Style Style Talk

Sunday 30 April 2017

Jourdan, Gigi, Karlie and Kendall - The supermodels who won't get out of bed for less than a million likes

Freya Drohan

Freya Drohan

Beautiful, privileged and powerful - meet the women who have taken the crown from 1990s icons such as Cindy, Christy, Claudia and Naomi.

There are hundreds of thousands of models on the books of agencies across the world - but it takes that certain 'je ne sais quoi' for a female to be plucked from obscurity and earn household name status.

The phrase 'supermodel' was coined back in the 1890s, to describe a model who defied all stereotypes and biases that surrounded her profession. In the 1960s, women such as Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Lisa Palmer and Kathy Carpenter brought the idea into the public domain with their insouciant charm, class and style. But it was really in the 1980s that the idea of being a super became as illustrious as it remains today.


At this time, beautiful Amazonians like Yasmin Le Bon, Christie Brinkley, Iman and Elle Macpherson not only graced the covers of magazines but became like rockstars. These women were recognised across the globe, their faces and figures commanded lucrative deals with brands and their personal lives generated countless column inches.


The supermodel's position as an emblem of power, wealth, luxury and beauty continued into the 1990s as women like Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz and Linda Evangelista came to the fore.

Around this time, George Michael cast the aforementioned mannequins in his iconic 'Freedom' music video and they graced the cover of Vogue's January 1990 issue to welcome a new era. 

1990s supers.jpg  

Speaking of those famous faces, US Vogue editrix Anna Wintour once said, "Those girls were so fabulous for fashion and totally reflected that time.They were like movie stars. These models burst out beyond the pages of the magazines. Many became the faces of cosmetics brands and perfumes, had their own television programs and physical-fitness videos and their own lines of lingerie ... Their lives, activities, influences, and images were the subjects of all types of sociological and historical analysis."

In the ensuing twenty five years, young models who set out to stalk the catwalks and pose for brands are all chasing after that 'super' status. 

The modern ideal of 'supermodel' is embodied by Jourdan, Gigi, Karlie and Kendall - who, like their predecessors, have the status and prominence in the media and fashion industry to negate the use of their surnames.

With a combined Instagram following of almost 50 million impressionable fans and devout followers, these are the young women with the world at their feet.


Here's some things you might not know about the fourtet.

Kendall Jenner

Needs no introduction due to her famous Kardashian siblings. The lithe brunette (19) has been signed to the books of agencies since she was 14 years old, but only recently had her 'breakthrough season' as she became a favourite of Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld and Diane Von Furstenberg.

Jenner is credited with spearheading the age of 'social media modelling' as brands cotton on to her ability to generate coverage and publicity due to her influence online.

Did you know? The California native is actively involved in several charities. Between selling her clothes on eBay to raise money for the Children's Hospital Los Angeles and The Greater Los Angeles Fisher House Foundation, she also uses her profile to raise proceeds for several non profit organisations.


Jourdan Dunn

Discovered at a Primark store at age 15, Jourdan's ascent to stardom is nothing short of a fairytale. The West London native quickly became an international fixture for big brands such as Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Balmain, Calvin Klein and Victoria's Secret (often as the only black model on the runway). Falling pregnant at the age of 19, she continued to model until she was three months away from her due date - notably sporting a baby bump during a Jean Paul Gaultier show. Raising her son Riley and juggling an international modelling career is no mean feat. But Jourdan (25) cites her child as her motivation and inspiration to become as successful as possible.

Did you know? Jourdan is an ardent campaigner for Sickle-cell disease, a blood disorder that her son Riley was born with. Jourdan (25) won the "Inspiration Award" at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards earlier this year for her philanthropic work and her commitment to encouraging diversity within the modeling industry.


Gigi Hadid

Like her close friend Kendall, All-American girl Gigi (20) came to public attention thanks to her famous family. With appearances on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which followed the life of her former model mother Yolanda Foster, Gigi used the show as a springboard into the modelling world. Her big break came when she was named one of Sports Illustrated magazine's 12 rookies in its annual swimsuit issue in 2014. Gigi quickly became a favourite with big name brands such as  Maybelline, Victoria's Secret, and Tom Ford, and it wasn't long before the iconic Pirelli calendar came knocking.

Did you know?  Bagging the 'Model of the Year' accolade at this year's Fashion Awards and a new high profile relationship with singer Joe Jonas signal that this girl next door bombshell is going nowhere.


Karlie Kloss

Chicago native Karlie is a former Victoria's Secret Angel who stalks the runway at a statuesque 6'1". By the time it had come to attend her high school prom, she was already one of the most recognised and regularly booked models in the business. Having worked with every major brand from Alexander McQueen to Zac Posen, the 23-year-old has now enrolled as a student at New York University - with a letter of recommendation from Christy Turlington, no less.

Did you know? Karlie has long been cited as the 'nice girl' of the modelling industry. She is god mother to Jourdan's son, a best friend of Taylor Swift and has created a special recipe of cookies - Karlie's Kookies - that donate 10 meals to starving children for every tin sold.


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