Fashionable Fergie gets push from Wilhelmina Models

Fri Dec 3, 2010 10:25pm EST
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By Gary Graff

DETROIT (Billboard) - When Fergie's manager William Derella pitched Wilhelmina Models four years ago on representing his client, agency president Sean Patterson didn't need much convincing.

"We left the first meeting and I said to one of the other agents, 'This girl's completely marketable, every which way,' " Patterson recalls. "She's the hat trick--beautiful, fashionable and cool at the same time. In the beauty/fashion industry, that's gold."

And it has been a golden relationship between Fergie and the 43-year-old agency, which has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Munich.

Through Wilhelmina, Fergie is one of three musicians to have her own line of footwear with the Brown Shoe Co. (the others are Reba McEntire and Carlos Santana), while her deal with Avon Products started with a fragrance and is now expanding to the company's line of hair care products.

Wilhelmina has also hooked Fergie up with such designers as Dsquared, Calvin Klein and Marchesa, which Patterson says reflects her wide-ranging appeal in the fashion world.

"The cool thing about Fergie as an artist, like any iconic figure in entertainment, is she's constantly evolving," Patterson says. "Fergie is constantly evolving her sense of style. Every six months she looks different. The great artists do that."

Patterson acknowledges that there was some skepticism when Fergie came onboard at Wilhelmina, concurrent with the release of her solo album, 2006's triple-platinum "The Dutchess."

"People in the fashion industry were asking, 'Is she the old Fergie from Wild Orchid? Fergie from Black Eyed Peas, the first couple of albums? Or is she going to be a different permutation in her solo career?' " Patterson recalls. "It was us pointing out to the fashion world she was going to keep evolving, that we already see this in her and if they watch they'll see the same development."   Continued...

<p>Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas performs 'The Time' at the 2010 American Music Awards in Los Angeles November 21, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>