BIG News | First Covers
As a young girl in Horizontina, Brazil, internationally renowned supermodel Gisele Bündchen dreamed of becoming a professional volleyball player until she was scouted at age fourteen in 1994. Bündchen received her big break during her first-ever London Fashion Week courtesy of Alexander McQueen, who cast her in his infamous “rain show” for the Spring 1998 season. The designer dubbed her “the Body,” and her bookings suddenly soared.
Later that year, David Sims photographed the lithe teen for the cover of i-D magazine, and BIG magazine dedicated issue #23 to the bronzed beauty. Inside the special-edition publication, Bündchen sat for then-relatively unknown talents such as Katie Grand, Sean Ellis, Vincent Peters, and Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, among others. She also appeared on her first-ever Vogue and W covers, sporting ringlets and a slinky chain mail Versace frock on the former, and flat-ironed tresses and low-rise trousers on the latter.
However, it was legendary photographer Irving Penn’s alluring nude portrait of Bündchen for a Vogue profile celebrating the “Return of the Curve” that catapulted her to superstardom.
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Barely two years into her career, Bündchen emerged as the mononym super, Gisele, and appeared on the July, November, and December 1999 covers of Vogue—first solo; then alongside a group of industry veterans, including Lauren Hutton, Kate Moss, and Iman; and later as the Model of the Year—photographed by Steven Meisel, Annie Leibovitz, and Tom Murno, respectively.
Perhaps most significantly, in January 2000, Gisele secured her fourth cover of the fashion bible (also by Meisel), her third consecutive in as many months, placing her among the ranks of Hutton, Jean Shrimpton, and Verushka. During this period, Gisele also nabbed her first covers of Vogue Italia and Vogue Paris, for which Meisel and Jean-Baptiste Mondino did the honors. Additionally, Paolo Roversi famously captured her for the magazine's Italian edition wearing a Dolce & Gabbana cosret, and loose waves; Divina!
Of Gisele's eleven American Vogue covers, six are single-girl features (including one with her beloved Yorkshire Terrier, Vida); and of the five men that have appeared on the cover in the magazine's 125 year history, Gisele has appeared with two: George Clooney (2000) and Lebron James (2008).
And so it Goes
Gisele has garnered innumerable covers of the multiple international editions of Vogue, captured by Mert & Marcus, Partick Demarchelier, Nick Knight, Bruce Weber, Craig McDean, Michael Thompson, Peter Lindbergh, Jüergen Teller, and Mario Sorrenti.
In addition to the aforementioned, select covers include Pop, V, Lui, Numéro, The Face, Arena, Citizen K, Flair, 10, Esquire, Time, Forbes, Newsweek, Harper’s Bazaar, and Allure by Rankin, Sølve Sundsbø, Regan Cameron, Phil Poynter, Corrine Day, and Gilles Bensimon, among others.
In total, Gisele has appeared on more than 1,200 covers of general interest, business, and pop culture publications, and appeared in more than 500 editorial stories for the most important fashion magazines. Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) once reported Gisele’s magazine cover tally is second only to Princess Diana.
SHE'S AN INCREDIBLE WOMAN
Gisele’s first two Vanity Fair covers were accompanied by editorial features photographed by Mario Testino, a close friend, frequent collaborator, and one of her earliest champions in the industry.
During the most recent FIFA World Cup series, Testino photographed Gisele (and footballer Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior) for the cover of Vogue Brazil. Matt Jones immortalized her for 20 World Cup-themed covers of the international editions of Elle, and Louis Vuitton selected her to star in a campaign featuring its monogrammed trophy case. Gisele unveiled the top prize at the World Cup Final in Brazil alongside Spanish soccer superstar Carles Puyol.
As a testament to her influence, Gisele fronted The Wall Street Journal's WSJ. magazine Innovators Issue with French electronic pop duo Daft Punk. Additionally, Inez & Vinoodh captured her in loungewear and nearly makeup-free for the inaugural issue of Porter, the print offshoot of luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter. According to the cover line, “She’s an Incredible Woman.”
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Although she officially “retired” from the runway in 2001 after walking in nearly 400 collections, the mother of two has made rare catwalk appearances for Dior Haute Couture, Atelier Versace, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Alexander Wang, and most recently, Chanel.
Gisele has also appeared on Forbes’ 100 Celebrity list, and led its Top Models list for over one decade, and fronted over 300 advertising promotions for brands as disparate as Louis Vuitton and H&M.
Select campaigns include Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, Céline, Bulgari, Lanvin, Valentino, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Cavalli, Missoni, Ralph Lauren, MAC Cosmetics, St. John, Earl Jeans, Stefanel, American Express RED, Guerlain, Vogue Eyewear, True Religion, Aquascutum, Stuart Weitzman, Sonia Rykiel, and an anniversary promotion for Disney alongside Mikhail Baryshnikov and Tina Fey.
According to American economist Fred Fuld, who created The Gisele Bündchen Stock Index comparative study, the growth of companies that associate their brand’s image with Gisele far surpass the Dow Jones Industrial Average of those that do not.
Ever the chameleon, Gisele made cameo appearances in Taxi with Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah, and in The Devil Wears Prada with Meryl Streep.
Widely recognized and admired for her luscious, dark blonde tresses and perfectly toned physique (hence the “Brazilian Bombshell” moniker), Gisele nearly broke the Internet with the release of her androgyny-chic Balenciaga campaign, all (faux) buzz cut, boots, and boxy silhouettes, lensed by Steven Klein. As a testament to her “übermodel” status, Under Armor introduced Gisele as the newest face of its I Will What I Want campaign, which also includes skier Lindsey Vonn, soccer player Kelley O'Hara, tennis player Sloane Stephens, and ballerina Misty Copeland.
Off-duty, Gisele is a budding entrepreneur: she designs and models her own line of lingerie, Gisele Intimates, and a sizeable percentage of the proceeds from her beach-inspired footwear company were donated to the model’s preferred social-environmental causes and organizations. Gisele also collaborated with jewelers Gumuchian Fils on a limited-edition necklace for Harper’s Bazaar; The proceeds benefited St. Jude Children’s Hospital for youth cancer treatment. Previously, she served as the spokesperson and campaign model for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer. Gisele is also a vocal social and environmental activist, and in 2009, fronted 30 covers of Elle magazine to raise funds for Bono’s (RED) campaign to fight AIDS.
Together with her family, she created the Projeto Agua Limpa (Clean Water Project) in her hometown of Horizontina. In recognition of her efforts and commitment to environmental causes, she was named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). As a part of her duties, she has lent her image for a number of UN campaigns, and undertaken field missions in Brazil and Kenya. One of the forests she helped to reforest is named after her.
In addition to her series of Chanel Les Beiges cosmetics campaigns, the storied Parisian design house enlisted Gisele as the newest face of its iconic Chanel No. 5 fragrance. Art imitates life in the brand's short film for the fragrance, The One That I Want, directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Baz Luhrmann.
Gisele stars in the 4-minute featurette and its abridged television commercial as the modern Everywoman—ambitious professional, wife, mother, nature enthusiast, and athlete. She is seen diving and surfing in what is possibly the most exquisitely designed rash guard known to man; on set, draped in diamonds and couture with plenty of feathers and wind machines; spending time with her child while preparing for dinner; running along an artfully lit alleyway, and driving across a bridge with Gatsby-esque splendor. Chanel, rhymes with Gisele.