Fashion critics have dubbed the perceived increase in model diversity on the runway this season the “Obama effect.” Last night, at Chris Benz’s presentation, we asked model Veroncia Webb if she had noticed it. After a good long look around, she replied, “Not necessarily. Well, they’re more diverse than they have been in the past five years, but not more diverse since the election.” She predicts we’ll eventually see the Obama effect in editorials and advertising.
As an industry veteran, we had to know what Webb thought of Ashley Dupré’s assault on Fashion Week. “Who’s that?” Spitzer’s call girl? “Oh. Well, no matter what you do for a living, you still need clothes.” She wouldn’t be offended if Dupré segued into modeling. “In any business, it’s about pleasing the customer,” she said (and who knows that better than Dupré?). “Everybody deserves a chance and everyone deserves a second chance.”
Yigal Azrouël, who fired PR firm People’s Revolution after Dupré sat on his front row, may disagree. Azrouël wouldn’t comment on the incident yesterday at his menswear presentation (which, we should note, was lovely and well organized despite the last-minute change). But Chris Benz seemed to appreciate Dupré’s Fashion Week cameo. “Honestly, I really don’t see the problem with it. I really think it’s kind of funny and fun,” he told us, adding that he wouldn’t have a problem with having her at his presentation. “I mean, I wouldn’t care. I feel like the more the merrier.”
Watch a slideshow of the Chris Benz collection.