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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Anyone who is a fan of the ’90s supermodels (or, as I think of them, the ONLY supermodels) needs to check out September’s Vanity Fair.

And if you’re too young to remember a time in fashion before actresses dominated magazine covers while wan, bug-eyed teenagers drifted down the runways — a time before Kate Moss, even! — then you really need this issue. Believe it or not, there used to be creatures that looked like WOMEN in fashion. Glamazon women who looked beautiful and powerful, and whom even non-fashion people knew by their first names: Christy, Naomi, Claudia, Cindy, Stephanie and my eternal favorite, Linda.

My favorite Linda Evangelista cover ever
Courtesy LEvangelista.net

A few bloggers have had good posts on the supers lately. In addition to one from Martirio’s Way , which I pointed out before, check out Dressed and Pressed. I was also excited to see Iheartfashion’s great post on Nadege, who, while she wasn’t one of the “supers,” often worked alongside them, and seemed to be in every runway show for years.

Another model who worked with the supers during their heyday was Carla Bruni, now the First Lady of France and Vanity Fair’s cover girl.

The more I read about Carla, the more I like her. She seems very straightforward and well-spoken. The Vanity Fair story is online. I also liked this Times of London interview with her.

Continuing the Vanity Fair model mania, there’s a nice page of photos of Veruschka, Penelope Tree, Twiggy and Kate Moss.

On a much more serious note, the magazine has an excellent story on Zimbabwe. If you aren’t a big reader of the news, and you don’t know about the terror that Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe has inflicted on his country, stop being an ignoramus and click the link, dammit. The Vanity Fair piece is a well-written story that will give you some insight into a country blessed with rich natural resources but suffering from the world’s shortest average life span (36) and inflation that was running at about 9 million percent when the author wrote the story.

It’s enough to make you believe only the good die young.
Mugabe is 84 and still terrorizing the country.

Speaking of Africa, I beg you that if you speak of Africa, try to know what you’re talking about. It’s bad enough when people don’t know anything about what’s going on in that part of the world but equally irritating to hear people spouting politically correct, but ill-informed, cliches. Recently, I couldn’t help overhearing someone talking about “blood diamonds.” I wasn’t going to say anything, but she went on at such length, seeming to think that the majority of diamonds were blood diamonds, that I finally had to interrupt her to ask if she even knew that the civil war in Sierra Leone ended in 2002. She was so used to the concept of blood diamonds that she hadn’t thought about the specifics of African politics. (Obviously, diamonds from Zimbabwe would be unacceptable if the money was lining Mugabe’s pocket; if they could be used to finance his opposition, that might be different.) As I’ve said before, the leading diamond producers are Botswana in terms of financial value, and Australia in terms of quantity. For your final reading assignment, check out the New York Times story on Botswana, now one of the most prosperous African nations thanks, in no small part, to its diamond ventures with diamond-monopoly-turned-better-corporate-citizen De Beers.

UPDATED TO ADD: I lied. That wasn’t your final reading assignment. You have to read this story about how, while people starve in Darfur, Sudan is exporting food to the Middle East.

UPDATED NOV. 2, 2011, TO ADD: A good story in the New York Times explains how political anarchy and militant group increase the effects of famine in Somalia.

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39 Responses to “The Printed Page”

  1. bonjour girl says:

    your blog is FANTASTIC

  2. Imelda Matt says:

    I couldn’t have said better…IM and I were at dinner with a well know and well respected Aussie journo and we started discussing Africa. Not only was this individual ill-informed but he was stone cold useless on even the most basic points.

  3. styleraven says:

    That’s my fave Linda cover too! I wish I still had a copy.

    That’s a good issue of VF. I initially bought it for Paul Newman, the supers, and David Bailey, but I ended up liking the other articles too. The condo prices for 15 Central Park are insane!

    DeBeers was in the news recently here (Canada) for opening two mines. One in the Artic and one in north Ontario if I remember right.

  4. WendyB says:

    Bonjour, thanks!

