, Journal of Fasihon Criticism
"A fascinating insight into the life of a woman who reached the top in the elusive industry of beauty”.
Women’s Weekly New Zealand