Already have an account?
Get back to the
Celebrities

These Nostalgic Photos of the Original ’80s Supermodels Are Filled With Glam Fashion Inspiration

Learn what they're up to now and get their best beauty tips!

Tags:

The iconic supermodels of the ’80s and early ’90s didn’t just rule the runways — they practically ruled the world. Everyone knew their names, and they graced the covers of countless magazines, inspiring women everywhere with their glamorous style. Everyone wanted to know the secrets of these ’80s supermodels: What they were wearing? How did their makeup always look so perfect? How was their hair always so voluminous? Who were they dating? And how did they manage to look so good in every single photo and media appearance?

MUST-READ: ’80s Supermodel Kim Alexis Shares Her Healthy Habits and Tips for Confidence (EXCLUSIVE)

We’re always nostalgic for the ’80s, and the supermodels were a big part of what made the decade so fashionable. Read on to see some fabulous throwback photos of your favorite models, learn some background on their careers and what they’re up to now and get top-secret supermodel beauty tips — straight from the pros who worked with them.

Who were the most famous ’80s supermodels?

80s supermodels Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell
Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell in 1992Rose Hartman/Getty

The original supermodels of the ’80s are Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Tatjana Patitz, all of whom earned the distinction when they appeared together on the iconic cover of British Vogue‘s January 1990 issue. Following the issue, they appeared together again in George Michael‘s “Freedom! ’90” music video, which was one of the most memorable creations of the MTV era. (Click through for the the top 15 Wham! songs that will instantly transport you back to the 1980s.)

MUST-READ: The ’80s Dance Challenge TikTok Trend Is Taking Over! See Parents Busting Nostalgic Moves

And Cindy, Naomi, Linda, Christy and Tatjana weren’t the only supermodels of the ’80s. Earlier in the decade, models like Christie Brinkley, Brooke Shields and Kathy Ireland paved the way.

“The influence of ’80s supermodels on society and the fashion industry was revolutionary,” says celebrity makeup artist Julianne Kaye. who has worked on some of today’s more notable models. “They epitomized a new era of glamour and empowerment, challenging conventional standards of beauty and femininity.”

The original influencers

 80s supermodels Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista onstage at Vogue World
Left to right: Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista return to the runway in 2023Jeff Spicer/Getty

While the supermodels were obviously admired for their looks, “their influence extended beyond the runway,” explains Kaye. “They impacted music, film and popular culture and solidified their status as symbols of an era characterized by excess and indulgence.”

Long before social media, the supermodels were the “original influencers” — a phenomenon explored in the 2023 Apple TV docuseries The Super Models. The series generated further conversation about the original glamour girls, and today, pictures of ’80s supermodels can be found all over Instagram. Over 30 years after they first hit the scene, they’re still influencing fashion trends.

’80s supermodel makeup trends

In the ’80s and ’90s, supermodels set many a makeup trend. “Their larger-than-life personalities and iconic looks made them cultural symbols, driving trends that we still see today,” says Kaye.

“’80s supermodels like Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington often rocked bold and glamorous makeup looks,” says Kaye. “These included vibrant eyeshadows, heavy blush, bold lips and dramatic eyeliner. The overall aesthetic was high-glamour with a focus on exaggerated features and a lot of shimmer and shine.” These looks made a striking impression, and stood out on magazine covers and under the bright, harsh lights of the runways or paparazzi.

Related: Makeup Artists: The Strategic Way to Apply Blush to Accentuate Your Best Features

80s supermodel Naomi Campbell getting makeup done by Kevyn Aucoin
Naomi Campbell gets her makeup done by celebrity makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin in 1996Mitchell Gerber/Getty

’80s supermodel hair trends

Hair in the ’80s was big, bold and glamorous. “Lots of movement, hair swept away from the face, big hair, lots of hairspray with very sexy, sexy hair,” is how celebrity hairstylist Kevin Mancuso, who worked with all five of the original supermodels back in the day, describes it. We saw lots of teasing at the roots, bouncy blowouts and big curls and waves.

A lot of these hair trends from the ’80s and early ’90s have been making their way back. While not quite as dramatic or teased as ’80s looks, variations of soft blowouts and big, bouncy curls are still worn by women of all ages. These classic hairstyles seem to never go out of style — not only are they versatile and flattering on almost anyone, they also make hair look fuller and thicker, giving strands more dimension.

