Staying Power: ’90s Supermodels Are (Still) Having a Moment

Some of modeling's biggest names, including Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Stephanie Seymour, are having a moment (again)

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Nearly 25 years after Christy Turlington Burns became the face of Calvin Klein’s Eternity fragrance, the 44-year-old mother, model and philanthropist is teaming up with the fashion brand again. Turlington Burns is returning to Calvin Klein this fall as the face of the company’s global advertising campaign for Calvin Klein Underwear.

Turlington Burns is just one of several models who became household names in the 1990s — considered the “Supermodel Era” — and is making a comeback or showing major staying power.

Kristi McCormick, a casting agent and founder of the Matchbook agency, who booked Turlington Burns for the 2012 Donna Karan fragrance campaign, said it all comes down to purchasing power: “I do believe that the women who are shopping and buying are over 30 … and can relate to the iconic models,” she says. “When I see a photo of Christy or Claudia Schiffer, they’re wearing a product or shoes that I could wear, as opposed to putting them on a 16- or 17-year-old girl.”

Here’s a look at some other notable supermodels who’ve had another moment as of late:

Linda Evangelista, 48:
The Canadian supermodel, who was discovered in 1978 at a Miss Teen Niagara contest, soon became the face of brands such as Nina Ricci and Guy Laroche. In 1988, she chopped her hair into that famous bob and was subsequently banned from all the important runway shows that season; yet she went on to greater fame to become the face of Versace, Donna Karan and Revlon. Last year, Evangelista returned to modeling with a big splash: she appeared in the Chanel spring-summer 2012 ad campaign, a Vogue Italia editorial photographed by Steven Meisel and a W magazine editorial campaign.

Claudia Schiffer, 42:
In recent years, the 1990s Guess jeans model has appeared in campaigns for Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Salvatore Ferragamo, Dolce & Gabbana and more. Most notably, she returned in 2012 as the face of Guess in a series of black-and-white ads for the brand’s 30th anniversary.

Naomi Campbell, 42:
Declared the “reigning megamodel of them all” by Interview magazine in May 1990, Campbell paved the way for models of color in the industry, appearing as the first black model of Vogue‘s famous September issue in 1989, along with countless other magazine covers. In 2012, she starred in the Roberto Cavalli spring-summer ad campaign shot by Meisel: it was not only stunningly awash in gold and glitter, but a study of beauty at different ages, featuring models Kristen McMenamy (then 45), Karen Elson (then 33) and Daphne Groeneveld (then 17). Campbell currently serves as a judge on Oxygen’s modeling reality series The Face.

Stephanie Seymour, 44:
In the late 1980s and early ’90s, Seymour was known as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit-issue cover girl and one of the first Victoria’s Secret models, and her universal appeal allowed her to pose for everyone from Vogue to Playboy. This January, she became the face of 30-year-old designer Jason Wu’s Miss Wu collection, a more affordable diffusion line sold at Nordstrom. It was a surprising choice, given that Miss Wu is geared at a younger customer than Wu’s runway pieces, but as the designer told WWD: “I wanted to cast a strong woman with definite sex appeal.”