Showtime means showcards, at the beginning at least. In New York City more than anywhere else in the world, agencies compete to be the one with the most remarkable, creative, sophisticated show package. Often shot especially on that purpose or designed by various artists, sometimes followed by a short movie featuring the agency's girls; these last few years the efforts put into packaging have been all the rage. If things are starting to slow down a bit, the release of New York's show packages is still the event of the end of summer and a strong signal a new season is about to begin very soon.

If the climax of that trend could be over already, we can't really say the trend itself is about to stop. The heyday of show packages was probably when Supreme's cards were able to raise controversy when it comes to the way they introduced their models or when Women, under Louie's reign, used to release packages that were as heavy as your dictionary (I still own a sample in my living room, each model had no less than four pictures and cards were folded). Compared to this, the new season's visuals are pretty sober but no one has given up creativity yet.

Ford's current aesthetic is flirting with a retro mood, as a tribute paid by Paul Rowland to Eileen Ford while One Management found inspiration in the electoral atmosphere of this year. IMG hired illustrator Danny Roberts to spice up the look of their Spring 2013 package. Women's cards are simple but hit their target, using black and white polaroid-like images, a strategy that seems both discreet and distinctive. Meanwhile, Wilhelmina released some military jackets together with the package and reminds us seasonal goodies are still a very valuable extra this september.

Next remains Next, season after season. Same look, same fonts, same color scheme: it's all classic and classy, spelling expensive and efficient. I could go on with that list and mention Fusion, Elite, Trump and the others that made the effort to craft their agency's brand identity as well as those who went for a more classical or minimalist approach. But the essential is said: New York is still the city where image and imagery play the biggest role in modeling.

CREDITS: IMG Models, Ford Models, One Management, Wilhelmina Models, Women Management and NEXT Models.