2014, the year of... naomi campbell
Everyone’s favourite 90s super stormed the fashion industry once again this year, leaving countless magazine covers and campaigns in her wake. Lynette Nylander investigates...
Naomi Campbell. We all know the name, we all know the face and in 2014, it seems like we couldn't escape her. Ms. Campbell has had the industry under her spell since the South Londoner was discovered almost 30 years ago. In the past year, Naomi has taken centre stage in covers for Vogue (Italia, Turkey, Japan) Harpers Bazaar, Interview and the Sunday Times Style, sashayed down the runway for Diane Von Furstenberg and Emilio Pucci (to rapturous applause from fashion's front row), brought Brixton to a standstill with her sensational shoot with Bruce Weber showcasing her old stomping ground for September's British Vogue (with Monsieur Alaia in tow), posed with BadGalRiri, fellow super Iman and Creative Director Olivier Rousteing in Balmain for W and let us not forget this weeks announcements of Naomi as the spring/summer 15 face of both Burberry and Agent Provocateur. Naomi hasn't had such an impressive run since her days with Claudia, Christy, Cindy et al so why has fashion fallen for Naomi all over again?
Well it's partly down to the face and body of the former Yves Saint Laurent muse barely changing since being discovered at the tender age of 15. Her fierce walk is like being taken in a time capsule back to raucous runways of the 90s and her feline face has transcended the fashion world to become permanently engrained in popular culture, with those not associated with the fashion industry being able to recognise her name and pick her face out of a crowd. This all translates into the opportunity to transform fashion notoriety into big bucks.
2013 saw Naomi become a TV star with her reality show The Face. Her quick witted remarks and cutting stares saw her become the show's Simon Cowell and demonstrated her unlikely comedic chops, complete with catchphrases that had fellow model judges Coco Rocha, Karolina Kurkova and Nicole Trunfio left speechless.
Despite The Face being cancelled in the UK, the show (for which Naomi serves as host and executive producer) saw series' aired in USA and Australia in 2014 and the franchise will see more countries added 2015 joining the company of fellow model cum entrepreneurs Tyra Banks and Gisele Bundchen.
With these big bucks and an advantageous platform where people take notice, Naomi uses her business savvy and smarts to good effect, knowing exposure in the press and on prime time television sheds more light on the philanthropic efforts that are dear to her heart. Naomi's charitable initiative Fashion for Relief, founded in 2005 by Campbell launched a pop-up in London's Westfield shopping centre in November of this year to help the fight the Ebola Crisis in West Africa as well as partnering with the aforementioned Iman and former model agent Bethann Hardison to form the "Diversity Coalition" that sheds light on the on-going lack of diversity amongst the fashion industry as well as highlighting fashion's main perpetrators. Whilst doing the press rounds for Diversity Coalition's effort, Naomi told America's ABC Network in late 2013, "Your body and your beauty... it doesn't matter what colour you are, if you have the right talent you should be up there and having the opportunity to do the job." She also uses her impressive social media numbers (over three million across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) as a vehicle to publicise important causes like her this years UNICEF's #WakeUpCall viral campaign to raise money for Syrian Refugees which she took part in.
Ask yourself..who else turns runway blunders into a moment of fashion history and has the pull and commercial clout to have sixteen fragrances to her name. What other model has been able to become best buddies with both Quincy Jones and Nelson Mandela, interview Vladimir Putin and dance cheek to cheek with Michael Jackson as his love interest in 92's In the Closet.
Her incredible body of work (just check out one of her many i-D covers with long-time friend and collaborator Edward Enninful) is truly electrifying and shows how she has managed to maintain her magic in front of the camera as well as inspire a new generation of models. i-D faces Malaika Firth, Jourdan Dunn and Joan Smalls all cite Campbell as a source of inspiration in their careers Despite a few controversies along the way, she is one Britain's biggest modelling exports and a shining example of using position, power and influence to help make the world and industry a better place. Ms Campbell, we salute you as a modelling icon and one of the true fashion legends!
Text Lynette Nylander
Photography Solve Sundsbo
Styling Edward Enninful