The 1990s were a golden age for the fashion industry. The boundary-breaking decade saw the birth of the supermodel as well as countless quintessential looks—from neon clothing to grunge—which are seeing a revival among zoomers today. So who better to curate an exhibition about the period than German fashion icon Claudia Schiffer?
The supermodel is putting together the show “Fashion Photography From the 1990s—curated by Claudia Schiffer” at the northern German museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf, running March 4 through June 13, 2021.
Schiffer was a major player in fashion, and has graced more than 1,000 magazine covers in her 30-year career. In her exhibition, the model plans to take visitors on a personal journey through some 120 exhibits that will hone in on different aspects, people, and places, that were pivotal to the industry during that rollicking period.
The show will include iconic fashion photography from legends Juergen Teller, Karl Lagerfeld, and Ellen von Unwerth, among others, alongside moving image, music, and memorabilia. It will also feature some unseen material from Schiffer’s own private archive that will let viewers behind the scenes of some of the most famous fashion shows and afterparties of the decade.
“It was an intense and amazing time that had not been seen before, when shoots lasted for days and fashion was front-page news for weeks,” Schiffer says in a statement. “Myself, and the other supermodels lived and breathed it and for the first time we realized together, we had the power to make change.”
Indeed, the decade saw models become empowered to break industry glass ceilings and be regarded as businesswomen, which paved the way for a new generation of increasingly savvy contemporary stars.
The Kunstpalast’s general director Felix Krämer says that the museum is “delighted” to be working with Schiffer on the exhibition. “With this show, Germany’s most successful model—whose career began in Düsseldorf—will reflect in a very personal way an era that set standards to this day.” (Schiffer was discovered in 1987 by a modeling agent at a local nightclub, Checker’s.)
Further highlights will include glamorous shots by Arthur Elgort, which will be shown alongside the more edgy work of Corinne Day and the sculptural style of Herb Ritts. The exhibition will also delve into the variety of fashion media from billboards to polaroids to framed prints.