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Runway Streak

Full-Throttle Model: Christy Turlington endures the hardships of cover-girl fame in "Catwalk."

Supermodeling is stylish hell in 'Catwalk'

By Richard von Busack

DESPITE THE TITLE, the new movie Catwalk is not about cats, a species that was looking fabulous, being mean for the fun of it and complaining about its food centuries before the fashion model emerged ... and doing so much better. Some people revile fashion models for no reason--perhaps, if they think about them at all, disliking them as living coat hangers who promote an ideal of starved beauty to the gullible. So, it can't be said that the infuriating documentary Catwalk has no purpose; it gives you a focus for what might have previously been just gut-level dislike.

This verité documentary follows a couple of weeks in the life of Christy Turlington as she does the strut 'n' snarl on the ramps at Milan, Paris and New York. Christy faces the various aggravations that only the most expensive flesh is heir to: enduring having her hair washed, being made to slather on cold cream and forced to kiss the air around the faces of one-named designers. It's a dog's life, and the sullen, irked Turlington knows it. She's especially miffed at people who forget that she's ascended to supermodelhood through brains, not scrawn.

Last year's Unzipped was a bright, funny look at the types that populate the Vogue world. Catwalk is, by contrast, almost an infomercial for Turlington, Inc.; director Robert Leacock is positively drunk on her fabulousness. This documentary, a cinematic Eurotrash compactor, is equipped with an appropriately hellish soundtrack by Malcolm McLaren. The same melancholy G/A/E hook that John Lennon gave such a beating to in the song "Mind Games" is back for more torture, in between McLaren's usual selection of disco classics (a synthesized "Ride of the Valkyries") and original compositions (some diva muttering the names of famous French people to the accompaniment of a drum track). Best quote: Turlington in a taxi pouting, "I have to go to Gaultier, Lacroix and Hermés." Fanciers of funny hats are especially urged to see the lid that haute-courtier John Galliano wears on his empty little blonde-dyed head: an exploded, polyester-fur-covered Eastern-bloc blizzard hat complete with turned-up brim and earflaps sizable enough for Babe the Muffler Man.

Catwalk (Unrated; 95 min.), a documentary by Robert Leacock.

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From the June 6-12, 1996 issue of Metro

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