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Style Icon Watch 16: Naomi Campbell

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Naomi is an entire history class. She along the models of her time, are the ‘Supermodels’. She is still reigning strong in the fashion world and with time has added even more charisma, grace and elegance to the catwalk.

According to Wikipedia, Naomi born Naomi Elaine Campbell on 22 May, 1970 is an English model, activist, entrepreneur and humanitarian. Recruited at the age of 15, she established herself among the top three most recognisable and in-demand models of the late 1980s and the 1990s, alongside Kate Moss and Cindy Crawford, and was one of six models of her generation declared “supermodels” by the fashion industry.

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In addition to her modelling career, Campbell has embarked on other ventures, which include an R&B – pop studio album and several acting appearances in film and television, such as the modelling competition reality show The Face and its international offshoots. Campbell is also involved in charity work for various causes. 

Campbell’s first public appearance came at the age of seven, in 1978, when she was featured in the music video for Bob Marley ‘s ” Is This Love”. At the age of twelve, she tap-danced in the music video for Culture Club ‘s ” I’ll Tumble 4 Ya “. In 1986, while still a student of the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, Campbell was scouted by Beth Boldt, head of the Synchro Model Agency, while window-shopping in Covent Garden. Her career quickly took off—in April, just before her sixteenth birthday, she appeared on the cover of British Elle.

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Over the next few years, Campbell’s success grew steadily: she walked the catwalk for such designers as Gianni Versace, Azzedine Alaïa, and Isaac Mizrahi, and posed for such photographers as Peter Lindbergh, Herb Ritts , and Bruce Weber. By the late 1980s, Campbell, with Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista, formed a trio known as the “Trinity”, who became the most recognisable and in-demand models of their generation. 

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When faced with discrimination, Campbell received support from her friends; she later quoted Turlington and Evangelista as telling Dolce & Gabbana, “If you don’t use Naomi, you don’t get us.” In December 1987, she appeared on the cover of British Vogue, as that publication’s first black cover girl since 1966. In August 1988, she became the first black model to appear on the cover of French Vogue, after her friend and mentor, designer Yves St. Laurent, threatened to withdraw his advertising from the magazine if it continued to refuse to place black models on its cover. The following year, she appeared on the cover of American Vogue, which marked the first time a black model graced the front of the September issue, traditionally the year’s biggest and most important issue. 

In January 1990, Campbell, who was declared “the reigning megamodel of them all” by Interview, appeared with Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, and Tatjana Patitz on an iconic cover of British Vogue, shot by Peter Lindbergh. 

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In 1999, she signed her first cosmetics contract with Cosmopolitan Cosmetics, a division of Wells, through which she launched several signature fragrances. In November of that year, she posed with twelve other top models for the “Modern Muses” cover of the Millennium Issue of American Vogue, shot by Annie Leibovitz.  The following month, she appeared in a white string bikini and furs on the cover of Playboy. In October 2001, she appeared with rapper Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs on the cover of British Vogue, with the headline “Naomi and Puff: The Ultimate Power Duo”.

After more than two decades as a model, Campbell remains in demand. In 2007, she walked the catwalk for Dior ‘s sixtieth-anniversary fashion show at Versailles. In July 2008, she appeared with fellow black models Liya Kebede, Sessilee Lopez, and Jourdan Dunn on the gatefold cover of a landmark all-black issue of Italian Vogue,shot by Steven Meisel. In September of that year, Campbell reunited with Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, and Stephanie Seymour for “A League of Their Own”, a Vanity Fair feature on the supermodel legacy. 

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In 2011, Campbell appeared with Liya Kebede and Iman on the cover of the fortieth-anniversary issue of Essence. She also starred as Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon in the band’s music video for “Girl Panic!”, with Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Eva Herzigova , and Yasmin Le Bon portraying the other band members; they appeared in the November edition of British Harper’s Bazaar in an editorial titled “The Supers vs. Duran Duran”. Campbell performed with Kate Moss and other supermodels in the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, where they modelled haute couture to represent British fashion. Campbell wore a design by Alexander McQueen —a staggered hem gown with a train speckled with flecks of gold.

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In March 2013, Campbell graced the inaugural cover of Numéro Russia. Campbell also became involved in reality television through the modelling competition The Face and its international offshoots. In the U.S., she served as a coach and judge, along with Karolina Kurkova and Coco Rocha , on Oxygen ‘s The Face, hosted by photographer Nigel Barker. She also hosted the British version of the show, which aired on Sky Living later that same year, and The Face Australia, which ran on Fox8 in 2014.

In 2014, Campbell covered the May issue of Vogue Australia, the September issue of Vogue Japan, and the November issue of Vogue Turkey; the latter two were special editions celebrating Campbell and fellow supermodels. Campbell also covered the Vietnamese, Singaporean and the 35th anniversary Latin American edition of Harper’s Bazaar.

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The following year, she closed the Fall/Winter Zac Posen show at New York Fashion Week, and featured in Spring/Summer 2015 campaigns for Burberry and lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur. 

 

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