There was a time when supermodels ruled the fashion world and it was absolutely impossible to think of a campaign that did not contain their beautiful but ubiquitous selves. Remember the time when the catwalks and fashion spreads that counted had people like Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista etc. There are still quite a few supermodels these days (Gisele Bundchen, Kate Moss and Miranda Kerr to name a few of them). However it is becoming very evident that these days there are increasing numbers of other celebrities who are jostling with them for attention.
The fact is that young people these days take their fashion cues from a wide range of celebrities and not just supermodels. Kim Kardashian, and Paris Hilton before her, is not a movie star or a model but she certainly sets a lot of fashion trends because she contrives to be at the centre of attention whenever possible. Both these ladies are also canny businesswomen who have translated their popularity into money with the help of clothing labels.
Most movie stars and recording artists have their own fashion labels these days precisely because people find them exceedingly attractive and want to emulate not just their dress sense but their overall aura of success and style. Gwen Stefani, Madonna, Jessica Simpson, Avril Lavigne… the list is practically includes every celebrity there is. In fact, many of these labels make as much money for the celebrity as they get from their movies or music.
People these days are exceedingly choosy about what they wear and how to wish to project their image. Fashion advertising campaigns work very well when they address people's aspirations. It is generally very easy to do this when the brand ambassador is a celebrity rather than just a supermodel. When Nicole Kidman features in a campaign for a luxury brand, it appeals to people's aspirations to become a talented and accomplished person and not just a gorgeous woman. It is therefore no surprise that fashion houses are getting film stars such as Uma Thurman, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and others to feature in their ad campaigns.
There was a time when film stars did not want to be seen in ads and did so only in ads that would be aired in foreign markets. Most film stars are eager to feature in ad campaigns because there is no longer anything embarrassing about doing so.
Considering that kids and teenagers too have lots of celebrities to look up to (Miley Cyrus, Hilarry Duff, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson) it is very clear that celebrities will continue to take the place that a gaggle of supermodels once occupied. In fact pre-teens and teenagers are avid fans of these celebrities because they make them feel grown up. Of course, there will always be need for fashion models for print and television ads and also for walking the ramp but the biggest ad campaigns will continue to go to celebrities. It is fairly clear these days that the age of supermodels has gone for good.