Shameless Post About Models: The Supers


As far as I’m concerned, there is little to nothing not worth analyzing when it comes to pop culture. All our trends, fads, and institutions are reflective of what we value as a society, and one of society’s major indicators is….models! Let us briefly explore the models of the 90’s, who would, most likely, never in a million years be models today, as their looks are currently “out.”

Despite an intense love and obsession with clothing, I have never found models, top designers, or fashion mag editorials especially interesting or inspiring: ultimately meant to make you feel bad about yourself and distance you from the high falutin- world of fashion, they often have an “emperor’s new clothes”-like veneer. However, I have been reading/looking at Vogue since fourth grade, and, as a result, I have always been pretty well versed in the Vogue version of the high fashion world. And, over the years, I have come to appreciate certain models.

Ideally, models should represent an opportunity to celebrate unique, strange, and commanding beauty. Obviously fashion models conform to sexist standards set by the fashion industry, but sometimes they simultaneously do make you question what is "pretty." So obviously models are (often) supposed to make you feel bad about yourself and blah blah, but it doesn't mean model trends and which model is a babe isn't worth examining, right?

When I was a fourth grader studying Vogue, the reign of the sort of curvaceous and stompy early 90's supermodel (Cindy, Naomi, Christy, blahblahblah) was giving way to women who were less the typically pretty type. But today, we will study some photos of the wave that came before the pasty CK One era: the bronzed supers of the mid-early to mid 1990's.

As the photo below illustrates, late 80's/early 90's models were of the mega-babe variety, not as much the still-popular wan waif. Look at Cindy Crawford (second from right)! She wouldn't be able to model today for sure, but she was definitely a hottie. Same goes for Stephanie Seymour (far right) and the always outrageous Naomi Campbell, pictured further below. Also, check out the Clueless style outfits!

They all look like Gina Gershon in Showgirls! Such great bitchface!

These models are the kind that a drag queen might emulate, as opposed to the models of today, who are usually younger and meant to look it. It's interesting to look at old fashion magazines for many a reason, but I'm often struck by how the ideal becomes ever more unattainable, especially with the advent of airbrushing and the lack of interest in looking womanly. While many kinds of fashion modeling can obviously be viewed as problematic from a feminist viewpoint, it's interesting to see how models look and what they are depicted doing- check out an 80's magazine, for example, and you actually see models smiling, doing something active, or wearing a suit the ad promises will make you feel powerful and in charge. Today it's more popular to show a rag-doll-esque model huddled in a corner.

So perhaps I rate whether a drag queen would like something a little too much, but come on! Look at Naomi Campbell here! These ladies were women, not girls.




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