Where Does Fashion’s Obsession With Posh Come From?

Nepotism is rife, but does a known-name always equate to killer 'tude?


by Zing Tsjeng |
Published on

At the Topshop Unique show this week, one leggy blonde stood out – but it had more to do with her last name than her look. Hailey, daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin, made her London Fashion Week debut in a lemon yellow jumper and strappy sandals. Already, she’s been tipped as the next big thing, scoring a LOVE editorial and a campaign with French Connection. Not bad for a 17-year-old, right?

Does this all sound a bit familiar? Hailey’s sudden ascent mirrors the scion of another celeb dynasty: Kendall Jenner, who went from Keeping Up With The Kardashians to modelling for Donna Karen. Across the pond, Cora Corre – granddaughter of Dame Vivienne Westwood – kicked off her career by modeling for her dear old nan. And let’s not forget Brooklyn and Romeo Beckham, who landed a magazine cover and a Burberry campaign between them.

Spectator columnist Julie Burchill calls them the Sads, short for ‘Sons and Daughters’. The ‘… of famous rich people’ is implied, obviously. I just call them posh: they’re all well-connected, immaculately groomed A-list kids who are just about edgy enough for editorial. That’s not edgy as in ‘could have been scouted in a methadone clinic queue’; it’s edgy as in ‘went to a rave and paid for the cab home with Daddy’s credit card’.

According to Burchill, the rise of the posh model presents a singular problem: forget Westminster and Oxbridge, the rich have monopolised even the genetic lottery of beauty! Whatever happened to social mobility a la Natalia Vodianova, who was spotted selling fruit at her family’s market stall?

Fashion loves a modeling rags-to-riches yarn, but you don’t need to flick through the party pages of Vogue to know that it’s always been obsessed with the upper classes. Even the most iconic style muses have been descended, pinky finger raised, from nobility – Yves Saint Laurent favourite Loulou de La Falaise may have channelled boho Left Bank chic, but she was still the daughter of a marquis.

It’s easy to see why posh celeb spawn is making a splash on the runways today – there’s no easier way to guarantee coverage of a show. Forget paying celebs to sit in your front row; why not hire their children to model for you?

But A-list society credentials do not an A-list model make. Rafferty Law – son of Jude Law and Sadie French – is a cute 17-year-old, but he looked more like an awkward pre-teen Sam Smith when he modelled for DKNY next to the pros.

Supermodels aren’t built on background alone; it’s all about attitude. Case in point: Cara Delevingne. She’s so ludicrously posh that Joan Collins is her godmother, but she’s built her career on bucking every aristo stereotype – wearing onesies 24/7, making out with Michelle Rodriguez at basketball games… Not exactly Horse and Hound type behaviour.

And let’s not forget the queen of cool, Kate Moss: the hard-drinking, forever-smoking Croydon lass who gamely admitted on The Big Breakfast that Jonny Depp once gave her a diamond necklace stuffed down his arsecrack.

There’ll always be a place for aristo models – I guess they do look good in a Burberry trenchcoat – but personality is what elevates them from stunt casting to superstar. In other words, wake me up when Hailey Baldwin blags her way onto an Easyjet flight while drunk off her tits.

Follow Zing on Twitter @misszing

Picture: Getty

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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