Supermodels are models with a unique combination of exceptional beauty, distinctive features, and unparalleled charisma. Since the 1960s, these extraordinary figures have captivated the fashion industry and left a lasting impact on our cultural landscape.
Fast forward to 1990s supermodels, who reached commercial peaks and became household names. In today’s digital age, these icons have adapted to use social media platforms to connect with fans and influence fashion trends globally.
They have evolved into entrepreneurs, influencers, and role models, their legacy extending far beyond the flashes of fashion photography.
Canadian model Linda Evangelista gained fame in the 1990s as one of the most talented and versatile models. Known for the phrase, “I don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day,” Evangelista became known for her chameleon-like ability to reinvent her image constantly.
This adaptability made her a muse for photographers like Steven Meisel and designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Gianni Versace, significantly influencing fashion trends. Famously, she appeared in George Michael’s Freedom music video.
Naomi Campbell is a British supermodel known for her distinctive runway walk and strong presence in the fashion industry since the late 1980s. Campbell was the first Black model to appear on the cover of French Vogue and Time Magazine, significantly influencing diversity in fashion.
She graced advertising campaigns for top luxury brands like Fendi, Burberry, and Alexander McQueen through the years. Beyond modeling, her foray into acting further showcases her diverse talents.
American supermodel Kendall Jenner began her career in 2009. Since then, her work with high-profile brands like Gucci, Bottega Veneta, and Prada has helped cement her status as a contemporary icon.
Jenner’s substantial social media presence, with over 290 million followers, amplifies her impact. From Vogue to ELLE, the star has landed countless covers. She has become a symbol of the modern fashion influencer, blending traditional modeling with digital-age celebrity.
Twiggy, an English model and cultural icon, revolutionized fashion in the 1960s with her androgynous look and pixie haircut. Her distinctive style, characterized by large eyes accented with dramatic makeup, became a symbol of the era.
She posed for notable photographers throughout her career, including Richard Avedon, Bert Stern, and Cecil Beaton. Even today, she is noted for her beauty, landing campaigns for beauty brands such as Olay, L’Oreal, and Charlotte Tilbury.
Lauren Hutton, an American model and actress, brought a unique and natural beauty to the fashion scene in the 1960s and 1970s. Famous for her gap-toothed smile, Hutton challenged conventional beauty standards.
She has graced numerous magazines, including 26 Vogue covers and became a pioneering figure in advocating for longevity in the industry. Her appearances in films like American Gigolo and The Gambler cemented her legacy in the world of cinema.
Bella Hadid gained fame in the era of social media, beginning her modeling journey in 2014. The American model is renowned for her striking features and unique runway presence. She has appeared in advertisements for leading brands like Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, and Versace.
From commercial to high fashion, the brunette model does it all. Her influence extends to social media, where she is often praised for her personal style. This model embraces cutting-edge trends in fashion and beauty.
Gisele Bundchen, a Brazilian supermodel, has been dominant in the modeling industry since the late 1990s. Bundchen, celebrated for her runway prowess as a Victoria’s Secret Angel, brought a wave of Brazilian models to the fashion forefront.
She went on the appear in advertisements for Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, and Valentino. Her environmental activism and business ventures further enhance her global reputation, making her a multifaceted personality in the fashion world.
American model Cindy Crawford rose to fame in the 1980s and 1990s, becoming a symbol for girl next door glamour. Known for her trademark mole above her lip, Crawford’s all-American look made her a favorite in commercial campaigns for brands like Pepsi and on magazine covers.
She broadened her career into television and business, creating a successful fitness video series called Shape Your Body Workout and an anti-aging beauty brand called Meaningful Beauty.
Christy Turlington is an American beauty who became known as one of the most famous 90s supermodels. Her elegant and classic looks easily made her a star, landing a beauty contract with Maybelline.
Turlington appeared on numerous magazine covers and was a favorite of Calvin Klein, appearing in the Eternity perfume ad with her husband Edward Burns. She also gained recognition for her philanthropy, particularly her advocacy for maternal health with the non-profit organization Every Mother Counts.
Liu Wen, hailing from China, has helped break barriers in the fashion industry. She achieved a milestone by becoming the first East Asian model to walk for Victoria’s Secret. Through the years, Liu worked with the industry’s top names, including Gucci, Bulgari, and Giorgio Armani.
The leading face also graced the cover of American Vogue three times. Her success has paved the way for more Asian models in the fashion industry, making her a symbol of a changing landscape.
British model Kate Moss rose to fame during the 90s. Known for her waifish figure and unique look, Moss became the face of the “heroin chic” fashion trend. At 5’7″, she defied convention as a short model on the runway.
However, her style and presence greatly impacted the fashion industry, challenging the traditional notions of beauty. Moss has been featured in ad campaigns for top designers like Marc Jacobs, Saint Laurent, and Balenciaga. The icon has appeared on the cover of British Vogue 43 times, a rare feat.
German model Claudia Schiffer became one of the most successful models of the 1990s, known for her resemblance to Brigitte Bardot. The model’s blonde hair and blue eyes made her a prominent figure in the industry, appearing on over 1000 magazine covers.
Her work with Chanel and Guess shot her to international fame. Beyond modeling, Schiffer ventured into business, creating a makeup line and working on fashion collaborations with brands like FRAME.
Tyra Banks, an American model, broke barriers as the first Black woman on the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. As one of the most famous Victoria’s Secret Angels, she owned the runway with her sultry walk.
Banks expanded her career into television, creating and hosting the successful show America’s Next Top Model. With international editions of the show making stars across the globe, her work has a lasting impact worldwide.
Recognized for her versatile and enduring career, Helena Christensen hails from Denmark. Starting in the 1990s, she became one of the prominent figures in the modeling world. After appearing in the Wicked Game music video with Chris Isaak, Helena was a certified star.
