London Fashion Week Diary: Premier Model Management’s Carole White

Taylor Hill, Damaris Goddrie, Luna Bijl, every Fashion Week brings with it the hot new faces on the catwalk, but who are the people mentoring the star models of the season? We went down to iconic modelling agency Premier Model Management to meet its co-founder and fashion powerhouse, Carole White. Outspoken, inspirational, and the woman behind the success of supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer and Linda Evangelista (to name a few), what better person to ask what really goes on at a model agency during London Fashion Week? Read on for a day in the life of the UK’s modelling matriarch.

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8am – “My team arrives at the office and the phones start ringing immediately. It’s the casting directors calling saying “I want this girl, I want that girl,” and then we have to work out if it’s the right show for her to be doing, or if it’s clashing with any other shows. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle.”

10am – “For this LFW we’ve remodelled and refocused our new faces with the help of Paul Rowland (who used to be head of Ford agency in New York.) Together we’ve been pushing 21 new girls which has been so exciting. We redo their hair, teach them how to walk properly, restyle their outfits. It’s our job to make sure each girl wears the right clothes for castings. But of course it’s been raining this week and no-one looks as good in the rain!”

12pm – “The girls are arriving in from the New York shows straight from the airport. They’re usually exhausted and have blisters from walking in high heels. We sit them down and chat to them, give them some food (and Compeed plasters!) or send them off for massages and yoga. It’s our job to look after them, especially the younger girls.”

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1pm – “There’s always the hot girl of the season. This time it’s Luna Bijl (pictured above), who walked in the Topshop Unique show. She’s only 18 and has already been on the cover of French Vogue twice, which is wonderfully unusual. We’re so excited, and really proud of her. She’s just stunningly beautiful, and weirdly very sexy which doesn’t always quite translate in high fashion. That sexy look is having a moment.”

2pm – “Music gets my team through the day. And we eat a lot of takeaways. Every day of Fashion Week the big decisions are Wagamamma? Pizza? There’s lots of wine too, that definitely helps! We have big characters in our team, they’re very funny. Then there’s Aidan who’s our Senior booker who’s very calm. Then me, the nagger! Like a conductor in the orchestra.”

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4pm – “The pace of our day is quick; you definitely get more done because of how much has to be done. But my most annoying thing is when casting directors don’t take risks with new faces. We know what we’re doing, and we know when we have a special girl, but sometimes you have to wait a long time for that girl to break through – and then it’s like, we told you so! It’s incredibly frustrating.”

5pm – “Towards the end of the day the phones start ringing all over again. The castings are over but now it’s time to organise fittings and second rounds of castings. A girl might have just got back to her hotel after a long day and have to come back to see a booker or designer quite late.”

2am – “My team finishes at around 2am, and they’re back at 8am the next day. It’s a tough time, but exciting all the same. And when it’s all over I give everyone a ‘sleep day’ to recover! It’s a great job though. It’s like working in Cinderella land – you can find a girl and completely change her life. It’s quite magical really.”

Want to read a designer’s take on LFW? We asked Henry Holland to keep his own LFW diary >