TEN SUPERMODELS OF THE 90’S
“QUEENS” OF THE CATWALKS
Kate Moss: the woman, the supermodel, the legend. The British icon and English Model, born in Greater London, rose to fame in the early 1990s and took the world by storm after her discovery at JFK airport. Dubbed the ‘anti-supermodel’ of the time, at only 5ft7” with a boyish frame, Moss began her career with the highly speculated Calvin Klein campaign of 1993. From this, her popularity and desirability exploded, as she has since reeled in campaigns for Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Bulgari – to name a few. In her younger modelling years Moss revelled in her ‘grungy’ and ‘dirty’ image in order to rake in the campaigns and jobs. However, after a drug scandal in the early 2000s, Moss has revived her career and lives with a cleaner image, compared to her more youthful days. Now working with make-up brand Rimmel, revisiting Calvin Klein and most significantly, Topshop, Moss has easily earned her place as a modelling legacy. Or at least, her multiple ‘beautiful woman’ awards and friendships with some of the biggest in the business would suggest so.
Campbell is another British legend in the world of modelling, and it isn’t too difficult to see why. Born in London but raised for the first few years of her life in Rome, Campbell was destined from a young age to become a legacy. Her mother, working as a modern dancer, acted as inspiration for her daughter, who herself began dancing at the young age of three. Once back in the U.K, Campbell was accepted into the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, where she studied ballet from the age of ten. Although this path led her into a few hit music videos of the time, it wasn’t until she was fifteen when she was scouted, and just before her sixteenth birthday, Campbell graced the cover of British ELLE. After that point, her success steadily grew, and by the early 1990’s, she was a part of the modelling ‘trinity’. The Trinity consisted of herself, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington, as they were known to be the best and most in-demand models of the time. This being one of the more significant parts of her career, another would be her September cover of VOGUE US 1989, where she was the first black cover girl to grace their most important issue of the year. Similarly, to Moss, Campbell suffered with personal life problems regarding her relationships, but came through this with strength and lives today as the legend she is. Not having stopped print modelling, Campbell works with the same beauty and desirability as she always has, still representing the biggest names in fashion. While her era as a ‘supermodel’ may be over, in the life she lives today she will forever remain as a ‘super’, changing only her status, but not her work ethic.
As a Canadian third of the Trinity, Linda Evangelista is ‘the greatest supermodel of all time’ – or she is as she was voted in 2008. Raised by her Italian parents, Evangelista seeked to enter the fashion industry after advised to take a modelling career, and began her career from there. However, after an unfortunate incident at a Japanese photoshoot aged only 16, Evangelista stopped modelling under her own will, only to re-enter two years later. One move to New York and a contract with Elite later, Evangelista’s career took off with campaign after campaign, working until she partnered with Chanel, and more importantly, Karl Largerfeld. As his muse, her popularity grew ever still, but not before her revolutionary haircut swept the fashion world. This trim made her the most in-demand model in the world, creating the coining of ‘supermodel’ for her career specifically. When she spoke that ‘we don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day’ – referring to herself and Christy Turlington – the phrase became the most quoted in the modelling world, and still is today. Her career throughout the 1990’s becomes impossible to list, with one revolutionary success following another, campaigns after covers that have become historic. It wasn’t until 1998, after a legendary 14 year career that Evangelista retired to the French Riviera. Nevertheless, come 2001 and she made a return, to a much quieter public eye. While her work is still admired and adored, her impact on the newer generation isn’t as substantial, mainly due to an age gap. The campaigns are as big, and the events even bigger, but despite Evangelista being past the ‘supermodel era’, she will never be past being the supermodel. Just living it all on a smaller scale.
