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See Every Fashion Model to Be on the Cover of TIME

1 minute read

Derek Zoolander’s life-changing TIME cover story is as fictional as he is, but that doesn’t mean plenty of other real models have appeared inside the red border.

Cover stories about fashion designers have been a staple since the magazine’s first years—here’s Elsa Schiaparelli in 1934. But it wasn’t until the late 1940s that Lisa Fonssagrives, who TIME identified as “the highest-paid, highest-praised high-fashion model in the business, considered by many of her colleagues the greatest fashion model of all time,” made cover-worthy news for wearing clothes rather than creating them. And, unlike in Zoolander, the models who made the cover were not being mocked but rather acknowledged as driving forces behind big businesses, global trends and even popular interest in science.

As Zoolander 2 heads to theaters on Friday, here’s a look back at some of the TIME U.S. covers on which that fictional plot line might have been, well, modeled.

Apr. 23, 2001
Christy Turlington on the Apr. 23, 2001, cover of TIMECover Credit: RUVEN AFANADOR
Nov. 25, 1996
Amber Valetta on the Nov. 25, 1996, cover of TIMECover Credit: HERB RITTS
Apr. 17, 1995
Claudia Schiffer on the Apr. 17, 1995, cover of TIMECover Credit: PATRICK DEMARCHELIER
Aug. 20, 1984
Cheryl Tiegs on the Aug. 20, 1984, cover of TIMECover Credit: GORDON MUNRO
Feb. 9, 1981
Brooke Shields on the Feb. 9, 1981, cover of TIMECover Credit: FRANCESCO SCAVULLO
Mar. 6, 1978
Cheryl Tiegs on the Mar. 6, 1978, cover of TIMECover Credit: HIRO
Mar. 22, 1976
Unidentified model, in Halston, on the Mar. 22, 1976, cover of TIME. Cover Credit: EDDIE ADAMS
Dec. 1, 1967
Two unnamed models, with designer Rudi Gernreich, on the Dec. 1, 1967, cover of TIMECover Credit: BORIS CHALIAPIN
June 16, 1958
Jean Thom on the June 16, 1958, cover of TIMETIME
Sep. 19, 1949
Lisa Fonssagrives on the Sep. 19, 1949, cover of TIMECover Credit: BORIS CHALIAPIN

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Write to Lily Rothman at lily.rothman@time.com