Break out your dark lipstick, choker necklaces, Doc Martens boots and floral skater dresses. The 90s are back!
Fashion rags and trend-spotters have been spying nineties fashion in street style and on runways for a while now. But in January, Marie Claire officially announced: Indeed, nineties fashion isn’t just having a brief Renaissance: it’s here to stay and it’s even trying to persuade us that buffalo trainers are a good idea again.
Suffice it to say it’s Nineties Fever. Just the other week, Glamour compared the current wide leg denim trend on spring runways to the cartoonishly oversized jeans that were made infamous by the 90s skater brand JNCO. (And, if you need a laugh at JNCO’s expense, do check out this hilarious headline over at The Onion and this funny sartorial experiment by Buzzed last month.)
The nineties comeback that I’d like to draw your attention to, however, isn’t about the styles from that era, though 90s fashion is definitely enjoying a renaissance (see Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin wearing matching chokers).
No, I’m heralding the resurgence of the women who made the nineties fashionable: Models Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Veronica Webb, Stella Tennant and others. These were the women who defined the word “supermodel.” They once ruled runways and magazine covers—and, recently, we’ve seen that they’re still going strong.
On the cover of the April issue of Vogue Paris, Cindy Crawford graced the cover with her daughter Kaia Gerber. Looking more like the 14-year-old’s older sister, Crawford is every bit the stunner, not having lost any of her beauty at 50 years old. Though Crawford is proudly passing the baton to her daughter, she surely hasn’t lost any of her photogenic allure. Wearing matching bomber jackets, the mother-daughter duo are the envy of women of every age. Gerber is following in her mother’s footsteps having scored an IMG modeling contract and a campaign with Alexander Wang.
In the nineties, not only did supermodel Veronica Webb represent high-end labels like Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Lauren, she was also the first black model to land a major beauty contract. In February, Webb returned to the runway for a cameo appearance on stage for Yeezy Season 3, Kanye West’s sold-out fashion show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Webb is also one of the “Legends” signed to Trump Models, along with Cheryl Tiegs and Beverly Johnson.
Speaking of the Yeezy Season 3 presentation in February, there was another nineties supermodel making a special guest star appearance that night: Naomi Campbell. Campbell, who was once one of the highest paid models in fashion, has been on a comeback trail for a few years now. In 2013, she returned to the catwalk as fierce as ever, vamping it up for Versace (a performance for which she prepared by doing a 10-day juice cleanse). In June 2015, she helped relaunch the Givenchy label after its three-year hiatus and walked the runway with fashion’s new “it” girls Kendall Jenner and Joan Smalls. That same month, she modeled for La Perla in what was called her “swimwear comeback.” (Campbell, for the record, is 45 years old. And she doesn’t look a day older than 22, the age she was when she starred alongside Michael Jackson in his “In The Closet” video.)
Naomi Campbell was also one of the stars of a recent Balmain campaign that reunited Campbell with fellow 90s supermodel Cindy Crawford as well as Claudia Schiffer. Schiffer, of course, was the buxom beauty who became synonymous with the brand Guess. In 2012, Guess tapped Schiffer for an ad campaign to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
Lately, whenever mature models appear on runways or in magazine spread it’s a fashion event. In an excellent commentary on Vogue.com entitled “We Need to Talk About Fashion’s Ageism Problem,” the writer Janelle Okwodu says, “Given the rarity with which they appear, every mature model sighting becomes that much more impactful.” The legendary Stella Tennant was one of the highlights of the Prada Fall 2016 show in February. Tenant, like Crawford and Campbell, has been hailed as one of models who defined the nineties.
Whether they were starring in music videos (lest we forget George Michael’s iconic supermodel-studded “Freedom” video) or simply defining street style, the models of the nineties are the gift that keep on giving.