Author(s): Robert Lacey
A revealing, no-holds-barred portrait of the legendary Eileen Ford—the entrepreneur who transformed the business of modeling and helped invent the celebrity supermodel.Working with her husband, Jerry, Eileen Ford created the twentieth century’s largest and most successful modeling agency, representing some of the fashion world’s most famous names—Suzy Parker, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Lauren Hutton, Rene Russo, Christie Brinkley, Jerry Hall, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell. Her relentless ambition turned the business of modeling into one of the most glamorous and desired professions, helping to convert her stable of beautiful faces into millionaire superstars.Model Woman chronicles the Ford Modeling Agency’s meteoric rise to the top of the fashion and beauty business, and paints a vibrant portrait of the uncompromising woman at its helm in all her glittering, tyrannical brilliance. Outspoken and controversial, Ford was never afraid to offend in defense of her stringent standards. When she chose, she could deliver hauteur in the grand tradition of fashion’s battle-axes, from Coco Chanel to Diana Vreeland—just ask John Casablancas or Janice Dickinson. But she was also a shrewd businesswoman with a keen eye for talent and a passion for serving her clients.Drawing on more than four years of intensive interviews with Ford and her intimates, associates, and rivals, as well as exclusive access to agency documents and memorabilia, 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 center.
"As glamorous and gossipy as one could wish." -- Slate "Ford's status as a controversial, demanding figure isn't ignored in 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.'" -- New York Observer "A high-powered page-turner." -- Daily Beast "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." -- 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 "A fascinating look at the woman who, perhaps more than anyone, shaped our ideas of what it means to be a sophisticated American beauty." -- People "Culled from countless hours of interviews... 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." -- Kirkus "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." -- BookPage "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." -- Booklist
Robert Lacey is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty books, including The Queen; Ford: The Men and the Machine; The Year 1000; and Inside the Kingdom. He lives in London.