After 50 Years, Wilhelmina Is Celebrating Decades Of Beauty

Photo: Naomi Sims, 1969, © Stan Shaffer.
The fashion industry has come a long way to redefine its once-stale concept of beauty, into one that is more inclusive than ever before. That doesn't mean the industry is by any means perfect, and despite the work that remains, the future still looks awfully gorgeous. After all, fashion's constant pursuit of beauty is what keeps the industry moving forward.
A key component of remapping the industry's beauty blueprint has been largely facilitated by the shift in modeling agencies, which have quickly adjusted to meet the increasing demand for a more comprehensive representation of beauty. Wilhelmina, one third of the holy trinity of modeling agencies — which include the legendary Elite and Ford model managements — is celebrating its past and looking towards its future with a new book, Wilhelmina: Defining Beauty. While the model-themed coffee table book is one of the first of its kind — and oh are the pictures divine — it serves as a time capsule of what the industry used to look like, and proofs just how much they influenced and shaped the industry as it stands today.
Across 240 pages, Wilhelmina: Defining Beauty celebrates the agency that was founded by Wilhelmina Cooper in 1967. Starting out with only three women, Wilhelmina would go on to represent some of the most influential and recognizable faces in the business, launching several icons along the way. Women like Naomi Sims, Anjelica Huston, Beverly Johnson, Patti Hansen, and Whitney Houston among others, all got their start at the famed agency. It now boasts a roster of over 2,700 models worldwide. Accompanied by essays penned by fashion journalist Eric Wilson, with a forward by Hansen herself, the book uses photographs from over the years to answer the age old question: What is beauty?
Perusing the the book will tell you that, sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but also, that beauty has no limits. "Who you are and what you stand for is what makes you beautiful," Wilhelmina CEO Bill Wackermann said in a press release. "Wilhelmina is proud to continue to play a role in helping define modern beauty," he added, "And that's why it continues to be a leader in the modeling industry today." Check out some snapshots from the book ahead, and be sure to snag yourself a copy. You can't miss it. But seriously (you'll see what we mean).

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