Gisele: a catwalk history
Gisele Bündchen was the first in the wave of Brazilian models to hit the international modelling world in the late 90s. She is not only a world renowned supermodel, but also an actress and producer, and established the “horse walk” – a stomping movement created when a model picks her knees up high and kicks her feet out in front. As of 2004 she was the highest paid model in the world and in 2015 announced her retirement from the runway. As we mourn the loss of a supermodel star we will look back over her history of success.
In 1996, as she was debuting, a fresh-faced Gisele’s first catwalk shows were for Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta. The following year, Gisele booked an impressive 14 shows, including designers such as Giorgio Armani.
Gisele’s first major appearance was in Alexander McQueen’s 1998 Golden Shower collection. Chosen for her ability to walk elegantly in heels on a slippery surface, she wore a white skirt paired with a painted-on top which looked as though it clung to her skin from the sudden downpour; the look was complemented with dramatic eye make-up and bangs for an Egyptian flair.
McQueen, overjoyed with her performance, dubbed her “The Body”, immediately boosting her popularity. Becoming the most demanded cover girl of her generation, Bündchen secured a cover on the August 1998 Vogue edition, followed by nine other magazines within four years, representing the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino and Versace.
By 2000 Bündchen had gained an impressive $25 million contract with Victoria’s Secret, helping solidify her status as the world’s top model. TIME magazine even called her “one of the few runway models whom straight men can name!” Gisele continued to reinforce her status at the Cannes catwalk show for Victoria’s Secret in 2002 when she modelled a gold bikini and gold feathers and a streamlined blue bikini cape and thong.
In 2004 Gisele presented a rock’n’roll creation by designer Renato Kherlakian during the São Paulo Fashion Week and wore a deep blue vintage dress for Marc Jacob’s autumn fashion show. In February 2007, Bündchen returned to the Milan runway by opening and closing Dolce & Gabbana’s show as well as walking for Christian Dior and Colcci, a Brazilian streetwear label.
In September 2010, she led a group of top models for Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out runway show at the Lincoln Center in New York and made a surprise appearance on Balenciaga’s catwalk, closing the show for the French label.
In October 2011, Bündchen made another surprise runway appearance during Paris Fashion Week, closing the Givenchy fashion show wearing a pewter ensemble.
Her last catwalk this year was in São Paulo for Colcci – we’ll certainly be sad to see her leave the runway.