Two top Manhattan modeling agencies are in a tug of war over the fashion world’s latest “It” girl.
Adwoa Aboah graced the cover of Vogue magazine this spring and sashays for the biggest fashion houses in the business, including Marc Jacobs, Versace and Chanel. In fact, the 25-year-old British beauty is so hot that there’s now an ugly legal battle over who gets to represent her.
The Lions Model Management filed a lawsuit against DNA Model Management in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday, accusing the rival catwalker firm of stealing her as a client with the help of her mom, a powerful agent for high-profile fashion photographers.
The Lions says that it inked a deal with Aboah in 2015 when she was a relative unknown in the modeling world. Under the deal, the firm got to be her exclusive personal manager in the United States until 2018.
The lawsuit says that Aboah was never unhappy with The Lions’ representation and even said in July was very pleased.
But last month she jumped ship to DNA and her attorney said her mother “would cause The Lions problems in the fashion industry unless The Lions agreed to release Aboah from her contractual obligations,” the lawsuit says.
Aboah’s mother is Camilla Lowther, who is a friend of DNA’s owner, David Bonnouvrier.
Bonnouvrier is also accused of making the same threat to The Lions that Lowther would harm The Lions if it tried to prevent her from switching firms.
The lawsuit says that Aboah never voiced dissatisfaction with The Lions’ representation and even said in July that she was very pleased with the firm.
Luring models like Aboah away from the competition is commonplace in the cutthroat world of haute couture.
(Vianney Le Caer/Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
“My loyalty is with you and I would not be where I am without you,” she told The Lions at the time, according to the lawsuit.
The Lions said that her unexpected departure came right when it was in the middle of negotiating deals that would generate substantial fees for the firm and Aboah.
Lowther, Bonnouvrier and DNA Model did not respond to a request for comment.
Thomas Harvey, a lawyer for The Lions, declined to comment.
Luring models away from the competition is not new in the cutthroat world of haute couture.
The Lions was accused in 2015 of poaching Albanian-born and New York-raised model Alix Angjeli from the firm Major Model Management.
In a lawsuit that year, Major Model said it helped Angjeli land high-paying gigs with Calvin Klein and Coach right before she signed on with The Lions. She and The Lions were sued over her alleged breach of contract.