The History of Models Part IV

The birth of the supermodel

Above: British Vogue, January 1990. Photo by Peter Lindbergh. Video Page / Home Page: Kate Moss for Calvin Klein's Obsession, 1993. Photo by Mario Sorrenti.

BY: Claire Connors

As the 80s ushered in the serious career woman, powerful Amazonian beauties that represented that image—Carol Alt, Tatjana Patitz, Claudia Schiffer, Paulina Porizkova, Iman, Cindy Crawford, Stephanie Seymour, and of the course the Trinity itself, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and Linda Evangelista—were the only faces we saw on magazine covers, in ad campaigns, and on the runways. The supermodel was born and it became a full-time and very well paying job. Their battle cry is credited to Evangelista who famously quipped, “We don’t wake up for less that $10,000 a day.” However, the dawn of grunge in the 90s changed everything. Suddenly being a larger-than-life model seemed old fashioned and designers began looking for its antithesis: enter the oddly attractive and androgynous Kristine McMenamy and Alek Wek, and of course, Kate Moss, a too-skinny, too-short, too-wide-eyed girl who broke all the rules. The waif had arrived and Moss took over as the face of that decade.