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“Enter the Age of Elegance”, read the cover of Harper’s BazaarSeptember 1992 issue, and it was the models that represented this credo. From ’80s powerhouses like Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, and Cindy Crawford to newcomers like Kate Moss, Alek Wek, and Jenny Shimizu, these diverse beauties have crossed narrow and esoteric boundaries, stepping off the track and onto the world stage.
A quote from Evangelista best describes their ancestry. “We don’t wake up for less than $ 10,000 a day,” she joked in 1990. Previously, we brought together the biggest names who made the bank, made the headlines and fully embodied the models of the 90s with a capital S.
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Heralded as the ultimate chameleon, the Canadian model walked through the 90s changing her hairstyle and making headlines. From a black pixie cut to a bright red bob to a platinum blonde headdress, Evangelista’s looks season after season have captured the attention of a myriad of designers, who have made her the face of campaigns and the centerpiece of the parades.
Campbell is the queen of the catwalks. So much so that Beyoncé immortalized her signature in “Get Me Bodied”, encouraging listeners to “walk across the room like Naomi Campbell”. And while this English beauty has received great success, her rise to the top has been met with adversities. She was often the only black model in lineups, campaigns and editorial shoots – a pervasive mindset that she fought to reverse throughout her illustrious career.
More than most, Crawford’s fame in the 90s replaced the industry. She was – and still is – a cultural icon, featuring not only a myriad of fashion campaigns, but Pepsi commercials as well. Its appearance on the small screen also extended to accommodation. Style house on MTV. With her distinct beauty mark, her face was glued to billboards and advertisements. And now his daughter, Kaia Gerber, is following in his famous footsteps.
Discovered at a nightclub in Düsseldorf, Germany, Schiffer – with her luscious blonde locks, smoky eyes and plump pout – was billed as Brigitte Bardot’s second coming. Karl Lagerfeld was a fan, taking her under his wing and making her the face of Chanel – a distinction she received with other labels, including Guess. She would gain cover after cover, currently holding the record in the Guinness Book of World Records. And with the aforementioned models, Schiffer was a member of the Big Five.
In some cases, Patitz is the one who rounds up the Big Five. Born in Germany and raised in Sweden, the sculptural blonde with murderous eyebrows has led the campaigns of Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Revlon, Cartier, L’Oréal, and more. But she is perhaps best known for starring in the music video for George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90, alongside Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista.
Kate Moss’s entry into the fashion industry has been somewhat controversial. Discovered at a London airport at the age of 14, her wasp-shaped figure contrasted with the Amazonian bodies that preceded her. Indeed, she was the poster child of the grunge style that permeated much of the ’90s – and her party lifestyle and streak of famous relationships only increased that reputation. Yet his name has crossed industry barriers, becoming part of the lexicon of pop culture.
From model to media mogul, Banks’ career has been a series of epic heights. She conquered her first season of catwalks at Paris Fashion Week, booked editorial shoots in all the top glossies, signed lucrative contracts with CoverGirl and Victoria’s Secret, and became the first black model to face the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Number. But it was his moves outside of the industry that propelled Banks to the upper echelons of fame. She starred in a number of movies and TV shows, recorded music albums, founded charities, and created the Monster. The next American top model, which worked for 24 cycles.
Like Banks, Klum converted his modeling success to other media ventures. The German beauty has gone from the limelight to campaigns for Marc Jacobs and is spreading for Harper’s Bazaar become the face of Victoria’s Secret and appear in movies and TV shows. She later joined the judges’ table to America has talent, Project track, and Make the cut, that it also produces. And if that’s not enough, the serial entrepreneur has an eponymous lingerie collection.
Kimora Lee Simmons
At the tender age of 13, Simmons was signed by Karl Lagerfeld to Chanel, who considered her the “face of the 21st century”. Brands like Fendi, Valentino and Yves Saint Laurent have also noticed. Then, after marrying entrepreneur Russell Simmons, she founded Baby Phat – eventually becoming the president of her parent company, Phat Farm, which raised $ 265 million in profits in 2002. She also established the Kimora Lee Simmons Scholarship Fund and is involved in a number of charities.
