Wide-legged pants, pantsuits and shoulder pads

Documentary a history lesson on the height of Winnipeg’s modeling industry

In the old days: Winnipeg’s modelling industry was so bustling, it was common for models to book several jobs in a day and run between photo shoots and fashion shows at Eaton’s and The Bay. Winnipeg Film Group

Modeling in Winnipeg? Say what?

Though hard to imagine, Winnipeg was once a microcosm of a fashion capital with a thriving modeling industry.

During that time, there was a group of models that were Winnipeg’s own local celebrities. With the words “the models are here,” clubs would open their back doors for the local stars.

The Glory Days of Modeling in Winnipeg is a documentary by Adriana O’Neil and Alf Kollinger that documents the modeling industry of Winnipeg in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

The 34-minute doc features interviews with models, ad writers, fashion photographers and stylists from the local modeling industry. The film tells the story of their glory days.

Most of the documentary centres around interviews with former models as they reminisce about their past.

Today, modeling in Winnipeg is seen as part-time work and those who have true potential must move to New York, London or Milan.

In the ‘70s and ’80s, women were able to make a living as models, booking several jobs in a single day and running between photo shoots and fashion shows at Eaton’s and the Bay.

The representation the former models provide of the modeling industry is much different than the common perception.

Today one imagines conniving, starving models, but the Winnipeg industry seems to have been supportive for those select few involved.

The former models of Winnipeg describe their close relationships and their common ritual of going out for lunch as a group between fashion shows. They speak endearingly of the lifelong relationships established through modeling.

The most interesting part of the documentary is the archival pictures and advertisements from the ‘70s and 80s, featuring plenty of wide legged pants, pantsuits and shoulder pads.

There are also photos of the infamous fashion shows at Eaton’s and the Bay.

The Glory Days of Modeling in Winnipeg explores an industry that many know nothing about.

It takes viewers back to a nostalgic time of an industry long gone, but the documentary is most pertinent for those who were involved in Winnipeg’s fashion or modeling industry.

As it stands, the film is a lovely tribute to a group of women who were an important part of the fabric of Winnipeg.

Published in Volume 65, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 17, 2011)

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