The 90s supermodels had world recognition, received colossal fees, and collaborated with leading designers and world-famous brands. The media actively covered their careers and personal lives on the front of magazine covers and newspapers.
Since the 70s, fashion shows became more and more renowned, the models graced massive catwalks, and the audience consisted of celebrities and journalists. The media spotlighted not only the designer collection itself but also the names of the models, contributing to the fact that the girls became celebrities whose careers grew far beyond the catwalks.
Read on, and you will learn about the “Golden Five” fashion models of the ’90s, which we know as supermodels.
The 90s supermodels were born
Many have claimed to have invented the term “supermodel,” but we know the word was first used by model agent Clyde Matthews in 1943 in his manual for novice models, “So You Want to Be A Model!”
Many years later, the supermodel word was getting thrown around. In 1968, Glamour magazine covers showcased 19 girls as supermodels, among whom was the famous Twiggy, imitated by millions of girls worldwide.
Who invented the word “Supermodel”?
In 1979 American model Janice Doreen Dickinson said that she invented and first used the word “supermodel,” combining the words “model” and “superwoman” speaking about herself.
Despite this, fashion historians credit Lisa Fonssagrives for being the first Supermodel and gracing fashion magazine covers such as Vogue.
The ’80s were here, and the word supermodel was getting increasingly popular in the fashion world.
High Profile Supermodels 90’s!
In the early 90s, everything changed, and models from your favorite magazine covers became celebrity models!
No one yet had reached the heights of the “Golden five” supermodels of the 90s: Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, and Tatjana Patitz.
The legendary British Vogue Cover
Vogue editor Liz Tilberis asked Peter Lindbergh to photograph a specific supermodel of the 90s, and they came up with the idea to put five on the iconic British Vogue cover!
Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, and Christy Turlington were chosen for the cover of the legendary British Vogue issue! They made a splash, which set a new standard in the fashion industry “Supermodel of the 90s”.
George Michael invited the supermodels to make cameos on his hit ’90s song Freedom!
Editors, leading designers, and photographers – all to one degree or another participated in the formation of supermodels as superstars. Gianni Versace and Gianfranco Ferre, one of the first, began to pay exorbitant fees to a small group of top models and sign exclusive contracts with them.
Soon, several more 90’s supermodels joined the wave, including german model Claudia Schiffer and Kate Moss, without whom the world of fashion of the 90s is simply impossible to imagine.
The doors were opened.
In addition to the “Golden Five” supermodels, who opened the doors for other high-paid supermodels on the fashion scene, including Victoria’s Secret angels Tyra Banks and Stephanie Seymour.
German beauties Heidi Klum, Nadja Auermann, and Helena Christensen took part in the Miss Universe competition in 1986. Karen Mulder, Laetitia Casta, Czech supermodel Eva Herzigova, Canadian model Yasmeen Ghauri and the future first lady of France Carla Bruni.
This inspired creativity of designs outfits that all had a unique style.
However, all photographs look relevant today, and most trends have just returned to us from the 90s.
Crawford, signed with elite model management with her distinct beauty mark, is a legend of the era of the supermodel 90s era and a world-renowned fashion icon. She gave us numerous magazine covers and advertising campaigns, many of which became cult.
Still in trend
After filming an advert in short denim shorts, drinking Pepsi, the advert was regarded as the sexiest in the history of advertising at that time.
Even after 30 years, shorts and tops, like Crawford wore in the Pepsi advert, are still prevalent in fashion, like many other images from advertising campaigns she took part in.
Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue
Cindy caused a stir in the fashion world when she posed half-naked on the cover of sports illustrated swimsuit issue.
Aside from posing for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in the 90s, Cindy posed naked for Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine!
According to Playboy magazine, Cindy was ranked fifth in the list of the 100 most sexy cover girls of the 20th century.
In 1992, Crawford released her first workout video, the “Cindy Crawford: Shape Your Body” workout, which remained a best-seller for a decade!
In 1993 Cindy Crawford: The Next Challenge in 1993, and Cindy Crawford: a New Dimension in 2000.
Her workout video tutorials are based on exciting workouts developed by her coach Radu Teodorescu.
“Cindy” Barbie doll
Toy giants Mattel – manufacturers of the Barbie Doll, collaborated with Cindy for the release of her own Barbie doll in 2015, joining other A-list stars, including Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce.
The Supermodel no longer appears on the catwalks but continues to star on magazine covers and is engaged in business interests. According to Crawford, she is guiding her children – Kaia and Presley, in the modeling industry.
In September 2021, at Paris Fashion Week, a Fendi show was held, and the supermodels of the 90s returned, including 52-year-old Christy Turlington.
A new look at strict dressing code
Christy Turlington showed women how to master men’s wear, such as suits. Often spotted looking chic, this fashion style was popular for women in the 90s and beyond.
Her new purposes
Having made the list of “50 most beautiful people in the world” in 1994 during her modeling heyday, Christy unexpectedly decided to take a short pause and devote her time to education.
As a result, she received a bachelor’s degree in humanities specializing in comparative religious studies and eastern philosophy.
However, catwalks and photo shoots remained part of Turlington’s life, but now she is focused on new purposes and projects such as business, charity, and sports initiatives.
