John Casablancas

John Casablancas (December 12, 1942 – July 20, 2013) was an American modeling agent and scout who founded Elite Model Management. Casablancas is remembered for his development of the supermodel concept. He was the father of The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas.

John Casablancas
Born(1942-12-12)December 12, 1942
DiedJuly 20, 2013(2013-07-20) (aged 70)
NationalityAmerican
Occupation
  • Model agent
  • entrepreneur
Spouse(s)
  • Marie Christine
    (m. 1965; div. 1970)
  • Jeanette Christiansen
    (m. 1979; div. 1983)
  • Aline Wermelinger
    (m. 1993; his death 2013)
Children5 including Julian Casablancas

Early lifeEdit

John Casablancas was born in Manhattan, New York City, on December 12, 1942.[1] He was the youngest of three children of Ferran and Antònia Casablancas, a banker and former model respectively,[1][2] and grandson of Catalan textile machinery inventor Ferran Casablancas Planell.[3] His parents had left Spain during the 1930s to escape the Spanish Civil War,[1] and the family subsequently lived in Argentina, Mexico, and France, among other countries.[2] At the age of 8, he began attending Le Rosey boarding school in Switzerland. He continued his education at several universities in Europe without graduating.[1]

CareerEdit

After pursuing several career options, Casablancas was offered a job in Brazil by a family friend to work as a marketing manager for a Coca-Cola factory. After several years he returned to Europe and worked at an architecture company.[1] In collaboration with a fellow Le Rosey alumnus, Casablancas founded Elite Model Management, a modeling agency, in Paris in 1972.[1] He had previously run the Paris-based agency Model Agency Elysée 3, which he founded in 1969.[4] Clients of Elite included Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Andie MacDowell and Claudia Schiffer.[5] Casablancas is credited for developing the concept of supermodel in the popular culture, turning models into celebrities that were featured in mainstream media.[6] He was also criticised for his habit of having sexual relations with young clients.[1]

During the years that Casablancas ran the operations, Elite grossed over $100 million in annual model bookings.[1] It also generated controversy, with investigative reporter Donal MacIntyre making a BBC television exposé which resulted in the resignation of two Elite executives. Casablancas gave an "unconditional apology" for their behaviour.[7] A sales director sued for unfair dismissal and was awarded $4.3 million.[6] The annual Look of the Year events (later Elite Model Look), at which young women could win a $150,000 modeling contract with Elite, were later criticised by The Guardian newspaper for providing an opportunity for Casablancas and other judges such as David Copperfield and Donald Trump to proposition contestants.[8] In 2003, the Los Angeles County Superior Court dismissed a case of sexual abuse brought against Casablancas by a former Look of the Year contestant because he was not resident in California.[8]

Having sold his shares in Elite in 2000, Casablancas set up the Star System management agency and Illusion 2K, a cyber model agency.[1][6]

Personal life and deathEdit

At age 22, Casablancas married Marie-Christine from France. The two lived in Rio de Janeiro for much of their marriage. Casablancas had one child with Marie-Christine, Cécile, who was born in 1969 in France. The two split soon after her birth.[9] Casablancas met Jeanette Christiansen, a Danish model and the 1965 Miss Denmark, and the first model Casablancas ever represented,[1][10] in 1967. They married in 1979 after the birth of their son,[2] Julian Casablancas, lead vocalist of the American bands, The Strokes and The Voidz, in 1978.[11] Casablancas and Christiansen divorced in 1983,[12] as he was having a public affair with Stephanie Seymour, then 16 years old.[13]

In 1993,[14] the 50-year-old Casablancas married his third wife, 17-year-old Aline Mendonça de Carvalho Wermelinger, winner of Elite Model Look 1992 in Brazil. Wermelinger was close to the same age as Casablancas’s children, who were 22 and 14 at the time. The couple eventually had three children, John Jr., Fernando Augusto, and Nina.[1][15] A resident of Miami, Florida, Casablancas died on July 20, 2013, in Rio de Janeiro, where he had been receiving treatment for cancer. He was 70 years old.[1]

MediaEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Wilson, Eric (2013-07-20). "John Casablancas, Modeling Visionary, Dies at 70". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2014-01-04. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
  2. ^ a b c Prince, Dinah (January 25, 1988). "Girl Crazy". New York. 21 (4): 32–41. Archived from the original on October 17, 2020. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  3. ^ Cabana, Francesc (July 28, 2013). "La família Casablancas". El Punt Avui (in Catalan). Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2017. John Casablancas Ubach... era el nét de Ferran Casablancas Planell (1874–1960)... John Casablancas era fill de Ferran Casablancas Bertran, el germà gran de la família.
  4. ^ Casablancas: The Man Who Loved Women. directed by Hubert Woroniecki. Realitism Films, Maneki Lab. France. 2016. Event occurs at 17:49–20:30.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  5. ^ Wilson, Eric (July 22, 2013). "John Casablancas; modeling visionary founded Elite agency". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 18 February 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b c John Casablancas obituary: Agent whose company, Elite, ushered in the era of the supermodel Archived 2014-10-30 at the Wayback Machine – The Independent
  7. ^ Schetler, John (2 December 1999). "Fashion Scandal: Agency 'exposed' on TV say BBC film was rigged". The Independent. Archived from the original on 31 July 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  8. ^ a b Kirchgaessner, Stephanie; Osborne, Lucy; Davies, Harry (14 March 2020). "Teen models, powerful men and private dinners: when Trump hosted Look of the Year". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 15 October 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  9. ^ Casablancas: The Man Who Loved Women. directed by Hubert Woroniecki. Realitism Films, Maneki Lab. France. 2016. Event occurs at 13:12–15:39.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  10. ^ Casablancas: The Man Who Loved Women. directed by Hubert Woroniecki. Realitism Films, Maneki Lab. France. 2016. Event occurs at 15:00–16:57.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  11. ^ Casablancas: The Man Who Loved Women. directed by Hubert Woroniecki. Realitism Films, Maneki Lab. France. 2016. Event occurs at 53:20–54:08.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  12. ^ Wilson, Eric (2013-07-20). "John Casablancas, Modeling Visionary, Dies at 70". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2017-07-02. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  13. ^ Horwell, Veronica (July 24, 2013). "John Casablancas Obituary; Entrepreneur who created wealth from beauty by inventing the supermodel". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 October 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Someone Old, Someone New". PEOPLE.com. Archived from the original on 2019-04-03. Retrieved 2020-04-18.
  15. ^ LIMA ABIB, Alberto. A família Wermelinger: uma aventura em dois continentes (a imigração suíça de 1819–1820). 2000, self edition, 391p, ISBN 9788590146612