While in Cannes this week, Kendall Jenner posted a photo to Instagram that, at first glance, looked vaguely familiar. It features her and fellow top models Bella Hadid, Joan Smalls and Hailey Baldwin arranged in a hotel room bathtub and currently has nearly 2.5 million likes. It’s also undoubtedly a nod to an iconic image of Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell – the trifecta of models often hailed as the original “supers” and known as the Trinity – captured in room at the Hotel Ritz in Paris in 1990. Shot by Roxane Lowit, it was titled “Naomi and models.”

Is the image as iconic as the original? Why not?

Roxanne Lowit

Roxanne Lowit

Our editors debate. Read our chat below.


MICHAEL HAFFORD: we need to talk about the bathtub pic

i should mention i’m listening to death from above 1979 to gird myself for this discussion

ANNA DEL GAIZO: shall i do the same? i feel freedom ‘90 by george michael is more appropriate. an homage

HAFFORD: do whatever you want

DEL GAIZO: i will!

HAFFORD: you think the bathtub pic pales in comparison, i tend to agree

but why do we think that?

DEL GAIZO: four of 2017’s top models do not and will not add up to the trinity

for one thing, linda, christy, and naomi were and still are better models

HAFFORD: what does “better models” mean to you though? that they were more openly doing drugs?

DEL GAIZO: they were professional models with careers founded on their prowess and bone structure, not their B-list famous parents and instagram followings

i’m discounting joan. she’s legit

for one thing, yes! they would party all night and still get up and show up on shoots

HAFFORD: so you think they’re more legit because they hit a different kind of genetic lottery

DEL GAIZO: i mean, they’re all spectacularly attractive

(plastic surgery helps)

(ahem BELLA)

i get it, it’s easy to be nostalgic for the past. but the very early '90s was the true heyday of modeling. there’s a reason the term supermodel became popularized then. they were super

HAFFORD: well, not really, because it came in with twiggy

but they were definitely representative of a particular moment of like heroin chic and a sort of out-of-control life behind the scenes

i think back to that sisley fashion junkie campaign as something that would never happen now

DEL GAIZO: yes, it was coined in 1943 but it wasn’t part of vernacular until women like naomi and linda

they were pre-kate moss waifs. they had crazy proportions, boobs, AND they smoked cigarettes. it was a delightful dichotomy. looking healthy but being a little bad

HAFFORD: but are they inherently better? or are their images just being controlled at a different level?

they knew how to work a camera and a runway with much more dexterity. they were captivating

i feel like we have to give credit for generating whole personae using social media

DEL GAIZO: i may not hold the popular opinion here but kendall and bella are dead behind the eyes

vapid nothingness..speaking strictly as models, not humans

yes i give credit for that

HAFFORD: the thing that makes it different is that this isn’t an original image

it’s kind of joyless

DEL GAIZO: i believe the earlier generation had a better grasp of what modeling means. also back then it wasn’t considered something anyone who has a pedigree, a good stylist and enviable genetics can do

right. they said let’s recreate it and it looks forced

also hailey lurking in the corner doesn’t help

WHERE’S THE CHAMPAGNE

HAFFORD: it’s almost like they casted this image, which was originally so spontaneous and decadent

that’s the thing that bothers me about the new generation

is that it’s all in quotation marks

DEL GAIZO: also they could have at least found a marble bathtub for christs sake

HAFFORD: nobody is getting bombed at le doux

DEL GAIZO: right..decadence! good one

in the original, you can feel their laughter. their exuberance is palpable

where’s the exuberance?

“exuberance”

not to mention the glorious obnoxiousness of someone like linda saying she won’t get out of bed for less than $10k a day

no one’s admitting that now because they want to be liked and they want likes

or kate moss saying her favorite mantra is “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”

HAFFORD: yeah i think part of the magic of the 90s was that sort o bad girl image that’s gone now

DEL GAIZO: like these girls are rich and skinny and spoiled and not eating but they’re pretending to not care about $ and eat pizza and shit

HAFFORD: well there’s a trend towards health now

that’s actually a good thing

DEL GAIZO: yes. the sly revelry in debauchery

HAFFORD: but there’s so much emphasis placed on being a role model that we’ve lost a sense of play

DEL GAIZO: hot girls should be bad. it makes them hotter. thats my opinion

yep

HAFFORD: well i think in a general sense it’s good to promote healthy eating

DEL GAIZO: ha yes

HAFFORD: but from a purely entertainment standpoint, i much prefer kate moss being caught with a mountain of white powder

i feel like here’s the divide

we get instagram / snapchat /etc

DEL GAIZO: way more entertaining

HAFFORD: so we get the illusion of constant access, but we also lose the magic of those peeks behind the curtain

so the entire image gets controlled rather than just in the magazine or on tv or whatever

DEL GAIZO: when you can manage everything you lose the candor

HAFFORD: right

DEL GAIZO: spontaneity ceases to exist

a pile of girls in a bathtub needs to be spontaneous or else it’s just lame

HAFFORD: right

they have to at least look like they’re enjoying themselves

DEL GAIZO: also try to imagine the conversations between bella, kendall, and hailey

HAFFORD: like, who cares? this image isn’t sexy?

it’s just a reference to a really heady image from like 20 years ago that is fun and sexy

DEL GAIZO: exactly!

HAFFORD: but it misses the point and just becomes joyless

it’s like the new star wars

DEL GAIZO: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

i’m sure naomi is rolling her eyes

HAFFORD: “yes, great, we see the lightsaber. what are you doing that’s new?”

DEL GAIZO: the originals tend to be the best

what if they were naked or in lingerie? would that help?

HAFFORD: i mean, for obvious reasons yes, but also because you’d actually be going further than the original

DEL GAIZO: yup

HAFFORD: the thing about remake culture now is that it always pulls up from the risk-taking of the original

DEL GAIZO: if you’re going to copy something, you need to go a step or five further

at least be blatant about wanting attention you know?

HAFFORD: i hate to keep mentioning star wars but there’s a difference between putting mark hammil and then-unknown harrison ford into a space opera than there is about a giant remake starring real movie stars in an established property

i don’t think we can ever criticize models for wanting attention, that’s absurd

BUT you need to go wilder or stranger or something

otherwise you’re nodding at a past without understanding it

DEL GAIZO: i hate it when people keep mentioning star wars too but it’s a good comparison and what you’re saying is true

the original supers would STOMP these bitches in a walk-off

again, leaving joan out of this

no, wanting attention is fine. just admit it is all

embrace it

don’t be coy about it

“oops here’s me in a bikini again” and the caption is some coy bullshit like “good morning”

just be like “here! Bam! You want it you got it!”

HAFFORD: that’s part of why i like sarah snyder so much

all her captions are like, “i’m hot” “i look good in this”

DEL GAIZO: yesss

that makes her more respectable

HAFFORD: or just more like…. untouchable

that was also part of the magic in the 90s

you couldn’t be these women

DEL GAIZO: ah

yes

aspirational

inaccessible and eternally on pedestals

once i met naomi campbell and she gave me a wonderful compliment and i almost dropped dead

HAFFORD: bingo, and that’s why this image doesn’t stack up. it’s too much like your friends getting in the tub because some guy asked them to.

DEL GAIZO: yeah some guy who actually remembers the original! he probably had to show them

also kendall’s sandal is about a full size too big and i find it distracting