'America’s Next Top Model': Can short models really find work? We ask designer Yotam Solomon
Last week on "America's Next Top Model," L.A.-based designer Yotam Solomon’s designs were featured in the first elimination challenge. Just back from New York Fashion Week, Solomon is a rising star in the design world. Since graduating from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, he’s one of the youngest people to show at L.A. Fashion Week, a champion of the eco-friendly design movement, and he has already impressed style's heavy hitters. "British Vogue did the most beautiful write up," he remembers. "They actually said I brought high fashion back to California. That was the biggest compliment I can ever get."
We asked him his thoughts about host Tyra Banks, who while consoling some of the eliminated shorties, er, contestants, tried to convince them they had options in modeling. (Remember she came up, um, short. She could only list two options: commercials and face modeling.)
Solomon wasn’t at the filming due to scheduling conflicts, but watched the episode and gave it his best shot: “I know that Tyra said petite models don’t have a big chance to be runway models and that’s all correct," he said.
"I myself would not hire anybody under 5 [foot] 8. But still, editorial is a huge part of the business. It’s half, actually more than half," he continued. "There’s more editorial being done than runway shows. It doesn’t have to be the Chanel runway show that you have to be in. There’s just so much else to be done."
Which girls worked his designs?
Solomon has his faves. "Erin, Kara, and Ashley stood out the most." he said. “Not only did the pieces suit their body type, but their body movement embraced these designs as well." Are there any contestants that didn't do his designs justice, Solomon flatly answered, “Yes.” He’s too much of a gentleman to name names.
In choosing his own models, Solomon said it's all about the walk. "Their walk is more important to me than facial features to be honest. It's the walk that makes the clothes. So, if you have the right body type and you walk perfectly – nothing else matters to me."
It still surprises him when contestants don't know anything about the industry. "One of the girls in last week's episode said she's never seen how a runway model walks," he said. "For me, when you want to do something, you research it. You want to know all about it. So, that to me shows somebody's not serious.”
He added, emphatically, "A lot of us work 24/7 to make what we want happen."
-- Jethro Nededog
Photo: Yotam Solomon during his Fall 2009 fashion show. Credit: Yotam Solomon