Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sitting Pretty

When I first showed inklings of an interest in models, the predominant look of the time was the healthy, robust, all-American look typified by models Christie Brinkley, Kelly Emberg, Kim Alexis, Patti Hansen, Carol Alt and Beverly Johnson. It was not until the mid-Eighties with the emergence of European models like Paulina Porizkova and Renée Simonsen, and the Australian goddess Elle MacPherson, that I began to question the industry's narrow ideal of beauty. Around about this time a young model from Dekalb, Illinois burst onto the scene who would revolutionise the industry's standard of beauty and alter forever the public's perception of modelling. The model in question was a mysterious, smouldering brunette by the name of Cindy Crawford. Crawford's gorgeous olive skin tone, powerhouse physique and prominent beauty spot perched precariously on the left side of her lip were a distinct departure from the industry's all-American blonde, blue-eyed beauty ideal.

Cindy Crawford
British Tatler - September 2012
Photographer - Ruven Afanador
Source - designscene.net

During the early stages of her career, Crawford's dark brooding looks drew steady comparisons to the troubled model Gia Carangi and she was quickly dubbed "Baby Gia". Crawford reveals to Playboy magazine "My agents took me to all the photographers who liked Gia: Albert Watson, Francesco Scavullo, Bill King. Everyone loved her look so much that they gladly saw me." Crawford went onto become one of the most prolifically photographed faces in modelling history appearing on over 600 magazine covers including seventeen American Vogue covers and fronting countless advertising campaigns. During the Eighties and Nineties, Crawford traversed the worlds of high fashion and commercial modelling, bringing modelling into the mainstream as the face of Pepsi Cola, in her role as a spokesperson for Revlon over an eleven year tenure, with her appearances in music videos for George Michael and Jon Bon Jovi, as the host of MTV's House of Style, and as one of the first supermodels to pose for Playboy magazine.

British Tatler - September 2012
Photographer - Ruven Afanador
Source - designscene.net

British Tatler - September 2012
Photographer - Ruven Afanador
Source - designscene.net

British Tatler - September 2012
Photographer - Ruven Afanador
Source - designscene.net


Now aged forty-six, Crawford continues to model, appearing most recently on the cover of the September 2012 issue of British Tatler. Photographed by Ruven Afanador, Crawford channels Raquel Welch looking as jaw-droppingly beautiful as she did when she first entered modelling's fray in 1983 as a contestant in the Elite Model Look of the Year competition. In the accompanying editorial feature and article Crawford insists that she has no plans of retiring from modelling and sheds some insights on the industry and its evolution, "I feel really lucky to have got to be model when it was still meaningful. Today, most of the covers and cosmetics ads are actresses and I know that photographers miss the models who are just models, because the two professions are very different and only a model knows how to really work it."

Working It
US Harpers Bazaar - September 1988
Photographer - Richard Avedon
Source - thefashionspot.com

Mademoiselle - January 1988
Photographer - Richard Avedon
Source - thefashionspot.com

US Vogue - January 1987
Photographer - Richard Avedon
Source - thefashionspot.com

Self - July 1988
Photographer - Richard Avedon
Source - thefashionspot.com

Paris Vogue - May 1988
Photographer - Unknown
Source - thefashionspot.com

Cosmopolitan - September 1989
Photographer - Francesco Scavullo
Source -thefashionspot.com

Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington & Cindy Crawford
British Vogue - June 1991
Photographer - Herb Ritts
Source - thefashionspot.com

Crawford ought to know a thing or two about photographers, having posed for many of the industry greats including Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Steven Meisel and Peter Lindbergh throughout her career, revealing to Tatler, "I love the rapport you develop with a photographer. I've had incredible relationships with Herb Ritts and Helmut Newton, and still do with Patrick Demarchelier." Crawford, ever the consummate professional remains pragmatic about her legendary modelling career, professing to Vanity Fair in 2008 "It's been a great gig, I didn't have two nickels to rub together, and I got to travel the world. I've been exposed to all kinds of people. Financially, I'm not just secure, I live very well. And my children will live very well."

Cosmopolitan - March 1988
Photographer - Francesco Scavullo
Source - thefashionspot.com

US Harpers Bazaar - April 1996
Photographer - Patrick Demarchelier
Source - thefashionspot.com

US Vogue - November 1994
Photographer - Steven Meisel
Source - thefashionspot.com

W Magazine - June 1999
Photographer - Michael Thompson
Source - nymag.com

Playboy - July 1988
Photographer - Herb Ritts
Source - nymag.com

Paris Vogue - August 2002
Photographer - Mario Testino
Source - nymag.com

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