10 iconic ’80s supermodels + nostalgic photos

Keep reading to see our favorite throwback moments featuring the ’80s supermodels and get pro beauty tips to help you recreate their gorgeous looks.

1. Cindy Crawford

Cindy Crawford at Chanel fashion show
Cindy Crawford in 1996Images Press/Getty
 80s supermodel Cindy Crawford walking runway in all black outfit
Cindy Crawford in 1991Vittoriano Rastelli/Getty

Instantly recognizable for her bouncy hair and perfectly placed beauty mark, Cindy Crawford is a household name known and loved by many. She started modeling in the early ’80s, and after earning a finalist spot at the 1983 Look of the Year modeling contest held by the modeling powerhouse Elite, she quickly secured dozens of jobs. She graduated as valedictorian of her Illinois high school and after a short time at college, she moved to NYC to purse modeling full-time.

In 1986, Crawford first appeared on the cover of Vogue, a breakthrough moment in her career. She later strutted the runways of every top designer, appeared in a wildly successful Pepsi commercial and signed a major deal with Revlon. Now 58, Crawford owns a beauty brand, Meaningful Beauty, and her lookalike daughter, Kaia Gerber, has followed in her ultra-glam footsteps, becoming a supermodel for a new generation.

Cindy Crawford beauty tip: Cindy’s signature look was, and still is, a side part with medium-length hair and voluminous curls. You can recreate the look by using a round brush and blow dryer for a defined blowout, then parting the hair to create your desired side part.

Tease hair at the roots and crown for volume, and finish with a texturizing spray. Or, for a heatless curl option, bring out the velcro rollers to create bouncy, loose curls the old-fashioned way.

Related: Heatless Curls For Short Hair — 4 Ways To Get The Bounce Without The Burn

2. Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell wearing pearl choker and pink dress
Naomi Campbell in 1990Rose Hartman/Getty
 80s supermodel Naomi Campbell wearing cherry outfit on runway
Naomi Campbell in 1989Images Press/Getty

Signing to her first modeling agency at just 15, Naomi Campbell kicked off her groundbreaking modeling career very young. She graced the cover of British Elle just before she turned 16, and she became one of the few Black models to appear regularly on magazine covers (including British, French and American Vogue) and runways.

She has since appeared in advertising campaigns for many brands, including Dolce & Gabana and Ralph Lauren, and starred in countless editorial shoots. Now 53, Campbell paved the way for a more diverse generation of models and completely transformed the industry, rightfully earning the title of a pioneer.

Naomi Campbell beauty tip: Naomi was known for her beautiful, high cheekbones and cranberry lips. To recreate that sculpted look, your best friend is contouring. Place a cream, cool-toned bronzer right below the cheekbones, along the jawline and around the temples to define features, and if you want a soft glow, apply a warm-toned bronzer on top.

For Naomi’s classic lip, line with a cranberry-hued lip liner, such as Sephora Lip Liner in Hot Sauce, and fill in your pout with a slightly lighter pink shade, such as Tower 28 ShineOn Lip Jelly Non-Sticky Gloss in Pistachio.

3. Linda Evangelista

80s supermodel Linda Evangelista walking Oscar de la Renta runway show
Linda Evangelista in 1991Images Press/Getty
 80s supermodel Linda Evangelista 1986 fashion show
Linda Evangelista in 1986Pierre VAUTHEY/Getty

Linda Evangelista enrolled in modeling school at just 12 years old and later entered a modeling competition that got her discovered, signing to Elite Model Management. She appeared on French Vogue in 1987, gaining massive attention in the industry, and just a couple years later, became the face of Versace and Revlon.

Now 58, Evangelista is well-known for her signature short hairdo, which perfectly complements her sharp features. She kickstarted a massive cropped hair trend, and was given the nickname “the Chameleon” because of her ability to transform herself (mainly by dramatically changing her hair) for any vision, shoot or runway.

Linda Evangelista beauty tip: To channel Linda’s cool cropped hair, ask your hairstylist for a pixie cut with lots of volume and dimension at the crown, and side-swept bangs.

