Born in 1970 in London, Naomi Campbell was scouted whilst window shopping aged just 15 and quickly rose through the modelling ranks, gracing the cover of British Elle just before her 16th birthday. She became one of the most recognizable and in-demand models of the 1980s and 1990s, and was one of the five original supermodels.
Over her career she has appeared on the covers of over 500 magazines and featured in campaigns for Burberry, Prada, Versace, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, and Valentino.
Thanks to her iconic walk, the runway was her domain as she showcased the collections of top designers, including Chanel, Azzedine Alaïa, Christian Dior and Versace.
Naomi Campbell was instrumental in breaking down barriers and paving the way for other models of colour. She was the first black model to appear on the cover of TIME magazine, French Vogue and Russian Vogue as well as the first British black model to appear on the cover of British Vogue. In 1989 she was the first black model to be on the cover of US Vogue’s September issue.
Never one to shy away from expressing herself, throughout her career Naomi Campbell has been extremely vocal about the inequality and racism in the fashion industry. In 1997, she stated, “There is prejudice. It is a problem and I can’t go along any more with brushing it under the carpet. This business is about selling, and blonde and blue-eyed girls are what sells.”
In 2013, Campbell joined the advocacy group “Diversity Coalition” alongside fellow black models Iman and Bethann Hardison. In an open letter to the governing bodies of global fashion weeks, they called out high-profile designers who had used just one or no models of colour in their fall 2013 shows, describing it as a “racist act”.
Although she has faced controversy during her career, namely several assault lawsuits and backlash from animal rights campaigners for continuing to wear real fur, it is undeniable the good work Naomi has done through her founding of/affiliation with several charities.
She began charity work with Nelson Mandela in 1993, and in 2005, Campbell founded the charity “We Love Brazil” – which raises awareness and funds to fight poverty in Brazil – as well as the charity “Fashion for Relief” – which uses fashion shows to fund-raise for relief causes. By 2011, “Fashion for Relief” had reportedly raised £4.5 million.
She has also worked with: Athla Onlus, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood.
Naomi isn’t one for understated – Her style exudes luxury and glamour whilst managing to remain chic.
She is known for her decadent red carpet looks, she plays with colour, texture and embellishment and is never one to fade into the crowd.
Never really one for casual dressing, her street style tends to remain glam and polished on most occasions. Great jeans, blouses, and heels are her staple day to day.
Even when she’s dressed down in joggers and trainers she throws on a fur coat and opulent bag to elevate her look.
One of her go-to designers has always been Alaïa, the brand of her close friend, the late, Azzedine Alaïa. From his killer sky-scraper heels, to waist-cinching mini dresses a touch of Alaïa can be seen in almost all of Naomi’s looks.
She is also famed for her affiliation with the design house Versace, her walks for the Italian designer’s shows during the 90’s are absolutely iconic.
Naomi seems always to be focused on creating an entire “look” rather than just wearing an “outfit”, and she uses everything at her disposal to do so. She often changes up her hair and makeup, one day long straight hair with a blunt fringe, the next short curls; one day a heavy smokey eye, the next a vibrant lip.
Instagram – @naomi
Facebook – @NaomiCampbell
Twitter – @naomicampbell
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