It was 1990 when the world’s top supermodels, including Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and Cindy Crawford, lip-synched, pranced, and crawled their way through the George Michael video “Freedom! ’90.” Although the technology has since changed (Michael’s video opens with a laser beam hitting a CD player near a cassette deck) many of the faces have not.
Campbell, Evangelista, and Turlington, now in their 40s, have recently reclaimed their fashion thrones, gracing magazine covers, runways, and major ad campaigns.
Just last week, Campbell (pictured), 43, sauntered down the catwalk at Versace’s Paris couture week show. Her return caused a minor sensation. Turlington appears on the cover of this month’s Harper’s Bazaar. She’s also the new face of Jason Wu and is returning to her former gigs with Calvin Klein and Prada. Did I mention she’s 44? Evangelista, still stunning at 48, appears on the cover of this month’s German Vogue, cuddling with Karl Lagerfeld’s cat Choupette.
Their return could be motivated by ’90s nostalgia. (We all miss the days of “Blossom” and flared trousers.) But more likely we’ve been without supermodels for so long that we’re starved for the personality that these women brought to pop culture. Even today’s top models are blank canvases, not celebrities. That could be why we’re still in love with Kate Moss and Carla Bruni.
Don’t believe me? Aside from Gisele Bundchen and maybe Karlie Kloss, how many current catwalk queens can you name? Just as I thought.
That’s not to say there aren’t familiar faces staring out from glossy mags and gossip sites. But these days they’re likely to be models for Victoria’s Secret or Sports Illustrated, celebrated not as muses for great clothing designers, but for how little clothing they usually wear.
For now, we still have the grande dames of the runway. Lucky for us, they haven’t lost any of their beauty, or their individuality.Christopher Muther can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.