>> THE MODELIZER —Today's summary episode of Model.Live was the season finale, and it looks like there's another season in the pipeline, presumably for the February-March 2009 string of Fashion Weeks. The episode ends with the tagline "Stay tuned for Season 2, coming in 2009" but next season's model subjects seem yet to be determined. In Madeline Kragh's goodbye video, she says that she hopes "there will be more Model.Live to come, maybe with [Cato van Ee, Austria Alcantara, and me] or maybe different models." [Bebo]
>> After a disappointing Spring 2009 runway season, Austria Alcantara saw a turn for the better when she returned home to the Dominican Republic for a couple of days. Dominicana Moda, the local Fashion Week, was going on and Austria booked 12 shows, getting the opportunity to open and close for the first time ever. She was treated like a celebrity, with applause every time she appeared on the catwalk, and as her agent, Socrates McKinney, described it, "Every single girl in the Dominican Republic wants to be like Austria." It just keeps getting better: Austria has booked her first New York campaign, and her compensation is $9,000 for three hours of work — quite a hefty salary for a girl from a country where her agent says the average salary is $200-$300 a month.
Next week for the season finale, we'll see how Cato van Ee is doing — and she's expected to be doing well.
>> In this Madeline Kragh-centric episode of Model.Live, it's post-Fashion Week, and she's caught up in the mad cycle many models fall into: that of not being able to afford living in New York unless she's booking well-paying jobs, but not being able to book those good jobs unless she's based in New York.
For the time, she's back in New York with her boyfriend Jimmy, sleeping on couch cushions instead of a mattress and going into debt every week to her agency, IMG, who takes out money against her for housing, living costs, plane tickets, and even clothes for her to wear to go-sees. But hey, at least she's making money: she's earned more in two days during campaign season than she did in all six weeks of runway shows — and she's apparently booked a campaign with a French designer that she "loooooves." Madeline may be already dreading next Fashion Week, but she seems happy in the meantime — will Austria Alcantara be in the same high spirits post-Fashion Week? Next week we'll see.
>> As we left off Model.Live mid-Paris Fashion Week, Cato van Ee was booking everything . . . and Madeline Kragh wasn't so happy with her progress. Turns out that she did end up booking one show — Manish Arora. Manish liked Madeline so much, he asked her to close the show, her only instruction: "I want you to do whatever you want." Madeline left on a high note, ready to grow out her hair, hoping that it would allow her to book more in the future.
Austria also ended up booking one show in Paris, but her agency still isn't convinced she's ready to be a model. Although she was asked to think about sitting out a year — she's only 16 — Austria is determined, not wanting to go back to her old life that she already gave up. As for Cato, she's just worried about keeping herself at the level she's attained: "Sometimes it's harder to stay on top than get on top." So how will they do booking advertising and editorial post-Fashion Month? Next episode will hopefully tell.
>> It's Paris Fashion Week, and those frustrations that were building on Model.Live in Milan finally come to a head — at least for Madeline Kragh. Austria Alcantara seems to have given up — she gets a pep talk about confidence and then sent off to 12 castings; she aims to make 8 of them but ends up doing less: "The agency's going to kill me." Cato van Ee says that she wouldn't model at Austria's age — she didn't want to give up her childhood — but then Cato is having plenty of success with her shows and has a visit from boyfriend Simon, while Austria seems all alone — no mother or agent in sight.
And then there's Madeline, who thought everything was going so well . . . Issey Miyake and Vivienne Westwood seemed within her reach . . . and then didn't come through: "Everybody's so sorry and they love me and they're happy I'm back in Paris, but everybody wants Cato." Will everything even out? Next week's Paris Fashion Week episode will tell.
>> The third Fashion Week in for the Model.Live girls, and things start to get difficult — for Madeline Kragh and Austria Alcantara, at least. Austria went to over 30 castings for Milan Fashion Week and got nothing, except a call from a casting director to her agency IMG saying that she wasn't looking her best. Ouch. Madeline had the same troubles — she wasn't cast for any shows, and at one point got frustrated enough to tell the cameramen to stop filming. Both girls, defeated, move on to Paris early. Cato van Ee, on the other hand, scores Prada for the second season in a row — and does a little impromptu song and dance when she finds out. Will Paris be a whole new ball game, as the girls are promised? Next week, we'll find out.
>> The end of London Fashion Week nears, so where are Cato van Ee, Madeline Kragh, and Austria Alcantara? Madeline's back in New York — she got to London and was deported because she didn't have her passport stamped. Austria made it through customs, but she's already tired — and Milan and Paris are still to come. As for Cato, she's having the most success: At least seven shows this Fashion Week, and her mom even came to watch her walk at Christopher Kane. Will anyone take the biggest casting coup of all season — Prada? That's for the next episode to tell.
>> You've got to love Anna Wintour's excuse Rolodex — there's a new article in Forbes about how Vogue's publisher is using Model.Live to keep the magazine relevent — and Anna wasn't available for comment because she's "attending Fashion Weeks in Paris and Milan." Funny thing is, the article came out yesterday, and Milan Fashion Week doesn't start until Saturday . . . with Paris following after that.
But nevermind mincing details — let's look at the bigger picture. Vogue still makes its money from print ad pages, but this year's subscriptions are down — and Tom Florio, the aforementioned publisher, is worried about keeping Vogue relevent for the next generation. That's where Model.Live comes in — Florio created the show with his 16-year-old daughter in mind — without Anna Wintour's involvement: "I'm comfortable with it, because I feel that the principals of what we're doing are based on the same principals as the brand."
He says if Anna didn't like where the content was going, he would kill it, and a Conde Nast spokesperson said that Wintour understands Vogue.TV is run by the business department and stays informed about its programs. But there are a couple of concerns: Will partnering with brands like Express (which sponsors Model.Live) dilute the Vogue brand? And: If online video series produced by the business side become big moneymakers for Vogue, will Anna's sphere of influence at the company be diminished?
>> THE MODELIZER —When the last episode of Model.Live left off, it seemed like Cato van Ee might miss her flight to London. She ended up making it, but as for Madeline Kragh? Not so much. It's not that Madeline missed her flight — she just wasn't allowed entry through immigration, even though she had working papers — so now she's back in New York, biding her time until Milan. [Madeline's Bebo Blog]
>> By now, you've seen the Model.Live girls around at New York Fashion Week, but what are there final show counts? Madeline Kragh scored seven, including Shipley & Halmos and Chris Benz, Austria Alcantara also racked up seven, among them Marchesa and DKNY, and Cato van Ee, coming off a Prada exclusive last season, was optioned for nine shows, including Marc by Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Saunders. All in all, a successful outing — no one was a Karlie Kloss, who did 31 shows in her first season of New York Fashion Week, but let's let bygones be bygones. Up next, London — but will Cato even make it there?