Barbara Stone, who as an agent nurtured models such as Cheryl Tiegs, Cybill Shepherd and a young Martha Stewart, died April 26 at a hospital in Roslyn, New York, on Long Island. She was 87 years old.
His daughter, Julie Stone, said the cause was congestive heart failure.
It was the early 1960s, still the days of twin sets and pearls, white gloves and white faces on the covers of magazines like Seventeen, Charm and vogue, when Stone was hired by Stewart Cowley, a former theater agent, to run his company, Stewart Models. A former cheerleader from Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, she would soon help make Stewart the No. 2 agency in New York – the Opinion, as Michael Gross, author of “Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women”, at Eileen Ford’s Hertz.
Stone had a feel for fresh-faced American blondes, though within a decade Stewart Models had also picked up Twiggy, the angular British brat otherwise known as Lesley Hornby, and Veruschka, the towering German countess. She was strict on behavior and punctuality, and firm but kind to her young proteges, many of whom were still in high school.
She often managed her clients’ money, handing out a weekly allowance, as she did for Lucy Angle, a 16-year-old model then considered an American Twiggy – “the same figure without a figure”, as the columnist wrote. fashion Eugenia Sheppard in 1967 – with the plane ticket to Washington to see her mother.
“Barbara was our mother, our model mother,” said Martha Stewart, who was then Martha Kostyra, working to pay for her Barnard College tuition with her modeling earnings. “The agents at the time were very decent. I remember getting a call from her telling me to iron my clothes. I was in Paris, and someone complained because I showed up wearing a dress I had packed that was crumpled up in the suitcase.Barbara was our mother hen.
But Stone was no pushover. “She wasn’t absurd,” said Bonnie Trompeter, who was 14 when she started modeling (and featured on a cover story in Life magazine, “Discovering the pleasure of being pretty”), and at just 17 when she was a glamorous girl in advertisements for Parliament cigarettes. “She was running a tight ship. We had to arrive on time, combed and made up.
Stone had a good sense of talent. Recruiting models for a TV competition called “Model of the Year” in 1967, for which the winner and two runners-up received one-year modeling contracts, Stone told a reporter how she made her choices.
In 1968, Cybill Shepherd, then only 18 years old, won the competition.
Cheryl Tiegs, the California girl who would become a household name as the face of Cover Girl makeup, was in college when she met Stone. Ford was also courting her, but she chose Stewart Models because, she says, Stone made her feel comfortable.