“Even I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford” – Cindy Crawford.
The 90’s was an era of double denim, sheer dresses, and defined cheekbones. Who could forget those famous faces of the catwalk back when supermodels had to actually work to achieve that desired ‘heroin chic’ look? (ohh how controversial). As Kate Moss once said; “it’s a sin to be tired”!
So is it fair to say that our ‘supermodels’ of today are really, well, supermodels at all? The ubiquitous rise of Instagram has introduced us to these perfect ideas of how we should look and how we should live our lives. We are constantly scrolling and observing, following celebrities and monitoring every little thing they do. Don’t get me wrong; I, myself have become a victim of social media scrolling – I mean, have you seen Kylie Jenner’s 20ft rose gold and blush pink Christmas Tree? Wow.
The argument of ‘insta’-made models vs supermodels has been brought to light in the past and is something that has always grabbed my attention because of the admiration I have for the originals. Whether you are also in awe of these women or simply couldn’t care less, you will without a doubt know their names. I now introduce the OGs of the modelling world; Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Helena Christensen, Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Carla Bruni, and Stephanie Seymour. Each one as iconic as the other.
Can we really compare these huge names to the supermodels of 2017; Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Cara Delevigne, and Jourdan Dunn? It was just last year that Vanity Fair published an article stating that Stephanie Seymour (the bride from Guns ‘n’ Roses’ November Rain video), would rather call Kendall Jenner and the likes “bitches of the moment” than supermodels. There is no denying that our modern-day models have all the help they need when it comes to ‘nipping & tucking’ and putting themselves out there without having to actually lift a finger. Instagram was non-existent in the 1990’s and so success didn’t come knocking just quite as easily. You can read the full article here at: Vanity Fair
So, is it fair to say that without Instagram our little darlings would be nowhere near as popular? As the great Bob Dylan once sang; the times they are a-changin’. We’re now in a different era, one where social media has completely taken over and everything one does must be documented for the world to see. Kendall Jenner then hit back at the supermodel’s comment by simply saying “if you’re going to tell us not to be in “your moment”, then don’t be in mine”, ok which is fair enough, right?
You have to admit that the models of today would not have the same following without Instagram, so much so that it has become an app associated with perfection and this idealistic view of the world. Below you will find a picture that Kendall Jenner posted on her Instagram page which received a massive 2.7 million likes.
In a way, this kind of publicity cannot be compared to supermodels having to create a name for themselves from scratch, working tirelessly for fashion shows for major names such as: Versace, Gucci, Calvin Klein, and Marc Jacobs; being recognised from television advertisements, fashion campaigns, and celebrity endorsements; without the assistance of Instagram. At just the touch of a screen, hundreds of perfectly polished photos will appear of our modern-day models. Long gone are the days of being discovered at an airport at the age of fourteen, or in a nightclub at age seventeen. (Kate Moss & Claudia Schiffer).
For me this has always been an interesting topic of conversation, and one which really does not have a right answer. The rise of social media is something I have been studying as part of my dissertation and so I understand pressures and expectations in the online world. Of course we can’t blame these models for taking advantage of this kind of publicity, although, the question here really should be; is the ‘supermodel’ now a thing of the past?
One thing for sure is that they will never be forgotten. Well, not if Donatella Versace has anything to do with it. The fashion designer gathered five of the big names together for a catwalk tribute to her late brother Gianni Versace on the 20th anniversary of his death, the models walked down the runway to George Michael’s Freedom! 90′, the same music video they starred in all those years ago. If you’re someone like me who is just amazed by these models, even today, then I would strongly advise you to watch the clip and then agree with me that it was truly something special.
Jayne Mullan is a 3rd year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @JayneMullan_