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The Most Influential Modeling Agencies

It’s remarkable how different the models are from show to show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Diane Von Furstenberg’s girls are always elegant and glamorous. Womanly in the best sense of the term.

“I just like the way they walk,” one male admirer told me. “They’re slow and serene; they sort of saunter down the runway. It’s very ladylike.”

The ladies are slightly thinner–and younger–at Charlotte Ronson and Bibhu Mohapatra. Rag & Bone likes a fresh, sporty type; Custo Barcelona has a great range of ethnicities. And Betsey Johnson’s models this year looked like they had just come from the Victoria’s Secret show–curvy, tanned and a little bit naughty.

Some of the difference has to do with a particular aesthetic integral to the brand–vamps for Gucci, say. But it also has to do with payroll: Large labels like Lacoste or Ralph Lauren can afford to hire the best walkers, the most beautiful faces, the hottest model of the moment. And they also tend to get first dibs on whomever they want (scheduling for these shows, which start every hour on the hour, gets hectic, to say the least).

Certain modeling agencies establish close ties with certain brands, too. They learn the precise look needed and supply it for each new collection. These days Ford Models and the Marilyn Agency, founded in New York and Paris, respectively, hold the most sway in the industry.

That’s according to data compiled by Klout, a San Francisco company that studies social media. Analysts there combed through things like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr feeds to determine which modeling agencies have the most influence in the market. They looked to see who was live tweeting during fashion week, hobnobbing with powerful insiders and celebrities, highlighting models from their agency and sharing songs or photos.

“You hear one clear and distinct personality behind each of these agencies,” the report said of the best. And despite the fact that the people highlighted by agencies are professional dressers and style mavens in their own right, “their passion shines through the content,” Klout says. Which makes them influential indeed.

Here are the top 10 agencies this season:

1. Ford Models
Klout Score: 67

2. Marilyn Agency
Klout Score: 58

3. Storm Model Management
Klout Score: 53

4. ONE Management
Klout Score: 52

5. Next Models NYC
Klout Score: 52

6. Models 1
Klout Score: 49

7: Premier
Klout Score: 48

8. Elite Model NY
Klout Score: 47

9. Major Model Management
Klout Score: 47

10. M and P Models
Klout Score: 46

From Forbes