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The Supermodel

The Supermodel

“The word ‘supermodel’ is used loosely these days” — Naomi Campbell

We’ve all heard their names: Gisele, Kate, Linda, Christy, Naomi. They are the original beauties who turned the profession of a supermodel into that of a celebrity during the 90s. You could say a lot has changed since then. Models are everywhere and the fashion community is much more welcoming to fresh faces, especially when they carry superstar potential. And let’s face it, nowadays it seems like lots of models are on their way to lifetime fame. Of course, not everyone agrees…

Leave it to Naomi Campbell to boldly break the silence on today’s use of the “super” label, which she believes is thrown around often without consideration of what it really means to have supermodel status. Like, look at that girl on the runway. Sure, she’s beautiful, young, and flawless, but can she technically be called supermodel? What does it even mean to be a supermodel? Is it a measure of financial success or an impeccable portfolio? Or, do you need a secret superpower?

- Ricardo

Photo by Peter Lindbergh.


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19 comments

Add yours
  • veronica March, 12 2014, 11:51 / Reply

    I love this photo! !!
    Passa a trovarmi VeryFP

  • andreea March, 12 2014, 11:51

    miss campbell should get over herself. the supermodel tag was just another marketing scheme and that’s that…

    http://littleaesthete.com

  • Anastasia March, 12 2014, 12:14 / Reply

    I think strong and unique personality defines a supermodel from a model. Supermodel should also be very very successful (obviously), glamorous and sort of out of reach. However, I wouldn’t call Cara a supermodel – she’s way too… Quirky, I guess.

  • JENMA March, 12 2014, 12:36 / Reply

    J’adore cette photo, je l’vais au dessus de mon lit quand j’étais ado..
    Je pense qu’aujourd’hui, a part Gisele personne ne mérite ce surnom de Top Model. Naomie, Kate, Carla, Christie, Klaudia, Cindy sont des icônes intouchables ! C’était une autre époque, on ne peut pas comparer avec les défile actuels.

  • Ali March, 12 2014, 1:06 / Reply

    Je suis bien d’accord, toutes les starlettes mannequin qui font du bruit sur instagram ne peuvent pas être consacrées comme super/top model. Personnellement la seule a qui j’attribuerais cette étiquette c’est Gigi Bundchen !
    baci, Ali
    http://www.alidifirenze.fr

  • Sira March, 12 2014, 1:08 / Reply

    Ooooooh, Riccardo, please, can I see your pic??!! You raise so many good questions that I’m sure we can be good friends and talk for hours about fahion and top models ! lol
    Well, it’s true than now I feel like a today top model is a really good-looking model, who is a Victoria secret angel, who knows how to use instagram and is a master of selfie and is famous for her immaculate beach body for Victoria Secret, Sport Illustrated, video clips… So she’s usually on lingerie or bikini… But I miss the high-profile editorials and covers of Gisele, Linda Evangelista, Naomi, Helena Christensen, Claudia Schiffer, : they were caméléons and versatile. One day they could be the muse for Lindberg, Avedon, Meisel, do super stylish and striking campaigns for Versace, Vogue Italia, etc. And another day they can appear more laid-back. Back at that time, the campaigns were just impressive. Today, I think that Karlie can be that versatile but the brands don’t play the game anymore.

    Is it the fault then of the brands and photographers, who prefer to book the typical unknown and young model face since 2000′s? Maybe they are the ones to blame for not willing to believe in one girl and turn her into a top model. Sorry but for me, Miranda, Candice, Alessandra, etc. are not super top models. They are famous models. See the difference?

  • Bella March, 12 2014, 2:02 / Reply

    As far as I know Gisele is not one of the original supers; she came later. Kate came at the end of the super hype, and before Gisele.
    I don’t think that there will ever be *real* supermodels in that 80′s-90′s way ever again. there are just too many of these girls, here today and gone tomorrow. Also, a lot of sought after models just don’t have the poise, the polish and the icon status that the original girls had. Cara Delevigne is having a moment, but her behaviour makes her common and topples her from her potential pedestal.
    I also believe that social media make models a lot more accessible and unfortunately reveal a whole lot of flawed, all too human behaviour, which also makes it really hard for them to maintain that special mystery something that should go along with the pinnacle of celebrity.

  • It's About L.A March, 12 2014, 2:35 / Reply

    Il est bien vrai que ces filles la ne peuvent être comparé à celles de maintenant, mais il ne faut tout même pas dénigrer celles d’aujourd’hui, certaines méritent bien leur places dans le milieu.
    L.A

  • Marie March, 12 2014, 3:29 / Reply

    I honestly think some of these ageing “supers” just want to to snag that label for themselves. The only way it was different was really that there was a smaller group of models being used all the time, rather than the constant influx of new models we have today.
    Of course Claudia and Cindy were hot, today’s catwalk models are not – they’re tomboysih, but that’s another issue.