    Raven, I enjoyed the Paul Newman article too. Overall, it was a great issue. Lots to read. Guess what? I have the Linda cover, framed!

  5. wottoncool says:

    i love carla bruni too! think she’s one of those over-acheivers… what with modelling and singing, playing and politics!

  6. Kim says:

    I loved it when there were actually supermodels, and models on the covers of the fashion magazines. However my supermodel loyalty must run to Yasmin Le Bon (though she was of course more super in the UK than here). I’m a very loyal DD girl 😉 (ok loyal Simon girl cos I can’t stand Mrs Juicy Taylor)

  7. Songy says:

    thank you for your thought provoking post. I’ll need some time to read our ‘assignments’. I tend to shy away from political issues.. it’s just too much and I tend to get so outraged!
    Still knowing is better than not knowing..

  8. Sharon Rose says:

    Hi Wendy-your post is very informative and thanks for bringing these important issues to the fore. I agree, the Linda cover is her best to date-totally divine!

  9. Super Kawaii Mama says:

    I love the way you woo us with the pretties and then sock us with the real news. The world of fashion blogging seems so brittle and shallow at times, it is refreshing to see these two topics sitting side by side. Knowledge and learning makes for a very sexy mind.

  10. deryik says:

    u made my day, really. someone actually realises that africa is firstly a continent, not a single country, and that they have some rather intense politics — believe me its really rare nowadays. ive been working on some african countries, like ethiopia, zimbabwe, DRC, and sudan, though i didnt get a chance to visit those places. ethiopia for example, had its peak point in food exports during famine times. (Actually, irish famine also took place when ireland had the highest volume of food exported to england, back then). And they dont even produce the food that the local population would prefer to eat, or sometimes its cash-crops like coffee. so many controversies… These countries also export electricity to each other, though only 4% of the population have access to electricity.

    There was this documentary, “Darwin’s nightmare” or something, I’d really recommend that movie to see the food-civil war linkage, beyond any imagination. It was about lake victoria. If u get a chance, its really worth your time (maybe uve already seen it?).

  11. Moira says:

    great homework assignments Miss Brandes. I guess it’s back to school time for all of us.

  12. KiKi says:

    i love this post you are very right about the everything Durfur is in trouble and they are asking for help while we the united states are over in a country that doesn’t want to be helped. Also in china the olympics ost so much but yet over half of the population is poor farmrs sometimes i think goverment it just so messed up

  13. K.Line says:

    Ms Wendy: Only you can mix current affairs and supermodels so effortlessly! And speak so informedly about them both.

    I’ll comment on the fluffier element, namely that unbelievable, fabulous cover of Linda E. Those supermodels ARE the only supermodels. I don’t care what anyone says. Kate Moss is an interloper in my books. Long live Cindy and Christy and Stephanie and Carla et al.

  14. Ladies Who Lunch says:

    sadly i am old enough to remember when Cindy Crawford was the hottest model in the world!

  15. jayne says:

    ooo just read the new VF and you're right, Carla is rather fascinating & much more likable and intelligent than I realized. She is very candid, witty, and doesn't apologize for who she is, plus that quote about Sarko's response to her nude photos was hilarious! 😉

  16. Lynette says:

    WendyB, the standard bearer for us all who strive to be informed, who are curious, who care, and want to enlighten. Thank you for these links which make it so easy for everyone.

    Henry’s adorable, as is your anniversary purse.

    And I’m so glad you are not stone-cold bored with my continuing Red Bull Flugtag series. I have to tell you that the sentence you cracked up over was my second effort–that darn Blogger didn’t automatically save my entire post late, late last night, so I persevered until I had done it again, posting constantly.

  17. enc says:

    I know how I’ll be spending the rest of my weekend—READING!

  18. miss cavendish says:

    Stephanie’s final quote in the VF article (catty, yes, but full of truth) sums it all up. Supermodels were and are those lovely women.

