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The Model as Muse: Costume Institute Gala 2009

Bronwyn Cosgrave Telegraph
Catwalk stars: Original waif Twiggy, left, and Anita Colby  Photo: Popperfoto/Imagno

Catwalk stars: Original waif Twiggy, left, and Anita Colby Photo: Popperfoto/Imagno

New York is celebrating 50 years of the supermodel – but where is she today, asks Bronwyn Cosgrave.

Harold Koda, co-curator of the Costume Institute at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, usually has a laconic demeanour. Last week, though, his adrenalin was pumping. “There is nothing like a room filled with models,” he enthused. “You see [them] dressed to the nines with proportions like nothing you’ve seen in your daily life.”

Koda was anticipating the arrival of the legion of supermodels at the Costume Institute for the opening party of its summer show. Entitled The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion, it is a lavish tribute to iconic models who have worked at the forefront of the industry since 1947 – widely acknowledged as the year the profession took flight because top agency Ford Models was founded then.

The pre-opening gala is renowned for its star-studded red carpet – and this year’s party, on Monday night, did Koda proud. Kate Moss dutifully served as the event’s co-chair along with Koda, Anna Wintour, American Vogue’s editor-in-chief, designer Marc Jacobs and pop star Justin Timberlake. But it was the “High Priestesses of the Body Beautiful”, as the exhibition notes refer to iconic supermodels such as Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer, that proved the main attraction.

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