For most of Us, chopping off our hair can signify a time of transition. That concept is even more true for Linda Evangelista, who took a huge risk by cutting her long, dark hair into a boyish ‘do in 1988 — and it totally paid off.
In Apple TV+’s new docuseries The Super Models, Evangelista, 58, recalls frequent collaborator and photographer Peter Lindbergh — who, she says, saw the “androgynous” side of her — suggesting she cut her long hair. The Canadian asked her mother for advice, only to be told she’d be the only model with short hair. To her credit, Evangelista believed standing out wasn’t a bad thing, so she allowed hairstylist Julien d’Ys to transform her long brown hair into a boyish bob.
At the time, the fashion industry wasn’t ready for her bold new look. “I went to Milano to do the fashion shows where I was booked for 20 shows. As I was doing my fittings, and as they were seeing me, they all started canceling me,” Evangelista shares, noting she only did “four shows” that year.
With Evangelista’s schedule newly opened, then-Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani sent her to be photographed by Steven Meisel. The rest, as they say, is history. “Two weeks later I’m on the cover of Italia Vogue,” Evangelista says. “Then I was doing all of the Vogues.”
“I think that’s where I really gained confidence and it just kept going from there,” she adds.
The impact of Evangelista’s new look — which, she’s admitted, “quadrupled my rate” — eventually swept the nation in 1989, with many women asking their hairstylists to give them “The Linda.” Evangelista would go on to experiment with different looks, dying her short hair platinum and red, and become the ultimate tresses trendsetter.
The catwalk queen has recently been enjoying a career renaissance of sorts. Not only did she walk alongside fellow models Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington during a surprise appearance at Vogue World: London on September 14, but the iconic group also appeared together on the coveted September cover of Vogue. Her new photo book, Linda Evangelista Photographed by Steven Meisel, is also on stands now.
As Us Weekly previously reported, Evangelista recently revealed she battled breast cancer twice within a five-year period after initially being diagnosed in 2018. “I’m at a place where I’m so happy celebrating my book, my life. I’m so happy to be alive,” she told WSJ. Magazine on September 5. “Anything that comes now is [a] bonus.”
The Super Models hit Apple TV+ on Wednesday, September 20.