Her signature walk is poetry in motion. Her beautiful face and perfect body are ageless. And her name has become a common noun for glamour, top professionalism, class, and… hot temper. At 47, Naomi Campbell is probably the longest running and the highest-paid supermodel of all times. And there are no signs that her three-decades-long wild ride in the world of fashion is slowing down. Apart from her glamorous career, the supermodel is also one of the industry’s most notorious badasses. A decade ago, she was found guilty of aggravated assault TWICE in only 17 months. Today, she is enjoying a career peek. In addition to being an in-demand model, the exotic leggy beauty has also pursued acting and a music career (her singing has become especially popular in Japan!). In regards to her love life, she has enjoyed the company of quite a few high-profile gentlemen, like Robert De Niro, Usher, and Mike Tyson. Her most recent love interest was the 55-year-old Russian real estate mogul Vladislav Doronin.
We have browsed through Naomi’s Bible-thick portfolio, and have come up with 15 photos covering a 30-year time-span which show that Naomi Campbell was, has been, and will continue to be a fashion icon.
15 1988 - New Star Rises On The Fashion Horizon
In the 1970’s, the daughter of a Jamaican-born dancer and an unknown father was growing up in the poorest area of South London. As a youngster, Naomi attended Dunraven School. She also took dance lessons, and the results of the training are evident in her modelling.
This is how she remembers the warm April day when a modelling agent discovered her for the world of fashion, “I was hanging out with friends from school. We were dressed in our school uniforms: a pale blue dogtooth kilt, a dark blue V-neck sweater, shirt, blazer, tie. Suddenly, a woman came up to me and asked if I’d ever thought of modelling. It was Beth Boldt, head of the Synchro agency.”
Naomi was only 15 then.
This photo of Naomi was taken in Paris in 1988, where her suit is nostalgic of her dancing roots.
14 1990 - Freedom!
Here Naomi is seated, whilst showing off her lovely curves in a gorgeous leopard print one piece and gloves. Animal prints, apparently, never go out of style, because a photo like this could easily be recreated again. Her gorgeous hair tumbles down her back with a beret placed on her head. The look she's giving the camera literally makes us shiver.
Naomi didn’t tell her then boyfriend she agreed to star in 1990 George Michael’s video Freedom, because she knew he wouldn’t approve. Beside her, the video starred other four of the top models of the day - Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford and Tatjana Patitz. The whole concept of the video was inspired by the revolutionary January cover of British Vogue showing models in the most honest way - with a natural expression on their nude faces.
13 1995 - The Holy Trinity
The future supermodel first met Christy Turlington in London in 1986. Naomi was still at school and wearing her uniform when she showed up at a photo session Christy was doing. Although the two had just met, Turligton told Naomi they had to be roommates. By December, they WERE already living together. A few months later, Campbell and Linda Evangelista met at a show in Paris. “I saw her across the room with her long hair framing those incredibly beautiful eyes,” remembers Naomi. Since that day the three became the best of friends, and people labelled them “The Trinity”.
In the photo, Naomi is wearing a Chanel mini-skirt ensemble inspired by the 1960’s. Her green crop top, short sleeved jacket is a lovely piece to go over it. It amounts to the right amount of chic and classy, showing off her amazing body while keeping it modest and clean.
12 1997 - Losing Friends
Campbell's dress here is consists of barely any fabric at all. Today, someone would get positively destroyed with wearing this dress out in public, but as usual Naomi manages to pull it together. A dress that looks like it's made of crystals, cascading in a waterfall over her body is enough symbolism for us. She looks like an ethereal beauty.
The supermodel describes 1997 as “one of the worst years” in her life. Naomi was really shattered by the death of a friend - the Italian designer Gianni Versace. His memorial was held at the cathedral in Milan, where, among the grievers, was also Princess Diana. At the reception at Versace’s home after the service, Diana told Campbell, “Gianni loved you very much. You must always remember that.”
11 1999 - First Cosmetics Contract
Here, we see Campbell in a floral one-shouldered dress at a UNICEF event in London in 1999. She looks happy in an adorable casual dress which is very 90s. It shows the right amount of skin and has just enough color to make it fun.
And she deserved it after the financial slap in the face she received after the chain of restaurants Fashion Cafe, in which she and other famous models had invested considerable sums, went bankrupt the year before.
Fortunately, things were now going well for Campbell. She signed her first cosmetics contract, with Cosmopolitan Cosmetics, through which she launched several fragrances. In November the same year, she posed for the cover of the millennium issue of American Vogue with 12 other models in front of the camera of probably the most renowned female artistic photographer, Annie Leibovitz.
10 2001 - Some Prefer It Hot
After appearing in a white string bikini and furs on the cover of Playboy, in October, 2001, Campbell had a photoshoot with rapper Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs for the cover of British Vogue. The headline read, “Naomi and Puff: The Ultimate Power Duo.”
Of course, apart from Naomi’s naked bosom tightly pressed against Sean’s arm, nothing more intimate happened between the two. At that time, she was still engaged to Formula One racing star Flavio Briatore.
In this picture, the model looks hot in a two-piece pantsuit at the 2001 CFDA Awards. The outfit is beautiful all by itself, but what we love is the way the hue changes from white to pink on the pants. It's so subtle but works so well, and looks lovely on Naomi, who can basically pull anything off.