Carla Bruni Sarkozy
Sarkozy has walked all of her major designer catwalks, appeared in countless fashion editorials, and led campaign after campaign. And although she was not openly active politically in her heyday as a model, the Italian native was introduced into public affairs when she married President Nicolas Sarkozy and became France’s first lady. Since her husband left office, she has been cultivating her musical career, releasing a number of rented albums.
Raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Valletta quickly went from country girl to seductress (her scorching campaigns for Prada, Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein and Elizabeth Arden are proof of that). Still, her girl-next-door attitude never went completely away, especially when she hosted MTVs. Style house with BFF Shalom Harlow taking the reins from Cindy Crawford. She then set her sights on Hollywood, garnering a number of film and TV credits on IMDb, including Coupling, What is below, and Revenge.
Like her compatriot Linda Evangelista, Harlow was recognized for her feline appearance – which designers from Isaac Mizrahi to Alexander McQueen to Marc Jacobs have all used on their catwalks and in their campaigns. And with her frequent collaborator, Amber Valletta, she co-hosted Style house, and integrated into the film industry with How to lose a guy in 10 days and Vanilla sky.
When Wek first arrived on the fashion scene, there were certainly the best black models out there, but none like her. “When I saw Alek, I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I couldn’t deny,” actress Lupita Nyong’o said at the Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, by Gasoline. “Now I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the distant keepers of beauty, but around me the preference for fair skin prevailed. Indeed, the South Sudanese Briton has changed the standards, walking the catwalks of big brands and honoring advertisements, shattering the idea that those with a fairer complexion are the only ones attracting the masses.
Asian, five foot seven and a proud and proud lesbian, Jenny Shimizu does not fit in any prescribed box. Still, the California native persevered in the fashion industry, becoming the first Asian model to walk a major runway (Prada) and star in campaigns for Calvin Klein, Hourglass Cosmetics and Banana Republic. She has also appeared in a film alongside Angelina Jolie (who she is said to have dated) and served as a judge on Make me a top model.
Christensen began her career in competitions, winning the Miss Denmark in 1986 and representing the nation at the Miss Universe event that year. With this notoriety, she entered the fold of fashion, appearing in catwalks and campaigns for Valentino, Prada, Chanel and Revlon, which made her the spokesperson for the brand in 1992. A few years before, Christensen starred in the music video for Chris Isaak’s song “Wicked Game”, which is considered one of the sexiest videos of all time. Lately, she has moved behind the camera, becoming an accomplished photographer, while also becoming a climate change awareness advocate.
Born in Montreal to a German mother and an Indian father to a Muslim family, Ghauri ignored her father’s deterrence from embarking on a career in fashion. His challenge turned out to be a success. She landed big contracts with Valentino, Victoria’s Secret and Christian Dior, and appeared in fashion publications of big glossies.
Born in Los Angeles, Peele began modeling at age 12 for small brands, eventually becoming a powerhouse on the catwalks of Comme des Garçons, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and Versace. His editorial appearances were equally impressive, gracing over 250 covers before retiring from the fashion industry in the mid-90s.
Favorite model of photographers, especially Helmut Newton, Auermann’s blonde locks and piercing blue eyes were far from gentle and innocent. No, her look was akin to femme fatales like Marlene Dietrich and Lauren Bacall, women who exuded sex appeal while in total control of their personalities. And designers – from Jean Paul Gaultier to Christian Dior to Yves Saint Laurent – have also taken note of these qualities, placing the German native at the center of their fashion shows and advertising campaigns.
Blankets of Harper’s Bazaar at Playboy to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Number, Seymour (perhaps more than most) was famous for his incredible figure. Indeed, photographer Richard Avedon said, by People, that she had the “prefect body” – a distinction that brands like Versace, Alaïa and Victoria’s Secret have emphasized on their catwalks and in their campaigns. And for music fans, the California native is best known for appearing in the Guns N ‘Roses video for “November Rain”.
Cited as an unconventional beauty, McMenamy was nonetheless famous for her androgyny. Fortunately, she ignored the advice of model agent Eileen Ford, who encouraged her to have plastic surgery. From labels like Chanel, Versace and Comme des Garçons to photographers like Steven Meisel and Juergen Teller, the fashion industry has embraced the uniqueness of the Pennsylvania native.
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