Modeling might seem like little more than a carousel of travel, parties and having your every pore attended to, but it’s a business — a harsh one. This was made perfectly clear when the gloriously maned and limbed supermodels of the Eighties, like Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell, were swapped out in the early Nineties for generally smaller and paler counterparts, after years of wielding unheard of power in fashion. Evangelista, for one, may be forever associated with demanding $10,000 just to get out of bed, but just at their peak earning power, a new wave of faces emerged.
Led by Kate Moss, who nabbed her first Calvin Klein ads in 1993, campaigns and shows were suddenly full of waifish teenage girls, like Shalom Harlow, Lucie de La Falaise and even Liv Tyler before she broke out as an actor. And they dominated the scene for years to come.
Dolce & Gabbana chalked the change up to the industry simply needing “new,” while Carlos De Souza, then managing public relations at Valentino, blamed the relatively aged look of a 25-year-old model compared to a 17-year-old.
“A younger face always looks better than that of a 25-year-old,” he said.
Unsurprisingly, the change spawned countless think pieces on what fashion’s sudden preference for impossibly thin, makeup-less and relatively androgynous women “meant,” especially in the wake of second-wave feminism and its focus on female empowerment and equal rights in the workplace. But looking back, it seems an almost perfect segue to the third-wave, which saw individualism and diversity rise as a marquee issues for women.
Whatever the reason, the fact that Campbell, Turlington and Evangelista — along with Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford and Carla Bruni — are still easily identified by their first name alone should be explanation enough for how reliably capricious fashion can be. By the end of the decade, Moss and Cambell and two dozen other models of super and gamine fame were together on the Versace family’s jet, heading for a fashion show in Cape Town to benefit Nelson Mandela’s children’s charity. In the decades since, the biggest of both groups are still working and working it.
Maybe modeling agent Pauline Bernatchez said it best: ““Beauty doesn’t change.…If they have it, you can transform them into whatever look is popular at the moment.”
Europe’s New Supermodels: Megamodels of the Eighties Face New Rulers of the Runways
By Eileen Daspin
MILAN — Arrivederci, Christy and Linda. Buon giorno, Kate and Lucie.
Everyone knows modeling is a cruel world and the world’s superstars are about to find out just how cruel. And fickle.
Sometimes it’s a girl’s age, sometimes it’s just her look that’s tired.
The big European fashion companies are phasing out the faces of the Eighties — models like Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell — and replacing them with the new gamin types personified by Kate Moss, Lucie de La Falaise and Kristen McMenamy.
Consider these recent developments:
–Evangelista has been replaced at Valentino, Alberta Ferretti and Gianfranco Ferre. At Valentino, photographer Walter Chin picked 21-year-old German Patricia Hartmann for the spring ad campaign, while photomeister Steven Meisel chose Hartmann for Ferettu and Nadja Auermann for Ferre.
–Aldo Fallai and Giorgio Armani picked Hartmann for their spring Mani campaign.
–Gianni Versace — who at times seemed to be connected at the hip to linda, Christy and Naomi — has picked up Kate Moss, Shalom and Aya for his new couture ads, shot by Richard Avedon.
–The Valentino Oliver campaign features 17-year-old Liv Tyler, daughter of Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler.
–Giorgio Armani and Peter Lindbergh are using Fabienne for Armani’s spring campaign.
“Basically the six or seven main girls are getting to be 27 or 28, so the industry wants new faces, but that doesn’t mean Londa and Naomi are out,” is the diplomatic comment of Didier Gonzalez of Elite Paris.
“Linda is history, which is a pity because she and the other girls are still very beautiful, but that’s the way it is,” is the blunt assessment of on Paris-based fashion photographer who requested anonymity.
“A younger face always looks better than that of a 25-year-old” ad Carlos De Souza of Valentino. “Her skin is brighter. At 25 you don’t have that look. It is 10 years later on in the aging process.”
The French-born Magali, discovered by the Paris agent Pauline Bernatohez, has had the covers of German Elle, German Marie Claire, English Marie Claire, American Elle and Italian Vogue in the last few months, and she’s been dubbed by Peter Lindbergh as one of the most interesting new faces around.
Moss and McMenamy are omnipresent, both as subjects of articles on new faces and in fashion editorial. Other new faces are Jenny Brunt, Amber Valletta and Leilani Bishopis.
All are dubbed “gamines” in the fashion press, but Bernatohez says that’s just the current tag.
“Beauty doesn’t change,” she says. “Either they have it or they don’t. If they have it, you can transform them into whatever look is popular at the moment.”
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, whose spring campaign includes Shalom, Kati Tastet, Nadja Auermann, Silvia Pontur, Benedicte and the more established Carla Bruni, take a pragmatic view of the changes on the modeling scene.
“The more famous top models will always be fascinating,” agreed the two designers in a statement. “Nevertheless, we believe it’s inevitable that sooner or later, new faces have to appear on the scene.”
Even more telling, Evangelista and company, known for not rolling out of bed in the morning for less that $15,000 and star billing, have begun accepting assignments that are high in pay, but comparatively low in prestige.
Stephanie Seymour led the pack by posing for the Victoria’s secret catalogue. Subsequently, so did Karen Mulder and Evangelista.
And Bruni, who only a few months ago hit her apex as a supermodel with a profile in Vanity Fair, has agreed to host Italy’s kitschy San Remo Festival, along with Claudia Schiffer.
— Feb. 5, 1993