The three women, who went into modeling independently of each other, are giving their industry a touch of (upper) class. "They're all quite unconventional, not pouty-lipped with ski-slope noses," says London designer Bella Freud. "They make an impression by their lack of self-consciousness." British hat designer Philip Treacy agrees. "People expect them be grand and arrogant, and they're not. But their aristocracy has a lot to do with the fantasy of the industry. It lends to the magic of it all."
And to their bank accounts. Chanel's deal with Tennant, who has her own inheritance, is rumored to be worth $1 million, while Fraser and Palmer get between $3,750 and $7,500 a day. "I want to make a lot of money," said Fraser (much of whose family estate was sold in 1995 to settle debts) in the British newspaper The Independent. "The family history is totally archaic—not something I want for myself."
The top priority now for the three is to make their own mark. "It doesn't matter if you've inherited money," Tennant told Vogue in March. "You still want to do your own thing. And since this has been handed to me on a plate, I'd be a fool not to take it."
NINA A. BIDDLE in London and TOBY KAHN in New York City