As we came into the 1970’s concepts of beauty changed. The elegant, glamorous and exotic iconic fashion models that dominated the previous era gave way to fresh, fit and accessible beauties that epitomized the all-American look. This reflected what was happening in fashion as the unique perspective of American sportswear began to come into its own as a fashion force. The modeling industry changed, too, as lucrative contracts allowed the top models to enjoy unprecedented financial success.
LAUREN HUTTON: When you talk about a life well-lived Lauren Hutton comes to mind. With her gap-toothed smile and accessible beauty she has had a long and very successful career marked by a record 28 covers on Vogue and a ten year contract with Revlon as the face of Ultima II. Twenty years later she signed with Revlon again to be the spokesperson for a collection of moisturizing treatments called Results. And today at 72 she continues a very active work schedule modeling, acting and as a licensing agent for her global brand of lifestyle products targeted at women over 40. Never one to live life in the slow lane Ms. Hutton was a fixture on the glamorous New York social scene of the 1970’s and 1980’s, a favorite at Studio 54, yet she was an adventuress too and never shied away from challenging herself to face what might have seemed too rugged, demanding or frightening for most women. We all stopped breathing for a moment in 2000 when, as part of a ride celebrating “The Art of the Motorcycle” exhibit at the Hermitage-Guggenheim museum in Las Vegas, Nevada she crashed going over 100 miles an hour. Badly hurt, but not deterred, she came roaring back and continues to lead a life that is real and authentic and completely on her own terms.
CHERYL TIEGS: Born in 1947 Cheryl Tiegs clean, fresh all-American looks were perfect for a swimsuit ad for Cole of California that ran in Seventeen and launched her career during her senior year of high school. That ad caught the eye of the editorial staff at Glamour and she was on her way appearing on their cover as well as the covers of Seventeen, Elle, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in quick succession. She has also been featured on the cover of the Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit issue three times, on People four times and on Time three times, once for a story titled “All-American Model”. But she is more than just a pretty face., she is a big earner. In 1979 she signed a two-year contract with Cover Girl for $1.5 million, then reportedly the largest contract ever of its kind. Then, in 1980 she launched a signature collection for Sears that recorded nearly $1billion in sales by 1989. She continues to work today appearing on television and in films, speaking out on environmental issues and as the spokeswoman for Renewal: A Time for You, a program created by Deepak Chopra which offers practical advice on healthy lifestyle changes for women in transition.
KIM ALEXIS: Another of the “Supermodel” set of the 1980’s, this fit, beautiful blonde smiled from Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues, Vogeu and Cosmopolitan. In 1983 she became the face of Revlon’s Ultima II line replacing Lauren Hutton. But for Ms. Alexis family was #1 as she married NHL Hockey player Ron Dugay and traded her Louboutin pumps for tennis shoes to raise five children.
CHRISTIE BRINKLEY: Like Oscar Wilde’s character Dorian Gray, Chrsitie Brinkley seems to have secured the magic of eternal beauty. She began her rise to fame in the 1970’s like many of the girls of her era with a series of covers for the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated. In a career that has spanned over four decades she spent 25 years as the face of Cover Girl cosmetics (the longest running cosmetics contract of any model in history) and has smiled down on us from over 500 magazine covers. Her personal life may not have been quite so successful with four marriages including one to Billy Joel who immortalized her (as if she needed the help) in his video for “Uptown Girl”. She has one daughter with Billy and two more children with architect Peter Cook. In addition to modeling she acts and writes and has lines in eyewear, fragrance and jewelry . In February 2012, she was ranked third in the Daily Mail list “World’s 20 richest models.” Who says you can’t have it all?
KATHY IRELAND: Kathy Ireland is no push-over. As a teenager, Ireland reported that a photographer once “crossed the line” with her and wanted her to pose topless. She did not feel comfortable and he did not respect her “no.” He reportedly pushed her and got physical and she “decked him. At the same time, she is warm, kind and the gentlest of souls. I had the good fortune of working with her several years ago and she truly is an inspiration!
Kathy, too, exploded onto the scene appearing in 13 consecutive Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues as well as covers of Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Mademoiselle. But unlike her counterparts, she has also achieved cover status and has been featured in Forbes in recognition of her uber-successful brand marketing company. She recently joined Forbes’ first ever ranking of America’s top 50 most successful women as measured by their net worths with a fortune of $420 million coming from the value of her licensing company, Kathy Ireland Worldwide. Ms. Ireland has lent her name, taste, and marketing prowess to some 17,000 products. In recent years she appeared in a series of ads for American Legend wearing some of the pieces she designed for their Kathy Ireland American Legend Fashion Collection. To round things out, she is a wife and mother to 3 beautiful children living out of the limelight in Santa Barbara, CA.
MARGAUX HEMINGWAY: A discussion of the all-American supermodels of the 70s wouldn’t be complete without mention of Margaux Hemingway. Granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway and older sister of model/actress Mariel, she graced the covers Cosmopolitan, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and TIME through the 1970s and 1980s. Standing 6’ tall this statuesque beauty was granted a million dollar contract by Fabergé to be spokesmodel for Babe perfume, the first million dollar contract ever to be awarded to a model. She, too, lived a large and glamourous life captivating the New York social scene. A regular at Studio 54 she fell into the abyss of alcohol and drugs and began a downward spiral that ended in 1996 with suicide by drug overdose at just 42 years old.