Image Source: Elite Model NY
Elite Model Management is a chain modeling agency that originated from Paris, France, in 1972 with offices in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, London and Toronto (in 2018). It is a subsidiary of Elite World S.A. Elite Model Management, one of Elite World Group’s brands, The Society Management, Women Management, Supreme Management, Women 360 Management, EWG Management and Elite Model Look.
Elite Model Management was established in Paris by John Casablancas (1942-2013) and Alain Kittler in 1972. According to Casablancas, he was inspired by his then-wife, Jeanette Christiansen, former model and Miss Universe from Denmark, to open a model agency. Casablancas founded the model agency with his savings.
At inception, Elite Model opened with several high-profile models, including Ingmar Lamy; Ann Schaufuss, Clive Arrowsmith’s girlfriend; Barry Lategna’s wife, Lynn Kohlman; Paula Brenken; and Paris Plannings Emanuelle Dano. However, this period coincided with the time, boutique agencies in Paris and Milan fell out of favor with models due to payment issues. There have been incidences of Parisian and Milanese agencies owing models their pay and coercing them to return without their work visas and work. This was also the period British, and American-based chains gave models the financial security they needed.
In 1977, Casablancas opened up Elite Models in New York. During the 1980s, New York endured model wars. Despite agencies like Wilhelmina Models taking part in these wars, the primary battle was between Elite Models and Ford Models. Models such as Esmé Marshall left Elite for Ford Models. Casablancas alleged that Eileen Ford was out to get him, and Ford responded with a $32.5 million suit. Until 1977, Ford was affiliated with Elite until Elite opened up offices in New York and began stealing Ford’s models. Due to the death of Wilhelmina Cooper, models were in a panic bouncing from agency to agency. Even the highest-paid black model, Beverly Johnson, left Elite for Ford, only to return to Elite a week later.
Elite represents or has represented, numerous models including Diana Penty, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Iman, Paulina Porizkova, Kendall Jenner, Irina Shayk, Adriana Lima, Adut Akech, Adesuwa Aighewi, Carol Alt, Helena Christensen, Veronica Webb, Claudia Schiffer, Eva Herzigová, Tatiana Sorokko, Angelika Kallio, Tyra Banks, Hunter Schafer, Laura Harrier, Monica Bellucci, Anna Nicole Smith, Anna Bayle, Josephine Skriver, Heidi Klum, Camille Kostek, Jill McCormick, Karen Elson, Coco Rocha, Liu Wen, Crystal Renn, Ingrid Schram, Nina Agdal, Huggy Ragnarsson, Kelly Gale, Özge Ulusoy, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Julia Saner, Olga Puchkova, Erika Lucas, Kathryn Edwards, Marta Piekarz, Jordan Rand and Aaron Philip.
From 2007-2011, the company was the official license holder to select a representative for the United States at the Miss World pageant.
No doubt, Elite Model Management is a heavyweight in the modeling industry. It has several factors working in its favor: longevity, history, development and expansion, as well as track records and the category and class of models on its roster. Indeed, it is a dominant force to reckon with in the industry globally.