In every decade that boasts of iconic fashion, we may even have some iconic models to showcase all that fashion in a proper way. Designers rely on models to wear their creations in a way that will make the item both trendy and in demand. Therefore, supermodels have been important figures in the fashion industry for many decades.
Although the range of models can go up and down according to what is in demand, there is no doubt that a supermodel is a celebrity in her own right. If anyone is even remotely interested in fashion, they should be familiar with the models of every decade. This is especially true for models in the ’70s, as the decade was one of the most unique and flamboyant when it came to fashion.
Without further ado, here are the supermodels who ruled the catwalks and fashion magazines during the 1970s:
Supermodel Beverly Johnson helped pave the way for African-American models to break down racial barriers during the 1970s. Like many models of color during her time, she overcame prejudice and became one of the most successful models of her time. She became the first African-American model to appear on the cover of Vogue magazine.
Of course, there is still a lot of prejudice in the modeling and acting industry regarding race, color, ethnicity, etc. However, things were much tougher during the ’70s, so Johnson’s contribution was certainly exemplary.
Jiya Karangi was 17 years old when she was signed by Wilhelmina Models. She became one of the most sought after and famous models of her time, earning around $100,000 per year. She has ruled the runway and featured in several campaigns. Unfortunately, she became addicted to drugs (especially heroin), and her career began to slide. At the age of 26, Carangi died of complications related to AIDS in 1986, becoming one of the first famous women to die of this then-unknown disease.
Angeline Jolie plays Jia in the film on the life of the model. While there may be some discrepancies for theatricality, the model’s great success and the work itself portraying the tragic death remains largely true.
The Somali stunner Iman was discovered by American photographer Peter Beard while she was studying at a university in Nairobi, Kenya. She exploded into the fashion world, graced runways and major magazine covers. Incidentally, she also became the first African model to appear on the cover of Vogue magazine.
Iman is beautiful and mind – she is fluent in five languages, for one. She married rock icon David Bowie in 1992, and they remained together until his death in 2016. As a model, Iman ruled not only in the 70s but also in the 80s. We have already covered the top models of the 80s in this article:
Dickinson moved to New York City in the early 70s to pursue a modeling career after winning the “Miss High Fashion Model” award. Her start in the business was not easy, however, as she was rejected by several agents including Eileen Ford.
However, her discovery by a fashion photographer led her to several modeling jobs in Europe. Eventually, she was featured in several major fashion magazines including Vogue and Marie Claire. Dickinson is often referred to as the world’s first “supermodel”, although Twiggy is also said to hold the title.
The six-foot sculptured Texan beauty was discovered by a fashion agent while sunbathing on a beach in St. Tropez. Shortly thereafter, she began to be featured in most major fashion magazines, including titles such as Cosmopolitan and Vogue. She is also known for her high-profile marriage to Rolling Stone’s Mick Jagger (they split in 1999). Most recently, Hall married media mogul Rupert Murdoch in 2016.
Berenson’s maternal grandmother is the famous fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, so one could say that fashion has been in her blood. He starred in several campaigns for Halston, Azzedine Alaya and YSL, as well as covered for several magazines including Vogue and Time. She also became an actress, starring in several films including Casanova & Co. Yves Saint Laurent called her “The Girl of the Seventies”.
Hansen was 14 when she signed with Wilhelmina Models. She then covered major fashion magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Glamour. She has been married to Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards since 1983.
Before making her mark as an actress, Rousseau started out as a model. According to multiple sources, she was spotted by a modeling agent at a concert for the Rolling Stones in 1972. She was then signed to the Ford Modeling Agency and became one of the top models of the 1970s as well as the 1980s. He covered several magazines like Vogue and Mademoiselle, which is a testament to his success.
Making Fashion Collectibles
If you’re interested in ’70s fashion, a fun way to explore them is with a work called “Collective Doll Fashion, 1970”. This paperback book brings you trendy dolls in the best clothing designs belonging to this charming, unique decade. The pages showcase dolls that will also delight any collector’s heart, so you might want to pick up a copy here:
An interest in fashion doesn’t mean you have to stick to it for just a decade. However, reading about the fashion icons and models of the 70s can give you valuable insight into modern styles. Finding out more about this decade is sure to give you inspiration for your own designs, or a unique way to add to your current wardrobe. Fast forward to fashion in this decade and hence continues to be a major influencer of fashion today. You can also check out ’70s makeup trends on The Trend Within.