4. Tatjana Patitz

Tatjana Patitz 1995
Tatjana Patitz in 1995Fred Duval/Getty
Tatjana Patitz on Christian Dior runway
Tatjana Patitz in 1991Pierre VAUTHEY/Getty

Tatjana Patitz also got her start in modeling through the Elite Model Contest, earning third place in Sweden. She moved to Paris following the contest, and eventually secured the cover of British Vogue in 1985. In 1988, following photographer Peter Lindbergh‘s iconic shot of her and five fellow models in the image “White Shirts: Six Supermodels, Malibu,” the German beauty quickly rose to fame, and she modeled in many editorial shoots, runways and ads.

Tragically, Patitz passed away at just 56 in January 2023 after battling breast cancer.

Tatjana Patitz beauty tip: Tatjana was a natural beauty, typically seen wearing a very simple makeup look. She often wore eyeliner along her waterline and lashline, followed by mascara.

For a bit of a smokier eye look, as she sometimes wore, smudge out the eyeliner along the bottom lash line, and add a matte brown shadow in the crease of the lid.

Related: 6 Natural Eye Makeup Looks for Women Over 50 That Prove That Less Is More

5. Christy Turlington

80s supermodel Christy Turlington in 1992
Christy Turlington in 1992Rose Hartman/Getty
Christy Turlington walking in Valentino fashion show
Christy Turlington in 1990julio donoso/Getty

Christy Turlington was just 14 when she was discovered by a local photographer. She signed to Ford Models two years later, and moved from California to New York City at 18 to model full-time. In 1989, at 20, she signed a seven-figure contract with Calvin Klein. She later signed a deal major 1992 deal with Maybelline. Over the course of her career, Turlington has appeared on more than 500 magazine covers and walked in top designers’ shows.

Now 55, she has also contributed significantly to causes close to her heart, including maternal health and lung cancer awareness.

Christy Turlington beauty tip: Christy always had absolutely flawless skin. To get a glowy, gorgeous base like Christy’s, start with good skin prep, like a brightening vitamin C serum in the morning followed by an anti-aging moisturizer.

Make sure you choose products that work for your specific skin. As Kaye says, “I choose the skincare and products I’m going to use based on my client’s skin type. If I have someone that tends to get super shiny, I use a lot of matte-based control products and a good long-lasting primer with setting spray.”

Related: “I’m a Dermatologist and Doing These 4 Steps Every Morning Ensures a Glow All Day!”

6. Kathy Ireland

Kathy Ireland, 1983
Kathy Ireland in 1983Harry Langdon/Getty
Kathy Ireland in all black outfit
Kathy Ireland in 1994Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty

Kathy Ireland was another model discovered by Elite Model Management, scouted at age 16 in 1979. She had an extremely successful modeling career in the ’80s, gracing the covers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, among many others, and became very well-known in the industry for her work with Sports Illustrated. Her 1989 cover was the highest-selling issue of the magazine and they declared it the “The Greatest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover of All Time.”

Ireland bridged the gap between commercial and high-fashion modeling, and went on to become a model-turned-mogul when she created her own company, Kathy Ireland Worldwide, in 1993. At 60, she remains a successful entrepreneur.

Related: Supermodel-Turned-Mogul Kathy Ireland Shares Her Secrets to Looking & Feeling Radiant at 60!

Kathy Ireland beauty tip: Kathy has always loved a good blowout. “It’s all about what you prep your hair with, and every successful style starts with excellent haircare,” advises Mancuso. To prep your blowout, apply a blow dry styling cream like the Nexxus Smooth & Full Blow Dry Balm for less frizz and more volume.

7. Christie Brinkley

80s supermodel Christie Brinkley
Christie Brinkley in 1992Vinnie Zuffante/Getty
Christie Brinkley, 1984
Christie Brinkley in 1984Images Press/Getty

Christie Brinkley got her start in the ’70s, when she was discovered in Paris by a photographer who took her first modeling photos. She then signed to a modeling agency, and later moved to New York. Her girl-next-door beauty was in high demand in the ’70s and ’80s, and she became most famous for her work as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. She appeared on the covers of many other publications as well, including Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar.

Now 70, Brinkley is also known for being the face of Covergirl, after she signed a contract with them in 1976.

