Supermodel firm stays in the elite

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The Independent Online
For the judge who once asked "what is Gazza?", the concept of topless glamour models was always going to require explanation.

Mr Justice Harman, presented with the case of model agency Elite & Premier Ltd attempting to prevent the use of its name by another firm, did not even attempt to familiarise himself with its clients Naomi Campbell or Claudia Schiffer.

The agency yesterday sought an injunction in the High Court to prevent the use of its name by another firm - Elite Modelling Agency Ltd - alleged to have enticed would-be teenage models into "glamour" auditions in pubs and skittle alleys.

Justin Turner, representing Elite & Premier Ltd, outlining his client's case for an injunction, said: "The agency represents many models who are household names such as Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista. I don't know if your Lordship is familiar with these models?"

"Do I need to be?" replied the judge.

"I don't think so," said Mr Turner, perhaps wisely.

Mr Justice Harman was perplexed by the use of the word "topless" in discussing glamour modelling.

"It means precisely the opposite," he was told.

This misuse of the word, the judge said, was "remarkable - as if they had been cut off at the waist which is exactly what they do not mean".

"If you cut the top off it wouldn't be very interesting - what's more they would be dead. It's clearly an abuse of language by the tabloids," he said.

Nevertheless, the judge granted Elite & Premier Ltd a temporary order banning the newly founded firm from trading under the "Elite" name pending a further court hearing. The well-established company, argued that a connection with its namesake would damage its reputation and result in loss of trade.