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This morning, Andre Leon Talley and Tyra Banks hosted a breakfast to discuss the upcoming 15th cycle of America's Next Top Model. Both Talley and Banks were, surprisingly, sartorially subdued—Banks in a long-sleeved, slinky black jersey dress with nary an ANTM wig in sight, and Andre in black Tod's, a black Ralph Lauren Polo and shorts by Juicy Couture. The only moment of fashion drama was Talley's full-length Prada leather trench coat—brave, considering the balmy summer heat.
Despite the low-key attire, the pair was in a wacky mood, as Banks gabbed about her long history with the Vogue Contributing Editor and Andre whooped with laughter in the background. Apparently, Tyra had been trying to get Andre involved in ANTM for the past eight years, and only last year did the larger-than-life fashion icon finally agree to be a judge. Talley's addition to the show marks its new direction—an earnest effort by the show to produce high fashion models, with the winner of the next cycle scoring contract with IMG, a fashion spread in Vogue Italia and a cover of Beauty in Vogue in addition to the existing CoverGirl contract.
"This girl will be so high fashion that the American market might not understand," Banks sayd. "I just want it to be real, the epitome of high fashion—and she can possibly cross back to Americana, but I think its very important to have the core of high fashion. I see her in French magazines, British magazines."
While Banks admitted that none of the girls from the past 14 seasons have achieved any significant level of success, Banks envisions the new season's winning girl booking fashion jobs that might not appeal to an American audience, but instead will reach Italian and French markets.
"The difference between American Idol and ANTM is that music is international, but there are a million magazines," Banks says, drawing a comparison between two reality television contests.
Unlike winners of American Idol, where pop music serves as a near-universal fame-vehicle, the modeling world works with thousands of publications that don't have global circulations, an obstacle past winners have not been able to overcome.
"We always top ourselves," Banks says. "As a producer I'm always pushing pushing pushing, what’s the next major change? This is the big change."
"Slowly you move and slowly you groove," adds Talley. "But this [season] is very high fashion."
Though Talley did admit previous season dreckitude on the part of the hosts.
"There was a moment of doubt but Ms. Tyra switched it out...we try to not have dreckitude moments," he said.
"I say 'dreck seasons,'" Banks says, confessing that she thinks she looked crazy when she wore Dancing With the Stars outfits and a red wig for an entire season.
· America's Next Top Model [Official Site]