Model Woman: Eileen Ford and the Business of Beauty

Image of Model Woman: Eileen Ford and the Business of Beauty
Author(s): 
Release Date: 
June 16, 2015
Publisher/Imprint: 
Harper
Pages: 
352
Reviewed by: 

Let’s say that Robert Lacey left out very little from the life of Eileen Ford’s 92 years of life. Model Woman is 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 as ingénue, wife, mother, grandmother.

Most books of this nature tend to bore the reader with early life details that seemingly bear no importance to the subject in the big picture. In Model Woman, there is very little that is not germane, and one becomes keenly aware that her early life was very much a part of how she evolved into the “modeling mogul” she became in later life.

This is a detailed and-well documented accounting of her professional trajectory as well as a very intimate telling of her personal life. Lacey is to be commended because he has provided much more than just a snapshot of a life well lived by absorbing the reader into the life of Eileen Ford, warts and all. This is not a fluff book that only tells the reader of how great she was but it also offers the reader a chance to realize that not everyone is perfect nor do they always make the correct decisions no matter how great their eventual success.

Now, don’t get the wrong impression and think that there are no juicy tidbits here because there are plenty laced into this narrative. Not only will you “hear” them from the author but also from her competitors and former models. You will learn how and why she nicknamed the “Dragon Lady” as well as why she was so adored by so many of “girls.” You might also be interested to know that she had multiple fiancés at one time.

In the world of fashion related biographies, this surely ranks up there with some of the best due to its research and information. This is not a Wikipedia kind of read. The book is rather amusing, informative, and intimate with barely a lull in the story line.

This is a book that may require you have more than just a passing interest about the world of models and fashion. The reader must also be keenly aware that there are no tales of drugs sex and rock ’n’ roll. This is not a trashy exposé but an engrossing tale of one of its legendary pioneers.