There are any different styles within modeling. High fashion, avant garde, pin up, boudoir, swimwear, alternative to name a few. However, most styles fall within two over arching categories. Commercial and couture.
Commercial – focus on selling
Couture – focus on art
In commercial modelling you will see more traditionally pretty models. They tend to be relatable in expression and pose. They tend to come across as more personable. They smile more. They make the item that they are selling irresistible. Think of cosmetic commercials alone!
Here we have three commercial modeling photos. An ad for Covergirl cosmetics, JC Penny and Target.
On the runway commercial models show more personality. Though they tailor it to the brand they are wearing, designer desires, type of show, etc. Some designers may want sultry or fun or fierce. The models are basically acting without words by portraying a certain emotion or vibe.
Think of the Victoria Secret Fashion shows. Models smile, wave, point, wink. They interact with the acts on stage, each other and the audience.
In couture modeling, personalities are hidden. Models are basically living coat racks. They are only there for the clothes to be on. Expression and personality are kept to a minimum. The clothes are works of art and models are there only as a medium for that art.
In photos, you will see strange awkward poses with lots of angles. They will tend to be rather stoic in expression. This is to create a true work of art. It’s about the visual experience more than making the item desirable to buy.
Dior Couture by Patrick Demarchelier
Eric Hason Photographer
Not sure who to credit for this.
On the runway, you will tend to see blank faces, limited if any actual posing, and uniform walks. Again, they are showing the clothes as art and less focused on selling the garment. Check out this video of a 2016 Fendi fashion show at the Trevi fountain to see a classic couture show.
Of course these are broad generalizations and there is definitely a spectrum. You will see all types of styles and walks and poses on the runway. But the next time you see a show or walk the runway yourself ask yourself which category is it. Knowing which will help your walking and posing.