The final member of The Trinity and one of Times Most Influential People (2014), Christy Turlington isn’t only a supermodel of the world, but a charitable hero too. Discovered at the mere age of 14 whilst riding a horse, Turlington began modelling after school and in her spare time, but continued putting her education first. At the age of 18 she moved to New York City to model professionally, but went forth to finish High School and get a degree in Religion and Eastern Philosophy. Throughout her modelling career, Turlington worked with some of the biggest names in the business, but didn’t only stick to modelling. Appearing in many music videos, documentaries and even mockumentaries, Turlington didn’t leave herself restricted to catwalks and campaigns. However, one of her most notable pieces of work, along with her fellow models, will still be the January 1990 British VOGUE cover. Following the theme of the time, which was to highlight the ‘supermodel’ era, Turlington teamed up with Campbell, Evangelista, Christy Crawford and Tatjana Patitz to take the cover, which would later inspire George Michael for his ‘Freedom!’ music video. Nowadays, Turlington works more off the camera, focusing on her pieces of writing, clothing lines and correspondents, but most importantly: her charity. As an ambassador CARE, Maternal Health, Product Red, Anti-Smoking, No Woman No Cry and her own organisation, Every Mother Counts, Turlington proves herself to be an avid care giver and charity worker, running marathons and dedicating her time to helping better the world. A little less profile and more giving than her modelling days in the 90’s.
Born and raised in California, Stephanie Seymour began her modelling career by doing local newspaper adverts for department shops, before entering the Elite Model Management Look of the Year contest 1983 and becoming a finalist. From there Seymour posed for some of the biggest magazines of the time, including Sport Illustrated and Playboy, and even the relatively new Victoria’s Secret. In 1998 Seymour wrote Stephanie Seymour’s Beauty Secrets for Dummies, and in 1999 was featured in the millennium issue of American VOGUE as one of the ‘modern muses’. Following some of her work with Mario Testino and Salvatore Ferragamo, Seymour began to descend more into the world of acting and moved away from the modelling scene. She has featured in the film Pollack and Law and Order, as well as lending her voice and movements to video games. Now, Seymour is more focused on her family and personal life that the spotlight, and although she remains as a well-established supermodel of the time, she is relishing in this fact gracefully and selflessly.
Claudia Schiffer is a household name and a fashion legend. The German model began her career in 1989, when she was only 19 years old. Compared in resemblance to Bridgitte Bardot, she was spotted in a nightclub in Dusseldorf and signed up to Metropolitan Model Agency. She flew out to Paris for a trial shoot after completing her education, and, within a short time, was being featured on the cover of French Elle. Noting how well received she was by the public, Schiffer was flown all over the world to campaigns and shoots, making her one of the world’s most beautiful and desired models. Her magazine covers include the likes of Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, People, VOGUE, Elle, Harpers Bazaar and Time. She made has featured on the catwalk for many designers, specifically, Versace, Chanel and Valentino, and represents High Street retailers too. Having since launched her own clothing line, Claudia Schiffer Cashmere, and spending her time nowadays by doing further appearances and shoots, but not to such a degree as she did in her prime. As quoted from Schiffer herself: ‘Supermodels, like we once were, don’t exist anymore’.
Limiting Tyra Banks to the title of ‘former supermodel of the world’ may sound like an honour, but may really be an insult. This American born television personality has also been a talk-show hostess, author, actress, producer and, finally, reigning African-American supermodel of the 1990’s. Banks made her debut through her cover campaigns on Sports Illustrated and, historically, as one of Victoria’s Secrets Original Angels. Modelling for the lingerie company from 1995 – 2007, Banks took the time and publicity to embark upon multiple different television appearances, such as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, film roles and her own talk show: The Tyra Banks Show. It would also be impossible to mention Banks without credit to her long running co-created television series America’s Next Top Model, which has becoming a worldwide franchise set on finding the newest and best models. Her contributions and significance to the fashion world is undeniable, becoming such a household name that you may even forget she began only doing campaigns and covers. With names of Oscar de la Renta, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Dolce & Gabbana under her lengthy modelling past, the only way is up for the legend that is Tyra Banks.