A History of the Supermodel

A History of the SupermodelSupermodels are those women that define a generation’s fashion. They are the face of that era’s haute couture. Originally coined back in 1890, the term as we know it today didn’t take on its modern appearance until the 1940s when the first true supermodel proved just how influential a beautiful face could be.

Lisa Fonssagrives

Born in Sweden, Fonssagrives is credited as the world’s first supermodel. She was paid double the industry’s typical fare and worked with the most influential photographers at the time, including Richard Avedon and Erwin Blumenfeld.


Up next was the world renowned British androgynous model. She was the first to popularize a tiny frame and doll-like features. To speak to her success, there was even a Barbie made in her likeness.

Jean Shrimpton

Even with Twiggy’s tiny figure, though, Shrimpton found no trouble forging on ahead to be referred to as “the face of the Swinging Sixties”. Tall and slim, she popularized the mini skirt and appeared in a British Vogue editorial that still resounds throughout the fashion world to this day.

Margaux Hemingway

The great granddaughter of author Ernest Hemingway, Margaux shattered all financial expectations in the modeling world in 1975 when she landed a million-dollar contract with Faberg, the first ever. She even found partial success as an actress for a brief period of time.

The Big Five – Campbell, Crawford, Evangelista, Schiffer, Turlington

Throughout the late ‘80s and on into the new century, the world stood at the forefront of a perfect storm of fierce feminine beauty that forever redefined the supermodel. Boasting six-figure paychecks, flaunting beauty moles, destroying the race barrier and showing versatility that had never been seen before, these five women took over every aspect of the modeling industry and beyond. Their faces, to this day, remain recognizable the world over.

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