The Super Models is a four-part docuseries about the careers of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington that premieres on September 20. It is a no-brainer, then, for them to cover the September issue, the most important issue, of American Vogue. I mean, it’s not like they’ve never been there before. And… LOOK AT THEM.
The greatest of all time is not an overstatement. This is their job – to model clothes, to tell a story about designer creations – and because of them, the job title was born: supermodel. These are the OGs. Naomi, Cindy, Linda, and Christy took the profession to a whole new level of cultural relevance. Because of them, an entire generation, and the ones that followed, became obsessed with models in the same way that we were obsessed with rock stars and movie stars.
That’s why we’re all watching the f-ck out of this series, right?
Before that though, there’s the Vogue interview. This is the part that feels new, fresh. Back in the day, they were on the covers and in the pages, but they weren’t necessarily being profiled. A decade later came the movie star Vogue era, when it was more often than not a Hollywood star on the cover of Vogue and not one of the supers. And those cover shoots were accompanied by profiles. We’ve now come back around to the supers getting this experience as they’re ready to tell their stories, revisit their history, relive those days when they, literally, revolutionised the business. As many designers observe in the article, their influence is still enormous. Having Naomi, Cindy, Christy, or Linda front a campaign is still a moment and still has a sales impact. That’s why this is my favourite sentence in the piece is this one:
“At the center of this transformation were Christy, Naomi, Cindy, and Linda, four teens and barely teens whose rare combination of extraordinarily photogenic features, born-with-it confidence, quick wit, intuitive style, intense curiosity, and utterly bananas work ethic flipped the switch for the industry.”
“Utterly bananas work ethic” is the mic drop here. There were a lot of people, and probably still are, who misunderstood modelling and what the work entails. These women were EXPERTS at showing the clothes. But in order to do that, they had to show up. And they did. They were serious about their jobs. They cared deeply about the technique, the creative process. They all collaborated with the designers and the artists who photographed them and/or put them on their runways: Versace, Alaia, Armani, Meisel, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, and so many more. But they often are not credited for anything more than just what they look like.
And for sure! What they look like, obviously, is very, very important. That’s not their only contribution though. So I love that the writer of this piece, Sally Singer, observes for the reader what it’s like to watch these women at the photo shoot. How they’re the ones almost directing the poses, fully engaged in the process, tweaking sh-t here and there to make sure that they get the right shot. We’ll hopefully get to see more of that, too, in the docuseries.
As for the rest of the piece, well, there’s some gossip, too. Those of you who remember the messiness between Linda and Francois-Henri Pinault will definitely pay attention when Linda talks about Salma Hayek and how their relationship has evolved. I also appreciated the part where Linda and Christy remember their earlier romances and how they supported each other when they were cheated on.
But also… I mean… the visuals. Let’s not downplay any of that – since, again, as established, the visuals are the end product of the work. And these visuals. The nostalgia! Like this group shot!
And the throwback vibes that Christy and Naomi are giving here. If you told me this was taken on the set of the “Freedom! 90” video I would have believed it.
If you told me Thierry Mugler took this photo I would have believed it, too.
Super Season is about to begin. I’m ready!