john casablancas collage

His reputation had its ups and its downs, but nobody can deny that John Casablancas was an icon in the fashion modeling world.

In the late 1970s, when John founded Elite Models, the big players were Wilhelmina Cooper and Eileen Ford, both of whom acted motherly towards their models, chaperoning them around the city and making sure they didn’t get into trouble. John Casablancas encouraged models to live glamorous public lives in the fast lane.

Wilhelmina and Ford groomed some great models, but Casablancas created star personalities and big names. He created Supermodels.

When John sold his share of Elite Models in 2000 the agency had 500 models on four continents with bookings of over $100 million per year. Models had become commodities and modeling a big business, in large part to his marketing vision.

Read More: NY Times Obituary – John Casablancas, modeling visionary, dies at 70.