Fashion / Fashion Feature

Gia Carangi did androgynous style like no other

gia carangi

Before Naomi, Christy, Linda, Claudia and Cindy, there was Gia. A blast of freshness in an industry dominated by All-American girls. Gia Carangi's brief, albeit intense, tenure as the world's first supermodel saw her churn out Vogue cover after cover, working with Helmut Newton, Arthur Elgort and famously Chris von Wangenheim for that chain-fence shoot. Just like Cher or Madonna, she came to be known simply as Gia. There was no one like her.

She was magnetic and oh so complicated. Raised in a working-class household in Philly, with an emotionally distant father and an absent mother, Gia ditched her hometown for New York City at 17. By chance, she came across the influential Wilhelmina Cooper who was immediately struck by her, signing Gia onto her eponymous modelling agency. Together they developed a mother-daughter closeness that made Cooper's passing in 1980 all the more difficult for Gia, who spiralled into a pattern of substance abuse which would come to define the rest of her career, and despite various attempts to get clean, tanked dramatically in the end.

At a time when being closeted was a matter of survival, Gia was unapologetically and publically gay. The model was a regular at gay clubs like DCA and was romantically linked to Sandy Linter and Sharon Beverley. While cast as a sexually charged vixen in front of the camera, away from it she had a frenetic, masculine energy. Looking to early influences like David Bowie, Gia cropped her hair, donned men's button ups, distressed 501s and beat-up biker boots. A look we will always find ourselves gravitating towards.

Thanks to Gia, models were no longer coathangers but figures endowed with a cult of personality. She paved the way for 90s supers like Cindy Crawford who was often referred to as Baby Gia. Below, we're doing an Angelina Jolie and paying tribute to Gia. While we could offer up countless examples of her most iconic shoots, here are some of her best style moments away from the camera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Images: One, Two