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  • Why the original supermodels are back in fashion


    27 Jan 2016

    Giorgio Armani is the latest designer to enlist original supermodels to front a spring/summer 2016 campaign.

    Nadja Auermann, Yasmin Le Bon, Stella Tennant and Eva Herzigova - four women truly deserving of their 'super' title - star in the label's latest adverts, which showcase Armani's 'New Normal' collection - understated, sophisticated pieces that never lose their timelessness.

    Armani is the second major fashion heavyweight to harness the powers of the supers. Balmain was first, recruiting Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford for a mind-blowingly hot campaign, shot by Steven Klein. It's a very different vibe from Armani's black and white, pared-down portraits, but just as impactful.

    So what's prompted the demand of the supermodels? Of the many, many gorgeous young things that hit the catwalk and adorn campaigns, only a few will become mainstream favourites. Pretty faces are in no short supply in fashion, but it takes something else to become a supermodel. It's about more than just beauty.

    Getty Images

    Supermodels represent the attitudes of each generation. Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell and Eva Herzigova, who reached peak fame in the 80s, symbolised strength, individuality and beauty. They were the first models to create brands based on themselves, something today's new generation of models have run with through the rise of social media.

    David Ross/Bloomsbury Auctions

    In the 90s came Kate Moss, who was the perfect poster girl for the grungy mood of the decade and her appeal is enduring. She rarely gives interviews, she is uncompromisingly herself and infinitely stylish - in today's age of oversharing, Mossy is still an enigma. She sticks two fingers up to growing older gracefully, recently photographed on the set of Absolutely Fabulous, gloriously emerging from the Thames in a green sequinned gown and a fag hanging out her mouth.

    Getty images

    Now, we have a new model army - Gigi Hadid, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn and Kendall Jenner - a gang who refuse to be seen as blank canvases. They take down haters on Twitter; they're healthy and athletic; they share photos of themselves with their model squads on Instagram; and they're unafraid of being goofy. They're gorgeous but accessible, and the public love them.

    The popularity of Gigi, Cara, Jourdan and Kendall offers a direct comparison for the original supers, the women who set the standard back in the late 80s, early 90s. Their resurgence goes beyond simply 90s nostalgia - a decade revived in recent seasons. It's a deeper reflection of what the public want.

    Gone are the days when catwalk models were innocuous, dime-a-dozen faces, fashion has returned to celebrating individuality, strength and personality. Thank god for that.