    There are plenty of younger models from the later generation that are just as beautiful and captivating – Natalia Vodianova etc.

    They’re just models, and I honestly don’t find Naomi that special. But everybody over a certain age will always think “it was better then”. I’d reserve the word “super” for women actually making a difference in the world. A supermodel or just a model – I don’t see why it should matter.

  • Yulia Yemelianova March, 12 2014, 5:20 / Reply

    I personally feel glad that the era of supermodels is over. I like the new faces spinning around each season.
    And I dislike when some models get too big and ‘super-’ and distract attention from clothes or styling they represent in a shoot or on a runway. (I wish Cara got lost from fasion radars)
    So I’d leave the word ‘super’ to the models from the era that is, lickily, gone.

    http://yuliayemelianova.com/

  • virginie/mode9 March, 12 2014, 5:34 / Reply

    L’époque durant laquelle je bossais dans la mode !! je ne sais pas trop à quoi tient cette starification, hormis que ces filles étaient wahou hors normes. Très franchement ce n’est vraiment plus le cas aujourd’hui. Mais le microcosme de la mode pense toujours que le monde tourne autour de leur planète alors que les gens se moquent éperdument de qui a fait la dernière campagne machin ou untel !
    http://www.mode9.fr

  • Sylvie March, 12 2014, 6:52 / Reply

    I’d love to see some photos of these women now…to see their personal style/lookas they age. Would be neat.

  • 33 March, 12 2014, 7:06 / Reply

    Good question. Supermodels.

    Don’t think there’d be any real supermodels. There will be in demand models and models who are more financially successful. Supermodels died with Super Nova (Natalia Vodianova), Kate Moss, and Giselle Bunchen.

    Social media sort of ruins it. Knowing too much about models/celebrities isn’t a good thing. It makes them “common”.

    There are so many tall, skinny girls with great facial structure on runways today, from all over the world. The competition and options are just out of this world. Some stand out and how long can they last in this business that constantly seeking new blood/face?

    what I am dying to know is what happen to the ones no longer on the runway?? what’s their life after being a runway model in major fashion week? do they go college and end up an accountant/school teacher/engineer? do they end up in some sheik’s harem? do they die from drug overdose? do they get married and become a suburban housewife? do they languish in catalog works (get more and more obscure)?

    Please write something about life after runway for those models with names not household (Karlie, Cara, Jac, Miranda…).

  • Jill March, 12 2014, 7:20 / Reply

    I don’t think we’ll see “supers” again anytime soon. In one sense I’m glad that the field is more open to quirkier, more “normal” models, but on the other hand…I grew up in the days of the original supers and I miss them. They were all SO lovely, so seemingly rarefied, so seemingly out of reach that they were celebs in their own right. Plus, they were (mostly…before Kate, and I love Kate Moss…) WOMEN. They had some breasts, some curves, they were fuller-bodied in many cases than most of the girls modeling today. Remember how it was “news” somewhat recently when Prada and some other houses were using busty models on their runways?? Well as a non-A-cup gal myself, it was nice to see a more womanly physique shown regularly (Gisele notwithstanding). I do consider Gisele a super, and Kate is in a field all her own, but after a while the rest of them all just blend together for me. Nothing against them. Just that a lot of the models today don’t seem to have that magic (real or imagined!) of the actual Supes.

  • Cmoi March, 13 2014, 4:17 / Reply

    Very interesting post and very interesting answers too on the comments.
    I believe we can say that for every field where there is a celebrity system, actresses and movies, singers and music etc.. Anything is just not the way as it where before. Even in our simple life.
    Internet and social media may did this bigger cause we are able to find and see anything at any time as long as someone has an account somewhere so of course a lot of mystery is gone and things are taking for granted.
    I will agree that those girls were the first to get the title of a Supermodel and that there were that small group being used all the time. Now that things changed and everybody seem to seek constantly new blood/faces, that crown is almost impossible to be kept with that outstanding competition.

  • Vanessa March, 14 2014, 12:55 / Reply

    There is nothing “super” about the models of today. They are all objects of their own self promotion via their twits and pictures. Who needs to see a picture of Gisele meditating? If she were serious about her meditation, she would not have someone taking her picture. A true meditation is private. Miranda taking “selfies” is so conceited and thus is vulgar. The girls start modeling too early and thus they never grow out of that teenage self centeredness. They need to stay in high school where they learn to keep their ego in check because their peers do not like an egotistical girl. She will have no true friends unless she cares for other people’s feelings. So she will learn to think before speaks.

  • msdmc March, 14 2014, 11:39 / Reply

    “those were the days my friend”…

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