Monday, January 10, 2011

American Icon

Since it's inception in 1964, the Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit issue has become as much a bastion of American popular culture as the Superbowl. Indeed, an appearance on the cover of the S.I swimsuit issue has been likened to the superbowl of modelling, with many a model's career being launched into the stratosphere as a result. 

The S.I swimsuit issue was the mastermind of S.I editor Andre Laguerre, who in 1964 asked fashion reporter Jule Campbell; "How would you like to go to some beautiful place and put a pretty girl on the cover?" The idea was engineered to increase readership during the winter months when sports stories were typically low. Laguerre granted Campbell autonomy over the project, from the selection of models, bathing suits and, in consultation with the managing editor, the site locations and photographers for the issue. 

Campbell soon became a powerful figure in the modelling world and can be given credit for moulding the issue into a media phenomenon by featuring models with fuller figures whom she euphemistically referred to as "healthy girls", whilst publishing the names of the models alongside the photos, thereby heralding a new supermodel era.

The S.I swimsuit issue offers models the opportunity to become a household name, often times crossing over from the world of high fashion to a more commercial market. According to S.I, the swimsuit issue has a pass-along readership of over 70 million. That coupled with the S.I franchise which includes a behind the scenes feature video of the making of the issue, calendars and diaries, means maximum exposure.

The careers of many of the world's top models have been catapulted by their appearances in the S.I swimsuit issue. Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley, Carol Alt, Kim Alexis, Kelly Emberg, Paulina Porizkova, Renee Simonsen, Elle Macpherson, Kathy Ireland, Estelle LeFebure, Karen Alexander, Stephanie Seymour, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Carolyn Murphy, Isabeli Fontana and Angela Lindvall have all made appearances. 

The release date for the 2011 swimsuit issue is slated for the 15th of February with a new generation of models vying for the cover. My bets are on Hilary Rhoda, Irina Shayk or Christine Teigen to take out the honours. The following images in the meantime, pay tribute to Jule Campbell and the contributions that she has made to the modelling industry.  


Kathy Ireland
Sports Illustrated 1989
Photographer - Paolo Curto

Christie Brinkley
Sports Illustrated 1979
Photographer - Walter Iooss Jr

Kathy Ireland
Sports Illustrated 1984
Photographer - Paolo Curto

Carol Alt
Sports Illustrated 1987
Photographer - John G. Zimmerman

Cheryl Tiegs
Sports Illustrated 1977
Photographer - Walter Iooss Jr

Kim Alexis
Sports Illustrated 1987
Photographer - John G. Zimmerman

Elle Macpherson
Sports Illustrated 1985
Photographer - Brian Lanker

Christie Brinkley
Sports Illustrated 1981
Photographer - John G. Zimmerman

Paulina Porizkova
Sports Illustrated 1987
Photographer - Brian Lanker

Christie Brinkley
Sports Illustrated 1977
Photographer - Walter Iooss Jr

Karen Alexander
Sports Illustrated 1987
Photographer - John G. Zimmerman

Cindy Crawford
Sports Illustrated 1988
Photographer - Marc Hispard

Stephanie Seymour
Sports Illustrated 1989
Photographer - Marc Hispard

Rachel Hunter
Sports Illustrated 1989
Photographer - Walter Iooss Jr

Naomi Campbell
Sports Illustrated 1992
Photographer - Robert Huntzinger

Heidi Klum
Sports Illustrated 1998
Photographer - Robert Erdmann

Christine Teigen
Sports Illustrated 2010
Photographer - Walter Iooss Jr

Dominique Piek
Sports Illustrated 2010
Photographer - Walter Iooss Jr

Bar Refaeli
Sports Illustrated 2010
Photographer - Walter Iooss Jr

Irina Shayk
Sports Illustrated 2009
Photographer - Riccardo Tinelli

Tori Praver
Sports Illustrated 2009
Photographer - Steve Erle

Hilary Rhoda
Sports Illustrated 2009
Photographer - Raphael Mazzucco

Brooklyn Decker
Sports Illustrated 2010
Photographer - Walter Iooss Jr



No comments:

Post a Comment