Ringing in a New Age of Enlightenment
By Diana Addison Lyle
Photographer: Paula and Marc Kayne: mpkaynephoto.com
Make-up: Jane Cohen Hair: Juan Juan Salon Beverly Hills
You have probably noticed that the beautiful, deep-thinking women we’ve had on our covers for the past few years – have mostly emanated from a break-the-glass-ceiling modeling agency – IconicFocus NYC/LA. The pioneering leaders behind the movement are 3 hard-working New Yorkers – who are doing their part to insure that beauty – and our interpretations of it – are part of a worldwide movement towards inclusiveness and the absence of age or ethnic discrimination. Love that!
Patty Sicular, Jill Cohen Perlman and Lori Modugno are the driving force behind IconicFocus, and the fruits of their vision are a remarkable testimony to society’s readiness for a healthier view on beauty. That means that age is irrelevant to the notion of beauty, and the cruel ‘put out to pasture’ or ‘sell by date’ stamp on them – is becoming something of the bad past.
Patty Sicular is and has always been the brainchild behind Iconicfocus.
For the last 30 years it was Patty’s vision as the Director and one of Eileen and Jerry Ford’s Vice Presidents – to solely advocate inclusiveness and demand the respect and professionalism that was the standard of all models. Patty has worked with legendary supermodels from every decade and still to this day, takes time for all of them. In addition to this, Patty is a fashion and beauty historian, archivist, preservationist, and a project consultant for magazines, books and documentaries pertaining to the industry.
After the death of Eileen Ford a few years back, Patty reunited with Jill Cohen Perlman who was the youngest high board booker at the time in the 1980s. Jill got her training from the school of Eileen and started and managed the careers of many supermodels including Amber Valletta, Caroline Murphy, Vendela Kirsebom, Steevie Van Der Veen and many of the current IconicFocus models. Jill reconnected with many of her girls and quickly started growing the board. From there, Patty asked Jill to join forces as co-director, and IconicFocus Models was born.
Jill took off sprinting and within weeks began collaborating with an old colleague, Lori Modugno, an Editor, Fashion Director and Fashion Stylist from both the editorial and advertising world. Lori brought in her expertise of working on prominent magazines, major advertising campaigns, and celebrity shootings. She began branding the look and visionary direction of IconicFocus. Reinventing the models’ portfolios, she inspired the fashion and creative direction of the shootings.
Lori Modugno describes their philosophy and vision like this: “We really wanted to impact the way the industry and society looked at and treated women. This is somewhat new terrain and we are so thrilled that the industry is moving towards inclusiveness. Older models are being viewed as timeless beauties but more importantly, they are being showcased with younger models illustrating that beauty is AGELESS. Like life, the industry is constantly changing and this is now the right time for older models, to finally empower women of all ages and all ethnicities.
So you’ve probably surmized by now that this is a dream team behind the break-the-glass-ceiling vision. I recall my first conversations with Patty Sicular around 2011 wherein she made an indelible impression on me. She asked me curiously if my accent was from Zimbabwe in Africa – and I was amazed that anybody in America knew of the little-known country – let alone the accent. Her intellect didn’t stop there: she then asked me how Robert Mugabe was doing. Are you kidding me? She knew who Robert Mugabe was! She then went on to graphically describe incidences involving the African dictator in which people she knew were involved. Thereafter she checked up on my safety regularly as I returned to the police state – unwelcome as a western journalist. Patty, Jill and Lori are in a league of their own.
Our recent holiday lunch in Beverly Hills amplified the strength and unity of the Iconic team. The models – now in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s – who have reunited with their former mentors from their supermodel halcyon days – share the same vision.
Strikingly apparent is the depth they’ve acquired through the years. In keeping up with a world that is appreciative of accrued wisdom, intelligence, humanity and humility, the women of IconicFocus have branched out with families and careers that have molded them into substantially fascinating people. Needless to say, we can’t wait to cover them all in the upcoming years. This is not a phase; it’s a welcome reality!