Christy Turlington Smoking

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For Christy Turlington’s fortieth birthday, W magazine created this wonderful slideshow, but the above picture by Harry Benson was notably missing.

When this picture was taken at the backstage of a Parisian fashion show in 1994, Turlington was at the peak of her success. Her stress-ravaged face partially hidden behind the smoke does not show her supermodel-dom or million-dollar career, but her body was in the news for the entirety of 1993. That year she became the first celebrity to wear a navel piercing, contributing to its eventual mainstream popularity; she also posed nude for PETA’s anti-fur campaign. Her face–which was representing Chanel and Burberry–received its own share of adoration too: it was used on 120 mannequins by the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, causing her to be called the ‘Face of the 20th Century’.

In 1994, after the above photo, she became the face of Salvatore Ferragamo and Oscar de la Renta, but another year would pass before she would quit smoking. A chain smoker who smoked up to a pack of cigarettes a day between the ages of 13 and 26, Christy would finally call it quits in 1995, after being diagnosed with early-stage emphysema and after losing her father to lung cancer. Turlington went on to become one of America’s most recognizable voices against smoking, launching a website SmokingIsUgly.com.

Supermodels of the 90s

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Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, speaking, hearing and seeing no evil, Fashion Group Party, Plaza Hotel, NYC. 1989.

After three decades of taking pictures backstage, Roxanne Lowit single-handedly created the fashion backstage scene and changed fashion photography forever. She herself has become as much a celebrity as those she photographed.