The Evolution of the Supermodel – The Seventies

The beauty ideal of the 70s was a more realistic, practical one than that of the 1960s. Women were redefining and negotiating their new role in society. Neither did they want to be the chic, elegant lady of the 50s, nor the little „birds“ of the 60s. They wanted to be people, who happened to be female. With Twiggy’s skinnyness gone, a new, healthier body type was on the rise. A more pragmatic view on women’s lives and a more realistic relation towards beauty and dress is represented in fashion, modeling and fashion photography of this decade. 

Usually embodied by an all-american blonde, like Jerry Hall, Lauren Hutton or Rene Russo, the model of the 70s was easier to relate to than the distanced goddesses of the 50s or the space age girl of the 60s. She was a healthy, sun-tanned girl next door type.

Jerry Hall, Norman Parkinson

Lauren Hutton for Estée Lauder

Rene Russo 

Not only did the beauty ideal change drastically in the 1970s, fashion photography’s aesthetics changed, too. The pictures portrayed by photographers more often resembled paparazzi photos or film scenes and „took a sharp turn towards realism and (purported) spontaneity“ (Koda, 103). Fashion Photographers of the time include Helmut Newton, Deborah Turbeville and Norman Parkinson, and the 70s gave rise to Peter Lindbergh, who is so committed to realism that he still does not agree to use photoshop on his pictures.

Works Cited

Koda, Harold and Kohle Yohannan.The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Yale University Press, New Haven and London. 2009. Print.


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