Christensen’s distinct brunette hair and green eyes have earned her international acclaim with a beauty contract for Revlon. Beyond modeling, she also works as a photographer, showing her artistic talents.
British model Cara Delevingne is renowned for her distinctive eyebrows and edgy style. Bursting onto the scene in the 2010s, Delevingne quickly became a fashion industry favorite, walking for prestigious designers.
She graced numerous magazine covers for international editions of Vogue, ELLE, and Harper’s Bazaar. Her acting transition in films like Paper Towns and Suicide Squad showed her influence beyond the runway. Cara also advocates for LGBTQIA+ and environmental issues.
Adriana Lima, a beauty from Brazil, has been a prominent figure in fashion modeling since the late 1990s. Known for her work with Victoria’s Secret and Maybelline, Lima’s unique beauty and charismatic presence have made her one of the most recognizable models globally.
Beyond her commercial work, she walked the runway for labels such as Giorgio Armani, Valentino, and Versace. She’s also known for her philanthropic work, supporting children’s hospitals and orphanages.
Ashley Graham has been a transformative force in the fashion industry. The plus-size model is celebrated for her body positivity advocacy and her role in challenging conventional beauty standards.
Launching her career in the early 2000s, a significant moment in her career was featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, where she was among the first plus-size models to appear. Her presence on Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Glamour covers has cemented her status in the fashion world.
English beauty Karen Elson’s rise into the fashion world was marked by the model’s distinctive red hair and absence of eyebrows, a bold aesthetic choice that set her apart. Her unique look made her a muse for major fashion houses, including Chanel and Versace.
She also became a regular on the covers of prestigious magazines like Vogue and W. Aside from modeling, Elson has pursued music, releasing albums that reflect her folk-inspired musical taste.
Iman is a trailblazer in the fashion industry celebrated for her modeling achievements as well as her entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors. Discovered in Nairobi, she quickly rose to fame, captivating designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Thierry Mugler with her statuesque figure and unique beauty.
Her appearances on the covers of major magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar broke new ground for African models. Iman’s influence extended beyond the runway when she launched her own cosmetics line, catering to a diverse range of skin tones.
German model Heidi Klum gained international fame for her work with Victoria’s Secret, becoming one of their celebrated Angels. Klum’s charisma led her to become the host and judge of the reality TV show Project Runway, where she helped bring fashion design to mainstream television.
The supermodel has also designed her own lingerie and swimwear brand, showcasing her acumen for business. Forbes has named her as one of the world’s highest-paid models, showing her charm has gone all the way to the bank.
Liya Kebede, an Ethiopian model, is one of the most prominent faces in fashion, known for her elegant and poised presence on runways. Her gorgeous features have landed her beauty contracts with companies like L’Oreal and Estee Lauder.
Kebede’s influence transcends modeling. She is a dedicated maternal health advocate and founded the Liya Kebede Foundation to improve healthcare for mothers and children in developing countries. She also established Lemlem, a clothing brand, to highlight Ethiopia’s traditional weaving techniques.
Christie Brinkley, an iconic figure in modeling, began her illustrious career in the 1970s. She gained worldwide fame after appearing on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover for three consecutive years, from 1979 to 1981.
Brinkley’s girl-next-door charm and photogenic quality made her a favorite for numerous magazine covers, including Vogue, Esquire, and Glamour. Her career expanded beyond modeling as she ventured into acting and television and became a successful entrepreneur.
Gigi Hadid, a name synonymous with contemporary modeling, rose to prominence in the early 2010s. Her breakthrough came with high-profile gigs for brands like Guess and later, her debut in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2015.
Hadid’s presence has made her a sought-after model, gracing the covers of Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar. Her career highlights include walking for esteemed fashion houses such as Chanel, Marc Jacobs, and Versace. In 2022, she launched her own cashmere line called Guest in Residence.
Stephanie Seymour began modeling in the late 1980s and quickly rose to fame. She became a household name in the 1990s, known for her appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and her work with Victoria’s Secret.
Seymour’s beauty landed her on the covers of Vogue and Playboy, showcasing her versatility as a model. She has walked the runway for high-end fashion brands like Versace and Marc Jacobs, solidifying her status in the fashion industry.
Alek Wek’s career is a remarkable tale of breaking barriers and redefining beauty standards. Hailing from South Sudan, Wek began her modeling journey in the mid-1990s. She quickly garnered attention for her distinctive features and became the first African model to appear on the cover of Elle magazine in 1997.
Wek’s success challenged the conventional perceptions of beauty in the fashion industry, paving the way for more diverse representation. Throughout her work, she has walked for leading fashion houses like Chanel, Givenchy, and Gucci.
Karlie Kloss, known for her dynamic presence, emerged as a leading model in the late 2000s. Her career soared with her debut in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and her frequent appearances in American Vogue.
Kloss has walked for a plethora of high-end fashion brands, including Dior, Alexander McQueen, and Versace, showcasing her versatility as a model. Her distinct runway walk and striking features have made her a favorite in the industry.
Hailing from South Africa, supermodel Candice Swanepoel began her career in the mid-2000s and quickly made a name for herself. She gained international recognition as a Victoria’s Secret Angel, a role that catapulted her to superstardom in the fashion industry.
Her striking features have made her a favorite for high-profile campaigns and runway shows, working with luxury brands like Chanel, Fendi, and Tommy Hilfiger. She also founded her own swimsuit line called Tropic of C.
The saga of supermodels extends far beyond conventional beauty, marking a story of profound transformation and widespread influence. These icons have transcended traditional modeling roles, venturing into entrepreneurship and activism, broadening their influence.
As they continue to redefine fashion and beauty standards, their enduring legacies highlight the power of women in crafting and altering cultural dialogues.