The world of fashion certainly remembers well this day at the very end of Paris fashion week, nearly two years ago, when Paul Rowland and his close team left Supreme Management to open a new division at Ford Models. The event in itself appeared to be some kind of earthquake for the business and, at that time, the future of Supreme seemed highly uncertain.

Unsecure. Now, breaking news (some will say rumors) are that Ford is closing Rowland's division and will only keep the second one which has always remained in the shadows of Paul's board. If many observers aren't that surprised, almost no one expected it to happened so early. The project seemed ambitious when everything started, the agency seemed relooked but the overall results didn't really meet the huge hopes...

For some, Paul Rowland is an icon or a genius. And I'm tempted to say he probably is, when it comes to image. Back to his days at the head of Supreme, the agency had a distinctive image coming straight from Rowland's brain. Who doesn't remember the alternative beauty ideals promoted by the company or the specific "Supreme" touch of the models' portfolios? Who doesn't keep memories of the show packages, carefully designed to stand out in an always-growing crowd?

Paul's Ford was never meant to become a second Supreme but he was clearly hired to bring in his signature style, among other reasons. That's one side. On the other, the sceptics, those who immediately pointed out that Rowland isn't exactly the commercial guy, the moneymaker and started hissing about Supreme never making one cent during his reign. The truth is in the middle. Or, more exactly, would be a combination of these two sides. If Paul Rowland and his team(s) were never short of ideas when it comes to the looks and branding of their models, they were never able to reach the efficiency of a powerhouse like IMG. Not even when backed by the Ford machine instead of playing the outsiders at Supreme.

It didn't take long to the limits to appear clearly. Ford's main board quickly became a patchwork of different influences. Former typical Supreme girls met girls from other agencies and a wide range of new faces. While the old Supreme had a rather homogeneous model line-up, the new Ford faced a hard time finding its own identity despite Paul's well-known abilities to print his mark.

Girls as different as Maryna Linchuk and Daiane Conterato were suddenly side by side, soon to be joined by plus-size icons Crystal Renn and Candice Huffine, former Elite successfuls Julia Nobis and Kate King, then, last but not least, a new generation of Ford models led by the likes of Grace Mahary, Irina Kravchenko or Ondria Hardin. If this kind of mixture is usual for many agencies, it was far from typical for a project monitored by Paul Rowland. Did this blured image play a role in the issues the agency had to face? I bet not, everything is a matter of bottom line. But it does actively contribute to the mixed feelings one may have towards this modeling venture.

Now, financial issues aside, I feel slightly bitter seeing it happen now. I'm no pro-, or anti-, Rowland by any mean and if I cry this evening, my tears would neither be of sadness nor of joy. I'm just bitter it happens right when the agency -at last- seemed to found its way. Things were calming down and the random patchwork aspect was slowly disappearing. The latest newcomers to join truly looked like they belong to the same vision of beauty and modeling. They were neither old-school Supreme nor generic faces.

After seasons of hesitations, Ford's main division seemed to know what its style is and how it could evolve. And the same could be said about the look of the books, the pseudo polaroids, the light touch of creativity put in these hybrids between plain digitals and sophisticated test shots. If an agency survives or not, I couldn't care less about it. But besides the always saddening sight of witnessing a creative project's last days, this just adds another unnecessary dose of insecurity to the turmoils and torments modeling is currently dealing with.

CREDITS: All images from Ford (models include Irina Kravchenko, Rebecca Szulc, Juliana Schurig, Dafne Cejas, Tamara Suarez, Brittany Veldboom & Athena Wilson.