FASHION / Fall and rise of a supermodel

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Indy Lifestyle Online
IT MIGHT not sound a good idea, but putting the millionaire model Naomi Campbell in electric blue, faux snakeskin wedgies so high she toppled over at the last Vivienne Westwood show has turned out to be a PR coup, writes Marion Hume.

Far from starting legal action last March, Ms Campbell laughed as she fell. Next, photographs of her fall were all over the world. The Independent photographer Herbie Knott saw his photograph of the incident in People magazine in the United States, Who Weekly in Australia, Hello] and the Bradford Telegraph & Argus.

He then saw it displayed next to the guilty shoes in their new home, the permanent collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, to which they have been donated by Ms Westwood. To promote the acquisition, the V&A launched a poster campaign - funded by a generous anonymous donation - showing the shoes on 1,000 poster sites across London Underground. (Posters are available in the museum shop for pounds 3.95).

Now the Prudential is running Ms Westwood's footage of the show as its latest 'disaster' television commercial. It is half-way through a test run on Yorkshire Television, and is likely to go national. The campaign has netted Ms Campbell a rumoured pounds 20,000, which shows that she was right not to burst into tears and to sue. 'Now we're hoping someone catches on to the idea in the States,' said Carol White, of Elite Premier, Ms Campbell's model agency.

The Pru advert, which ends, as she topples, with the catchline: 'Even supermodels break down' is a clever follow-up to the Vauxhall Corsa campaign for 'the new supermodel' - a perky city runabout that has been promoted through a television and print campaign featuring five of the world's most high-profile models, including Ms Campbell.

Supermodels, however, don't break down, they just re-invent themselves. Another Corsa model, Tatjana Patitz, has gone to Hollywood and an ill-advised role as 'beautiful young woman who is murdered' in Sean Connery's Rising Sun, (to be released on 15 October). Ms Patitz, who spends her less-than-15 minutes of fame being strangled on the boardroom table, may find the bridge between modelling and movie stardom difficult to cross.

And for Ms Campbell? There is no word yet of a remake of the 1948 classic, The Red Shoes, but watch this space for Blue Shoes, the movie, starring . . . yes, you got it.

(Photograph omitted)

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