Fashion / Fashion Feature

Now and forever: an homage to the 90s supermodels that defined a decade

guide to 90s supermodels

We certainly know their names – and their faces – but how much do we really know about our favourite 90s supermodels? These runway trailblazers conceptualised an entire decade, leading the way, setting the trends and bringing us ongoing sartorial nostalgia three decades on. Muses to the formidable Karl Lagerfeld, frequent collaborators of the effervescent Gianni Versace and inspiration to musicians like George Michael, Chris Isaak and Michael Jackson. Here's the ultimate guide to our favourite 90s supermodels. Now and forever.

Linda Evangelista

Linda Evangelista

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Discovered at just 16-years-old, Evangelista is widely heralded as the ultimate fashion chameleon. The Canadian-born supermodel's career first took off when French hairstylist Julien d'Ys suggested she should chop her long tresses into a short gamine cut; a hairstyle that became affectionately known as The Linda. From there on in, Evangelista continued to experiment with her look, from a black pixie cut to bright red bob to a platinum-blonde coif. Her hairstyles seamlessly changed with the seasons and naturally, captured the hearts and minds of designers across the globe along the way.

 

Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell

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One of the most memorable walks in catwalk history, Campbell shot to fame as part of the 'Holy Trinity' – a powerhouse trio of supermodels which also included Evangelista and Christy Turlington. Scouted at just 15, there's no denying her ethereal staying power. However, this was not without struggle. Her early years in the limelight were met with several challenges, as the British model was often the only Black model in runway lineups, campaigns, and editorial shoots.

 

Christy Turlington

Christy Turlington

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The final member of the dynamic trio, Christy Turlington possesses one of the most recognisable faces in the world – her perfect features making her the go-to 90s supermodel in the beauty world. Equally, she dominated the catwalk, walking for the likes of Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Prada, Valentino, Versace, Louis Vuitton. If her modelling efforts weren't impressive enough, Turlington also graduated cum laude from NYU's Gallatin School of Independent Studies, and now focuses her efforts on Every Mother Counts, an organisation that, "make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere."

 

Cindy Crawford

Cindy Crawford

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Moving to New York City after graduating high school, Crawford began to dominate the glossy covers of magazines after signing with prestigious modelling agency, Elite. Part-supermodel, part-cultural icon, a count in 1998 determined that Crawford had graced the covers of over 500 magazines – and this still continues. Walking for Chanel, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Todd Oldham, DKNY, and Valentino over the years, her daughter, Kaia Gerber is now following in her mother's footsteps as one of the most sought after models in the industry.

 

Claudia Schiffer

Claudia Schiffer

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Where was the formidable Claudia Schiffer discovered, I hear you ask? Naturally, in a nightclub in Düsseldorf, Germany at the age of 17. Since then, her luscious blonde locks, smoky eyes, and plump pout have covered over 1000 magazines – which, has in-turn earned her a Guinness Book of World Records. The face of Chanel, Schiffer was also a regular for Versace, Balmain, Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Alberta Ferretti, Bulgari, Chloé, Escada, Fendi, Max Mara and Louis Vuitton.

 

Tatjana Patitz

Tatjana Patitz

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Best remembered for starring in the music video for George Michael's "Freedom! '90," along with Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, and Linda Evangelista, Patitz also joined her fellow supermodel friends for Peter Lindbergh's legendary January 1990 black-and-white cover for British Vogue. Of course, the German model also fronted the campaigns of Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Revlon, Cartier, L'Oréal.

 

Kate Moss

Kate Moss

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A woman who needs no introduction, Moss was discovered at the ripe age of just 14-years-old while walking through an airport. Making her mark in the mid-90s as the ultimate poster child for 'grunge style', she sealed her modelling fate with an iconic 1992 Calvin Klein campaign with Marky Mark – and the rest is history, truly. I mean, how will we ever forget that transparent silver slip?

Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks

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When your first runway season happens to be Paris Fashion Week, there's no question that your modelling career is going to go the distance. Such was the case for the formidable Tyra Banks, who mastered the spheres of modelling and media, signing lucrative contracts with CoverGirl and Victoria's Secret and of course, creating America's Next Top Model. She also became the first Black model to front the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

 

Heidi Klum

Heidi Klum

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Similar to Banks, German model Heidi Klum has taken her modelling career to new heights – transferring and sharing her knowledge in hit shows like Project Runway and as a judge in America's Next Top Model. Before this, Klum frequented in campaigns for Marc Jacobs and spreads for Harper's BAZAAR, going on to become the face of Victoria's Secret.

 

Amber Valletta

Amber Valletta

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Raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Valletta went from 'girl-next-door' to runway royalty, simultaneously becoming a regular in campaigns for Prada, Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, and Elizabeth Arden. She also went on to host MTV's iconic House of Style with BFF Shalom Harlow (mentioned below).

 

Shalom Harlow

Shalom Harlow

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A frequent collaborator and close friend of the aforementioned Valletta, Canadian-born Shalom Harlow caught the attention of designer's and industry alike for her feline-like features. Although she eventually pivoted to on-screen work, Harlow was a master of the runway, most famously Alexander McQueen's SS 99 show, in which she posed on a rotating platform as robots spray-painted her strapless dress black and neon yellow.

 

Carla Bruni Sarkozy

Carla Bruni Sarkozy

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Italian native Carla Bruni Sarkozy walked the runway for every major designer, appeared in and endless string of fashion editorials and fronted campaigns across the globe. Sarkozy now spends her time cultivating her music career, and has found a supermodel look-a-like in Bella Hadid. We totally see it.

 

Elle Macpherson

Elle Macpherson

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Australian born and bred, supermodel Elle Macpherson is one of our own. Her modelling career begun when she appeared on a television commercial for Tab, which landed her ‘girl next door’ status. By 1986, she had become a regular on the cover of numerous high profile magazines including Cosmopolitan, Elle, GQ, Harpers Bazaar, Vogue and Playboy. From model to businesswoman, Macpherson used her moniker, 'The Body', to launch a series of business enterprises including a line of beauty products and lingerie.

 

Helena Christensen

Helena Christensen

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From winning Miss Denmark in 1986, to appearing in runway shows and campaigns for Valentino, Prada, Chanel, and Revlon, Christensen went from pageant to runway in a hot minute. Famously, Christensen starred in the now iconic music video for Chris Isaak's song "Wicked Game," which is deemed one of the sexiest videos of all time. Now a photographer and climate activist, there's nothing this supermodel can't do.

 

Yasmeen Ghauri

Yasmeen Ghauri

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Through an act of defiance, Yasmeen Ghauri became one of the leading faces in 90s fashion. Born to a German mother and Indian father in a Muslim household, Montreal-born Ghauri went on to land hefty contracts with Valentino, Victoria's Secret, and Christian Dior, and appeared in several fashion spreads across the globe.

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