With Miles Ladin’s new exhibition ‘Supermodels at the End of Time’ up and running, we have been thinking about the era of supermodels in comparison to our ‘instagirl’ models of today.
Some may say that the term ‘supermodel’ began earlier than the 80’s. Take Swedish model Lisa Fonssagrives as an example. She was the supermodel of the 1930s to 50’s, featured on Vanity fair, Harpers Bazaar and TIME magazine. Following Fonssagrives we are introduced to models such as Twiggy, Marisa Berenson the granddaughter to designer Elsa Schiaparelli and British Vogues first black model Donyale Luna.
These models paved the way for the woman we know as ‘Supermodels’, ‘The Trinity’ and ‘The big five’ or six when Kate moss joined. It is this era that Ladin has focused on in his exhibition, which also features a limited edition artists book of the same title. The official website has coined the exhibition as an experience that:
“takes the viewer onto the runway of fashion’s elite and into the dark recesses of beauty’s shadow side.”
The models as featured in the exhibitions began to market themselves are superstars, who were exclusive and could only be related to exclusivity. The British Vogue cover of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Tatjana Patitz, by Peter Lindhberg is seen as the epitome of the supermodel era. They were the ‘it’ girls, the golden girls of the ideal era for models. Campbell, Evangelista and Turlington were known as The Trinity. Each with their own superpower, in regards to their look, ability and style.
This era has ended and these models have taken their status, becoming entrepreneurs moving on with new opportunities. Instead, we are in the era of the ‘Instagirls’ the social media models. This includes Cara Delevingne, Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss, Joan Smalls and Imaan Hammam.
Being shot by legendary photographer Mario Testino reminds us of when the Lindbergh did the same. And as quoted by Vogue, the girls are ‘All savvy on social media, they’re building their own brands and single-handedly catapulting themselves to this generation’s version of supermodel status’. Whilst they are still seen as an exclusive clique, via social media they share more of their lives rather than just the mystery of seeing their photographs in glossy magazines, like in 80’s. We are invited into their lives and this is how they have gained their status. Showing us the life they live and what their fans wants.
So although the term supermodel is specially related to the era of the 80s and 90s, each model and generation has something new to offer that is tailored to that moment in time. What is your opinion on supermodels? Do you have a favourite?
‘Supermodels at the End of time’ is located at Station Independent Projects, New York, until October 30th.
Text: Tamera Heron
Images: Miles Ladin, Dazed, Vogue, Fashionista