Christie Brinkley beauty tip: Christie was viewed as the classic “All-American” girl. Her makeup looks were usually on the more natural side, with a pop of color on the lips. To recreate her look, do a simple base: foundation, concealer, contour and just a hint of blush if you want to add some color to your complexion.

For eyes, add an eyeliner in the waterline and brush on some mascara, and then finish off the look with your favorite lipstick.

8. Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields posing in red outfit, 1990
Brooke Shields in 1990Barry King/Getty
Brooke Shields in 1985 with curly hair and black outfit
Brooke Shields in 1985LGI Stock/Getty

Unlike the previous ’80s models mentioned, Brooke Shields didn’t walk the runway throughout her modeling career. Instead, she appeared in many famous photoshoots and magazine covers, and heavily focused on her acting career. Her mother got her into modeling at just 11 months old, and she appeared in dozens of advertisements as a child.

Shields starred in her first major film, the controversial historical drama Pretty Baby, in 1978 at age 11. A few years later, she appeared in ’80s classics like The Blue Lagoon and Endless Love. In 1980, at age 14, she became the youngest model to appear on the cover of Vogue, and later that year, starred in an infamous Calvin Klein advertising campaign.

After a very unusual and, at times, toxic childhood in the industry, she graduated from Princeton and continued her acting career for decades after. Now 58, she’s still acting and was the subject of a 2023 documentary, Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields.

Brooke Shields beauty tip: Let’s face it: We’ve all been jealous of Brooke’s brows for years. She has gorgeous, thick, dark eyebrows, and somehow knew to skip the over-plucking that many of us fell victim to in the ’80s and ’90s.

Brooke has said she just fills her brows in with a typical brow pencil, which you can find at any drugstore, and in 2021 she told InStyle that she uses a conditioning balm (such as Aquaphor) on her brows instead of a gel.

9. Claudia Schiffer

Claudia Schiffer 1990
Claudia Schiffer in 1990 Rose Hartman/Getty
Claudia Schiffer walking Paris fashion event
Claudia Schiffer in 1990julio donoso/Getty

After being discovered by the head of Metropolitan Model Agency while dancing at a night club in her native Germany, Claudia Schiffer became a model at 17. She accomplished a substantial amount in her modeling career early on, and has graced hundreds of magazine covers.

Schiffer frequently walked in top runway shows, including Chanel, Dolce & Gabana and Yves Saint Laurent, and starred in iconic black-and-white ad campaigns for Guess Jeans. Now 53, she recently curated a photo book devoted to the unforgettable fashion imagery of the ’90s.

Claudia Schiffer beauty tip: Claudia has kept the same gorgeous, blonde locks for decades now, and truly knows how to pull off the color. She revealed to Coveteur that she actually uses box dye to get her blonde hue. You can achieve the perfect shade at home with Schwarzkopf’s Permanent Hair Color in shade 10.1.

Related: Celebrity Colorists: These 10 At-Home Hair Colors Make Hair Look Thicker Instantly

10. Elle Macpherson

Elle Macpherson, 1987
Elle Macpherson in 1987Patrick Riviere/Getty
Elle Macpherson, 1990
Elle Macpherson in 1990Tom Wargacki/Getty

The Australian model Elle Macpherson jumpstarted her modeling career in 1982 at age 18, getting her start in a TV commercial. Like Christie Brinkley and Kathy Ireland, she became famous for her sexy Sports Illustrated swimsuit photos, and she was even nicknamed “the Body.”

Macpherson also walked the runway for Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Ralph Lauren, and appeared in campaigns for Dior and Revlon. Now 59, she also founded her own line of wellness elixirs.

Elle Macpherson beauty tip: Talk about hair goals! Elle has almost always had medium length to long hair. She usually styles it in loose waves or curls now, but back in the ’80s, she often wore it on the straighter side. For loose curls, use a 1.5 or 2 inch curling iron barrel, sectioning off hair and brushing out curls at the end.


For more nostalgic celebrity content, click through these stories:

Makeup Pros Reveal How to Recreate Priscilla Presley’s Iconic 60s Style

Stevie Nicks Fashion: See the Singer’s Signature Boho-Chic Looks

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.