There's a reason we called them Supers: the catwalkers and cover girls of the 1990s were celebrities in their own right, appearing in music videos (hello, George Michael's "Freedom!"), hosting television shows (MTV's House of Style, anyone?), and providing enough tabloid fodder through their romantic and professional lives that they eventually became household names. While we may have Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner now, the biggest '90s supermodels were their own breed.
What's also remarkable is that more than two decades later, we're all still captivated by them, from their personal style to their families, which now include a couple model daughters with burgeoning careers of their own. Below we're taking a look back at 10 models who defined the decade, from Kate and Christy to Tyra and Tatjana.
While Kate the Great hardly needs any introduction nowadays, back in 1990, she was just a 16-year-old from Croydon who many thought was too short or too plain to make it as a model. How wrong she proved them, though: After her 1992 Calvin Klein campaign with Marky Mark sealed her fate, she went on to cover virtually every magazine under the sun (including British Vogue 39 times) and inspire a generation of fashion fans.
Known as the chameleon of the modeling industry, Evangelista has pulled off virtually every hair cut, color, and beauty look under the sun. After moving to New York from her hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario, in 1984, she slowly worked her way up the ladder to superstardom, eventually posing for more than 700 magazine covers and playing muse to luminaries such as Steven Meisel, Karl Lagerfeld, and Gianni Versace.
Nobody does it like Naomi. Even now, at 48, the model is appearing in the Pirelli calendar and slaying the runway on the regular. And back in the '90s, she was a ubiquitous presence in the top fashion magazines and the catwalks of Milan, New York, and Paris. Even when she took a tumble in Vivienne Westwood's sky-high platforms in 1993, the photos of her laughing as she picked herself up quickly became legendary.
With her pillow-lipped grin, perfectly symmetrical face, and reputation for being one of the nicest and most professional people in fashion, Turlington was destined to be a star. And sure enough, she quickly became one of the biggest earners in the industry, earning a reported $800,000 for 12 days of work with Maybelline, in addition to fronting campaigns for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and more.
Cindy Crawford was already a mainstream star at the turn of the decade, arriving at the 1991 Oscars in a plunging red Versace gown on the arm of then-husband Richard Gere, and the next year, appearing in an instantly iconic TV spot for Pepsi at the Super Bowl. Her off-duty style was influential too—something she now seems to be passing on to daughter Kaia Gerber.
With her blond hair, blue eyes, and lithe 5'11" frame, German model Claudia Schiffer was a favorite of high-fashion designers and commercial brands alike. In the '90s, she became the face of Guess, posing for photographer Ellen von Unwerth and Chanel, for whom she became a longtime muse.
Long before America's Next Top Model was on television, Tyra Banks was, in fact, one of the country's top working models, becoming the first African-American woman to cover both GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue; acting in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Coyote Ugly; and holding court for nearly a decade as one of the Victoria's Secret Angels.
Last year, Amber Valletta made a triumphant return to the runway, walking shows in New York, Milan, and Paris—all familiar stomping grounds for the model, who moved to the City of Light from her home in Phoenix, Arizona, at 17 and soon rose to fame as a face of Versace and Chanel, frequent Vogue cover girl, and eventual actress (her role in Revenge is a personal fave).
Valletta's frequent partner in crime and co-host of MTV's House of Style, Harlow also eventually pivoted to on-screen work, but in the '90s and '00s, the Canadian model was a star of the catwalk, most famously Alexander McQueen's S/S 99 show, in which she posed on a rotating platform as robots spray-painted her strapless dress black and neon yellow.
While not as well-known now as some of her fellow Supers from the decade, Patitz appeared alongside Christy, Linda, Cindy, and Naomi in Peter Lindbergh's legendary January 1990 black-and-white cover for British Vogue, walked just about every major runway, and posed for campaigns including Chanel, Escada, and Ralph Lauren. Now, the German beauty lives on a ranch in Malibu with her son. But who knows? There's always time for a comeback.
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This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated by Gina Marinelli.