In 2009, she continued her studies at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
“Every Mother Counts”
Charity occupies an important place in her life. Turlington collaborates with several humanitarian organizations, but one of her main projects is the non-profit organization “Every Mother Counts,” which helps make pregnancy and childbirth safe and maintains funds to support programs of maternal health protection around the world.
However, according to Turlington, she wants to be remembered by people as a good person and not at all as a cult fashion icon.
Naomi Cambell first hit the fashion scene at 16. In 1986, before turning 16, a model scout spotted Naomi during a shopping trip in the Covent-Garden area, and she ended up signing with elite model management.
The legendary model was nicknamed a Black Panther for her extraordinary plasticity and skin color.
Her role in the fashion industry should not be underestimated. She became the first black model to grace the covers of French and English gloss magazines Vogue and Time magazine.
Naomi has always been a distinguished explosive character and can get out of any situation with dignity and chic. “I have never looked plain in my life,” she spoke about her five-day community service experience causing a stir with the paparazzi and turning it into a fashion show for the media!
Her contribution to the promotion of diversity in the world of fashion
In July 2008, Italian Vogue dedicated its magazine to all black women in fashion and culture. A fashion magazine issue with Naomi on the cover sold out within 72 hours, and the publishing house had to print extra copies for circulation in the US and Europe.
The Black Panther
The Black Panther continues to popularize African fashion and African designers. In 2018, she turned to Condé Nast International Publishing House with a request to launch the African version of Vogue magazine to talk about the achievements of the fashion industry in the continent. Campbell has always supported Fashion Week in Lagos as a model and expert.
Nowadays, Naomi Campbell often appears at the shows of famous fashion houses, on talk shows, and in media around the world.
In the 90s, Linda Evangelista was a star on the podium and at all the fashionable parties, and her statements became winged phrases. Together with Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell, they became the superstars of the catwalk.
Linda, undoubtedly, is one of the universal models in history, and hardly anyone else can boast of such a frequent change in her image – she changed the color of her hair 17 times in 5 years!
Short hair cut
At the beginning of her modeling career, a short haircut put Linda in the spotlight. She cut her curls on the advice of well-renowned photographer Peter Lindbergh, the “godfather” of all the “Golden Five” of supermodels.
The risk justified itself – the hairstyle “as Linda” became a hit in thousands of beauty salons worldwide!
“I’m tired of seeing this haircut at everyone – every stewardess, every saleswoman, and in every restaurant,” – Linda said.
The haircut became part of her image, so she continued to wear this hairstyle during her modeling heyday.
“I won’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day.”
Her phrase about the unwillingness to get out of bed for less than 10 thousand dollars went viral, and Linda was indeed one of the highest-paid fashion models.
In the 90s, the Supermodel Tatyana Patitz was a member of the American Vogue stars together with Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Kate Moss. Unlike her colleagues, the girl loved to sit alone or banally sleep to look fresh the next day and be ready to work.
From the very beginning, she was different from other supermodels. Models after the runway shows went to parties, but Tatjana went home to bed. Tatyana avoided the celebrity lifestyle that so many models had become accustomed to.
She appeared on the cover of over 200 magazines and worked as a model at the Chanel, Calvin Klein, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Chloe fashion shows.
She made her debut in the cinema – in the “Rising Sun” with Sean Connery … And suddenly, she cut off connection with the modeling industry and left the spotlight.
She chose harmony
Tatjana wanted to stop being public and stay far away from the cameras. She searched for a house on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, where the waves roll in on a sandy beach. She rebuilt her new home and designed and decorated everything with her personality.
Tatjana Patitz contributed to the fashion world, but she just wanted a simple life.
The era sunset of 90’s supermodels
In the mid-1990s, cinema stars, such as Julia Roberts, Salma Hayek, and Halle Berry, as well as pop music stars, gradually began to take the Supermodel places on the front covers of magazines and advertising, which marked, to some extent, the beginning of the end of the supermodel era.
By the mid-90s, with the departure of that “Golden Five,” model standards swung towards extremes: “heroin chic,” the representative of which was the young Kate Moss, and “Brazilian boom,” which was personified by Victoria’s Secret angel Gisele Bundchen.
A few theories of conspiracy
The change of priorities in fashion caused rumors about the “theories of conspiracy” against supermodels.
It was assumed that the top models began to dictate their conditions to the world, which caused discontent and corresponding measures from designers and editors of fashion magazines.
According to another theory, the reason for the extinction of the Supermodel was a change in fashion trends. The requirements for the type of models reflecting trends have changed.
Many well-known designers began to create less shocking clothes and hire less glamorous models, believing that the main emphasis should be on shown collections and not on the model’s personality.
Another theory of the decline in popularity of supermodels is associated with exorbitant fees, which in turn entailed an increase in earnings which set the industry standard. Many designers did not want or could no longer pay such fees.
Is the return of the 90s supermodels possible?
With body positivity and ageism trends, the idols of the early 90s returned to the covers and catwalks, which in previous times would just not have happened.
Carla Bruni, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, and Claudia Schiffer participated in the Versace autumn show in 2017. German beauty Schiffer has starred naked for several covers, including Italian Vogue.
Now many people think that the era of famous supermodels will never happen again because, in the present time, the fashion industry changes so fast and that it is near impossible to stay at the top for long!