9 2002 - Campbell Vs. Daily Mirror
In this year, Naomi Campbell was involved in a high-profile lawsuit with Daily Mirror. She claimed a breach of confidence after the tabloid published a material about her drug addiction, accompanied by a picture of her leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. After several appeals and two years later, the court eventually ruled in her favor.
Here, Campbell is at Royal Ascot, the highlight event on the British social calendar, and the date is 6 June, 2002. Despite the things that she was going through, she managed to remain poised and classy for her photoshoots. Her she is laced up in a corset, with a beautiful hat that looks like it comes at us straight from the Victorian ages.
8 2005 - Fashion For Relief
Through the years, Campbell has been involved in many charitable causes. She supported the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, and Breakthrough Breast Cancer Foundation. In 2005, the model founded the charity We Love Brazil, the aim of which was to raise awareness about the poverty levels in Brazil. She kept herself pretty busy on the charitable front that year by organizing she organized a number of fashion shows to raise money for the victims of the Hurricane Katrina. Later, she did the same for the benefit of the victims of the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008, and the Haiti earthquake in 2011.
Here she is photographed casually and candid, looking better than any of us regular people could hope to look on just another day out. The short skirt and shimmering top pull together the outfit. Though the boots might have looked strange paired with these clothes anywhere else, somehow, as usual, Naomi manages to pull it off.
7 2007 - Je T’aime, Dior!
Dior’s 60th anniversary was an event of such grandeur that it couldn’t be hosted at any random place. So they opted for Orangerie at Versailles. For the occasion, all the top-notch supermodels reunited. The underlying mood was of respectful tribute to two designers who both died young - Christian Dior himself, and Galliano’s chief designer, Steven Robinson. In the following year, Campbell again reunited with her famous colleagues, this time for a photoshoot for the November edition of Harper’s Bazaar.
Here she is photographed amongst her model friends, but she clearly stands out amongst them. She's placed in the middle for a reason. Her gorgeous pink frilly dress cascades down her body. She lifts it to show off her ballerina inspired shoes, but the dress itself paired with the leaf crown she wears leaves us with the impression that in another life, she was a Goddess. Maybe she is in this life too.
6 2008 - Guilty As Charged
By 2007, Campbell had already accumulated quite a solid police file with misdemeanour charges. This time, however, things got pretty serious as she pleaded guilty to assaulting her former housekeeper by throwing a Blackberry at her. Campbell further pleaded guilty to kicking and spitting at two police officers at London Heathrow Airport following an argument about her lost luggage.
In 2015, Campbell was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and a $3, 000 fine. And was banned for life from British Airways! At least she still managed to take our breath away for this photoshoot, supporting an all black coat, looking flawless as usual.
On this photo: Naomi in YSL, fall of 2008.
5 2011 - Girl Panic!
Naomi demonstrated her artistic qualities by impersonating Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon in the music video for Girl Panic. Of course, her performance was not Oscar worthy, and the video was far from George Michael’s Freedom, but it was still fun to watch.
4 2012 - Head-Over-Heals In Love
The supermodel and the Russian businessman Vladislav Doronin met at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, where they started a romance. She was so in love with him that she even took him to meet her honorary grandfather, Nelson Mandela.
For his 50’th birthday, Doronin held a giant party in India, which was attended by many of Naomi’s close friends, some A-Listers including Kate Moss and Diana Ross. Back then, everybody believed that Campbell had already gotten her addiction and anger issues over control, but no one knows for sure.
3 2013 - The Fairytale Ends But The Empire Strikes Back
Just as the evil tongues had predicted, the relationship between the supermodel and the Russian oligarch eventually collapsed. Paparazzi photos of Doronin and a Chinese model on his yacht were leaked, and Naomi was devastated. But shortly after the break-up, she proved again that she is strongest when disaster hits.
In this case, the betrayal of the person she loved triggered a revival of her career. Campbell made a triumphant return in Milan, doing her first Versace show in 14 years. Her hips were swaying as she walked this velvet mini dress with cut out panels and hook.
2 2015 - Work, Work, And More Work
At 45, Campbell was still successfully riding the wave in a business that is notorious for being obsessed with youth. Between 2013 and 2015, she walked the runways for all the top-notch designers in the world, and appeared in advertising campaigns for more than 30 of the most luxurious and prestigious fashion and cosmetics brands. In 2015, the supermodel appeared in two episodes of American Horror Story: Hotel, playing a Vogue fashion editor, Claudia Bankson.
In this photo, Campbell is captured walking the red carpet at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. The model is wearing a gorgeous Burberry dress, a beautiful green that is not a usual color amongst most people. The feathered bottom adds to the strange and wonderful color that is the dress.
1 2017-2018 - Back To The Top Of The Fashion World
Naomi Campbell’s profile in the fashion industry is now as high as it was at the peak of her career twenty years ago. She is the new contributing editor of British Vogue - a position that reserves for her a seat in the front row of all the best fashion shows around the world. This, however, doesn’t mean that she has stopped doing what she does the best - modelling. We saw her looking fabulous in a black trouser suit in H&M Fall 2017 fashion campaign, and here she is photographed in a clean looking white jacket with a gorgeous multicoloured necklace.
Now, the only thing Naomi wants for herself in life is “what every woman wants” - a man worth more than her $50 million fortune.
In the photo: Campbell walks for Virgil Abloh’s Off-White Runway Show during 2017 Paris Fashion Week.