    And for some gratutious name-dropping: John Prendergast is an acquaintance–I arranged interviews with him for my j-students–and he has done a marvelous job of spreading the word about Darfur among the college-age set. Vanity Fair needs to continue with these substantial stories.

  19. Miss Woo says:

    Linda is a beauty, but its still Naomi for me all the way. Love love love the new ysl campaign..

  20. Make Do and Mend says:

    Your first part was fab but your second part was BRILLIANT – so glad you highlighted Zimbabwe and Darfur. I’d love to comment on this sunject in depth but reading the links is much better!

  21. i think thats hauttte says:

    i think im too young to remember 90’s supermodels. but i will complete all my new reading assignements from you :]

  22. Anna Pope says:

    Definitely buying this one!

  23. kokostiletto says:

    i totally agree with you wendy b! those 90s supermodels… nobody has been able to touch them since! maybe giselle and heidi… that’s it… and they are STILL as gorgeous now as they were 10 years ago! I swear they look the same!

  24. Oh Lady E says:

    Ugh… it really irks me when people talk about Africa (or any other continent/region for that matter) without actually doing any research on them. Thoughtless.

    Complete change of subject. Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista, HEY! I’m going to get this issue, for sure.

  25. (R)evolver74 says:

    Linda’s my FAVE too!! Although she looks weird in that 1st pic. Who is she dating now, still that bald-headed French goalkeeper, or have they been broken up for a while now???

  26. Prunella Jones says:

    I always liked RuPaul. Now she was a cover girl.

  27. In Yr Fshn says:

    I missed Cindy Crawford and am glad she is back in the spotlight for a bit. These ladies still look wonderful. Agreed about Carla Bruni; she’s also in Entertainment Weekly and it’s a quick but good read. I loved the VF article.
    Oh, and hello! Hope all is well 🙂 I read your blog on my blackberry at lunch.

  28. Savvy Mode SG says:

    this post is very savvy.

  29. Renaissance Woman says:

    Supermodels!!!! Those were great times when they stood out as super.

  30. WendyB says:

    Revolver, that relationship ended long ago…she seems happily hooked up with Peter Morton, the founder of Hard Rock.

  31. Bobble Bee says:

    no words enough to thank you for the comments on africa and the links.

  32. Skye says:

    What a wonderful post – style and substance and all points in between in one meaty little parcel. Love!

    PS. Linda was always my girl too.

  33. TheSundayBest says:

    Every time I see Linda I remember the shock I felt the first time I heard her voice – in Unzipped, the doc about Mizrahi. A must watch btw.

  34. ♥ Marta ♥ says:

    OMG … I can’t wait to get the Vanity Fair 🙂 … I absolutely love love love 90’s models

  35. the iron chic says:

    “How could I possibly have a sexual relationship with a fifty-year-old fossil? I have a beautiful boyfriend of twenty-eight…why should I swap for a dinosaur?”

    -Carla Bruni on Mick Jagger.

    Just sayin’….

  36. The Management says:

    The furor caused over blood diamonds is still causing a backlash even for companies like mine that buy only conflict-free gems.

    All we can do is tell the truth about the myraid checks and balances built into the system to keep conflict diamonds out of our stores.

    Ted, Mervis Diamond Importers

  37. Karen says:

    Wendy, I loved the article on Carla Bruni, though I am still a bit wary of her…

    My favorite super was Linda too, I cut my hair just like hers in 1989 and I loved it! I think Christy and Cindy are aging the best, I must say.

    Tho I am out here in L.A., I subscribe to New York Magazine. I was horrified by the article, “The New, New Face”–My face doesn’t look like a baby or a young teenager from the Ukraine! What will I do???? What do you think of the article?


  38. WendyB says:

    Karen, my #1 thought was that I’m glad I’m not famous so that people are constantly commenting on my face!!

  39. a cat of impossible colour says:

    Thanks for this post, Wendy – I’m Zimbabwean, and it makes me very angry when people talk about my country without really knowing what’s going on there at all … anyway, thanks! 🙂