Claudia Schiffer on a recent cover of Russian Vogue
PARIS ? To paraphrase Douglas MacArthur, old supermodels never die, they just fade away for a while. And then they come back again.
Although celebrities have hijacked hordes of fashion ads in recent years, Nineties-era supermodels ? displaying formidable powers of longevity ? have returned with a vengeance in many of fall’s fashion campaigns.
That Linda Evangelista is starring in Prada, Naomi Campbell in Yves Saint Laurent, Claudia Schiffer in Chanel and Salvatore Ferragamo, Eva Herzigova in Louis Vuitton and Christy Turlington in Escada suggests these industry thoroughbreds remain as bankable and fascinating as Hollywood’s best beauties.
In fact, models in general ? from newbies to veterans ? dominate the lion’s share of European designer campaigns for next season, from Daria Werbowy in Christian Dior and Raquel Zimmerman in Fendi to Angela Lindvall in Jimmy Choo and Kate Moss in Stella McCartney. Notable exceptions to the celebrity-free ad zone include Charlotte Gainsbourg for Balenciaga and Vanessa Paradis for Miu Miu ? while many American brands also are sticking to the celeb road, such as Calvin Klein’s multiple use of Eva Mendes.
Karl Lagerfeld ? who has tapped Schiffer for three consecutive Chanel fashion campaigns, not forgetting Turlington, who appears in this season’s Chanel eyewear and handbag spots ? asserted that iconic Nineties supermodels are celebrities themselves, as easy for people to identify as any movie star.
“Time makes them sometimes even more interesting,” Lagerfeld said. “I work with them because they are great and right even for this moment. They are still young women with nice faces and great personal, modern style. They are, and stay, irreplaceable.”
Schiffer, who is also doing an encore in Ferragamo’s campaign, is “better than ever,” according to Lagerfeld.
Donatella Versace credits her late brother Gianni for fueling the supermodel phenomenon by sending all the top girls down the runway together in 1991.
“He made the models into celebrities as he understood that the more famous they became, the better it would be for him,” she said. “I don’t really make a distinction between working with celebrities and working with models as I think girls like Christy Turlington and, more recently, Kate Moss and Gisele [B?n] are celebrities, just as well-known as many actors and musicians.”
The results compare with profits of 1.33 billion euros, or $1.7 billion, on sales of 4.83 billion euros, or $6.19 billion, the previous year. All currency exchanges have been made at average exchange rates for the respective periods.
Johann Rupert, Richemont’s chairman, expressed caution over the current year, but was optimistic the group could weather the current economic downturn. “Despite turbulent times, sales during the first quarter of 2008 showed growth of 11 percent at actual exchange rates and that pattern has been repeated in the month of April, with sales growth of 16 percent at actual exchange rates and 24 percent in local currency terms,” he said.
“Over the first 20 years of its existence, we have positioned Richemont well to face the challenges of the global economy. The group has no net debt and a strong balance sheet and we have invested our surplus funds prudently,” he said.
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