The su­per­mod­els of the ’90s are hot­ter than ever!

NW in­ves­ti­gates the stay­ing power of fash­ion’s all-time favourite faces

NW - - Contents -

Ask any fash­ion­ista to name a defin­ing mo­ment in fash­ion his­tory and they’ll likely land on March 6, 1991.

That day, Gianni Ver­sace sent the Big Four su­per­mod­els – Linda Evan­ge­lista, Cindy Craw­ford, Christy Turling­ton and Naomi Camp­bell – down the cat­walk of his Mi­lan Au­tumn/win­ter show lip-synch­ing to Ge­orge Michael’s hit Free­dom ’90.

For Tim Blanks, renowned critic and edi­tor-at-large for The Busi­ness Of Fash­ion, that mo­ment marked the first time “the whole no­tion of the su­per­model be­came ut­terly in­escapable”.

“This is the kind of thing that, when peo­ple say, ‘Oh, I miss the su­per­mod­els,’ this is the kind of thing they’re talk­ing about,” he says.

“It was a mo­ment when the he power of th­ese women was to­tally in­escapable and All hail the Su­per Mod­els

Ver­sace cap­i­talised on that by group­ing them on the cat­walk.

“It was just such a wow mo­ment... Th­ese girls, they sym­bol­ised a whole era in a way that fash­ion mod­els never had be­fore.”

Fast-for­ward to Septem­ber 22, 2017 and that power was re­cap­tured when Naomi and Cindy – along with fel­low ’90s icons Clau­dia Schif­fer, He­lena Chris­tensen and Carla Bruni – re­grouped to hon­our Gianni on the 20th an­niver­sary of his mur­der, by clos­ing his sis­ter Donatella’s Mi­lan Fash­ion Week show.

“Words can­not de­scribe this mo­ment,” Naomi wrote af­ter­wards on In­sta­gram.

In­deed, emo­tions ran high fol­low­ing the cat­walk re­union. But the dom­i­nant feel­ing shared by the fash pack? A yearn­ing for the past.

“Nos­tal­gia for the su­per­model era has never been stronger,” fash­ion jour­nal­ist Janelle Ok­wodu writes for

“With sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion stars like [Cindy’s daugh­ter] Kaia Ger­ber cap­tur­ing the pub­lic’s at­ten­tion and a grow­ing push away from the so­cial me­dia-cen­tric ethos that has dom­i­nated cast­ing the last few years, the pub­lic seems hun­gry for mod­els who are rem­i­nis­cent of the ’90s.”

A last­ing legacy

There’s no deny­ing that what’s old is new again.

Yep, while it’s been al­most three decades since Naomi, 47, Cindy, 51, Clau­dia, 47, He­lena, 48, and Carla, 49, ruled the run­ways from Paris to New York, they’ve very much had a resur­gence in re­cent times.

“Who knew that mod­el­ling would have got me all the way to 49?” Cindy said back in 2015. “I re­mem­ber think­ing at age 25 that I had, at most, five years left.”

How wrong she was! Now in her 50s, the mother-of-two is as in-de­mand as ever – grac­ing cov­ers of Vogue, star­ring in Tay­lor Swift’s Bad Blood video and col­lab­o­rat­ing with denim la­bel RE/DONE.

The same can be said for Naomi, who’s re­mained a for­mi­da­ble pres­ence in the in­dus­try she first joined at just 15.

“I don’t think about age and years, I just do what I do,” Naomi told CNN last year.

“I try to stay within the day and I try to stay pos­i­tive and en­thu­si­as­tic about what I com­mit my­self to do.”

Clau­dia is also rid­ing the wave of nos­tal­gia. It was a full-cir­cle mo­ment for the Ger­man beauty in OG su­per­mod­els (from left) Carla Bruni, Clau­dia Schif­fer, Naomi Camp­bell, Cindy Craw­ford and He­lena Chris­tensen close the Ver­sace show with a nod to a fa­mous 1994 ad cam­paign shot by the late Richard Ave­don 2012, when she re­turned as the face of Guess – the very brand that launched her ca­reer in 1989.

She, Cindy and NaomiNao were also picked by Bal­main’s cre­ative di­rec­tor Olivier Rouste­ing to front the French fash­ion house’s Spring/ Sum­mer 2016 cam­paign.

“Work­ing with them, it’s an­oth­era way than work­ing with the mod­els of to­day,” Olivier said at the time. “They know their bod­ies so well. They move at the same time that the cam­era is mov­ing.”

But while the su­pers sup­port­ed­supp each other through thick an­dan thin back in the day, there were still hints of diva an­tics ahead ofo the re­cent Ver­sace show.

“They have a green room each, but they are run­ning in and out of each other’s rooms all day,” Donatella said be­fore the show.s “And be­cause they walk the run­way to­gether, they are ar­guinga

about who gets to go in the mid­dle, just like the old days.”

No sur­prises that it was Naomi who nabbed that spot!

Long live the su­pers

“There will never be any­thing like the era of the su­per­model again,” celeb fash­ion snap­per Peter Lind­bergh said back in 2013. “In the be­gin­ning, those women were a revo­lu­tion.”

That’s prob­a­bly why, to this day, fans and crit­ics hold them in such high re­gard. Even cur­rent It-mod­els like Kendall Jen­ner and Bella and Gigi Ha­did cite the OGS as their main in­flu­encers.

And given that any­one with In­sta­gram can call them­selves a model th­ese days, it’s all the more rea­son to re­spect the ones who made it to the top be­fore the in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia.

“We had to earn our stripes and take our step­ping stones to get to where we have got­ten to ac­com­plish what we have achieved to this date,” Naomi said in 2015, adding that she’d rather be a su­per­model than an In­sta-girl.

Pur­chas­ing power also comes into play with the su­pers, says New York-based cast­ing di­rec­tor Kristi Mc­cormick.

“The women who are shop­ping... can re­late to the iconic mod­els,” she says. “When I see a photo of Christy or Clau­dia, they’re wear­ing a prod­uct or shoes that I could wear, as op­posed to putting them on a 16- or 17-year-old girl.”

Adds UK stylist Cristina Aran­daGar­zon, “There’s a rea­son why the world is still is ob­sessed with ’90s su­per­mod­els. Brains, beauty and per­son­al­ity – they were so sassy and ahead of their time.

“Muses to artists, mu­si­cians and pho­tog­ra­phers, you can’t deny they played a sig­nif­i­cant part in ce­ment­ing that strong ’90s aes­thetic.” n


WHERE WERE CHRISTY & LINDA? Two of the orig­i­nal su­pers were no­tice­ably miss­ing from the Ver­sace “Free­dom” trib­ute. Christy, 48, was in Ber­lin get­ting ready to run a 42km marathon, while Linda, 52 – who now fo­cuses on “phil­an­thropic work” over mod­el­ling – was spot­ted look­ing like just an­other rugged-up trav­eller as she caught a flight out of New York on Septem­ber 24. The Free­dom mo­ment! Linda, Cindy, Naomi and Christy close Ver­sace’s 1991 show

Af­ter miss­ing the run­way re­union, Linda flies un­der the radar at the air­port in New York

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