11 models that changed the fashion industry
From Twiggy to Gigi Hadid, let’s take a look at some iconic faces in the fashion industry through the ages!
Models are essential parts of the fashion industry. What they wear on the runway is how brands “sell” their products to the market. Their lifestyle and their personal styles are something of novelty to fashion fans, which in turn influence editors, buyers, retailers, and beyond. They also represent the beauty standards of the their time, periodically, making or breaking norms and boundaries. These days, with the rise of social media, models are also influencers and opinion leaders who greatly impact cultural and social changes.
Here are 11 models who not only changed the fashion industry but whose influence also went greatly beyond fashion!
When it comes to the 60s, it is impossible not to mention Twiggy – the ultimate fashion muse with her short pixie haircut and charming wide eyes. What Twiggy wore, from her bag, dress to make-up, instantly became trendy and are still recognizable until this day. Twiggy was also one of the first models to represent a more “androgynous” look to fashion.
With an edgy appearance, Grace Jones became one of the first African models in the early 1970s to establish success with her career in Paris, where she walked for Yves Saint Laurent, Kenzo, and Alia. She became Jean Paul Goude’s muse and even tried her hand in acting.
Iman is regarded as one of the first supermodels. She was the muse of Yves Saint Laurent, Gianni Versace, and Donna Karan. Iman dominated the fashion scene in the ’70s with her bronzed skin and elongated body. She later married to David Bowie and together, they were one of the most powerful couples in the world.
Cindy Crawford has been considered one of the famous supermodels in the world. Her career marked a time when a model’s influence extended beyond the runway. Michael Kors said that Cindy Crawford changed the American beauty standard from blondes with blue eyes to mature, attractive, intelligent women. Fun fact: Cindy Crawford was scouted after her photo in the college’s yearbook went viral!
She is not only a model but also the one who influenced generations with her bold eyeliner and personal style that is both rock chic and bohemian. She was THE IT girl of the 90s. Kate Moss still lands major magazine covers until this day and was the face of Saint Laurent, Versace and most recently, Skimm.
Naomi Campbell’s career is a series of “firsts”. Naomi Campbell is the first African model to appear on British Vogue, French Vogue, and then American Vogue cover ( September issue). She was the only African model in the original “supermodels” band of Linda Evangelista, Helena Christensen, Claudia Schiffer and Christy Turlington. She walked for top brands like Versace, Ralph Lauren, Dolce and Gabbana, and Louis Vuitton in the 90s.
The image of 16-year-old Devon Aoki, who was petite but brazen with a shaved head and pink mohawk, wearing a gorgeous bridal dress in the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1999 show, is something we cannot simply forget. Not everyone knows that Kate Moss was the one who discovered Devon Aoki. She introduced Aoki to Karl Lagerfeld, who chose her as the bride for four consecutive Couture collections. Devon Aoki is one of the first Asian models to establish her career in high fashion.
Starting her career in the late 90s, Gisele Bündchen was the first Brazilian model who made a splash on the New York runway. She is considered the one who ended the decade of skin-and-bone models and built up a whole new beauty standard for women: energetic, sexy and glamourous. Gisele Bündchen is is one of the highest paid models for the past 20 years.
This Eastern European model is one of the first transgender models in the world. The fashion world embraced her non-binary beauty, and she has walked for Jean-Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs. She was the first transgender model to be interviewed by Vogue in 2015 and has become the mentor for many of Europe’s model competitions.
Gigi represents a generation of models that dominated not only the runway, but also social media. Aside from landing virtually most of the biggest fashion campaigns in the last 5 years, Gigi is also one of the most followed personalities on Instagram. What Gigi eats, what she wears, where she hangs out, who she is dating are constantly observed by her 69 million followers. Gigi uses her platform to speak out about politics, gender issues as well as body image, especially after she had her first child last year.
Precious Lee is the first African-American plus-size model to appear on the September 2021 cover of Vogue. She is a model, writer and activist defending feminism and Black Lives Matter. She has worked with top brands suhonored as a leader in various trends in fashion and cinema, and television. She claims to be an activist, a writer defending feminism and rights for colored people.
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