>> Janice was on a Dr. Phil show about plastic surgery several months
ago. She was there to get help saying she was addicted to plastic
surgery. Really there though to promote her book. I don't think he knew what to say to her.
She's a complete mess. I never imagined she was that sick to have
allowed herself on the show as a guest with serious issues, for the
audience to gasp and shake their heads at. And of course she had to
keep reminding Phil, "I *was* the first supermodel".
janice dickinson was supposedly the first model to be referred to in
the press as "supermodel".
obviously, print models were household names by the 1950s.
in the 70s, *runway* models became personalities for the first time,
and legendary Black models like pat cleveland, iman and toukie smith
set a new standard for high diva fierceness, establishing the
hip-swinging walk, idiosyncratic personality and attitude of strength
that defined the "supermodel" type..
in 1974, beverly johnson became the first Black model to hit the
cover of vogue, and folks were truly gagging.
marketing research revealed that "white" ladies not only wanted to
be more *like*miss johnson, they literally wanted to *be her*.
jerry hall swerved near parody - over-the-top, referencing old
hollywood and reeking faintly of decadence.
dickinson and later gia carangi wore their decadence openly on their
purple georgio sant angelo batwing sleeves - "modeling" rock & roll
hedonism and polymorphous sexuality to thunderous applause.
this was the real beginning of the supermodel phenomenon.
a true supermodel has name recognition, significant editorial and
runway presence and multiple covers of vogue and harper's bazaar.
in the 90s, "supermodels" in the media proliferated beyond reason,
and many girls were called "super' whose relationship to the fashion
establishment was peripheral at best.
television, sports illustrated and victoria's secret propelled
certain pneumatic and slightly trashy models to fame who were from the
beginning completely unfitted for high fashion editorial or runway
the giant breasts and blank-eyed, toothy appeal of these girls seemed
to work well as somebody's masturbatory fantasy, but were
antithetical to the "higher" purposes of real fashion.
tyra banks, kylie bax and claudia schiffer were the heroic exeptions
to this general rule, but they eventually lost their value as super
*fashion* models as they became unchangeable, laquered, brand-name
the "unholy trinity" - naomi campbell, linda evangelista and christy
turlington - retain their rigorous chic and mysterious aura to this
day, and they are the only ones from their generation who remain
viable as "supermodels" in a classic editorial or runway context.
eternally fabulous in chanel chains and biker jackets or dior
ballgowns, running drunkenly in versace spike-heeled hip boots
through the cobblestoned meatpacking distict of lower manhattan, their
severe poise, untouchable sexuality and ineffable air of "couture
realness" was never sacrificed on the profane altar of beer, mtv or
today, in our careful, chastened age, understated mini-supers maggie
rizer, stella tennant and alek wek quietly continue the tradition of
untouchable chic blazed by naomi, linda and christy.
they stomp rather than sashay, they scorn wigs and extensions and
their reluctant smiles are shy and artless, not fierce and brilliant.
oh well, times change...
but '75 to '80, '89 to '95... those certainly were the days, mary!