In 1968, an article in Glamour described Twiggy, Cheryl Tiegs, Veruschka, Jean Shrimpton and fifteen other top models as "supermodels". The term supermodel gained currency in the 1960s by analogy with Andy Warhol's "Superstars".
The "rise" of the supermodel
In the 1970s, some models became more prominent as their names became more recognizable to the general public. These models included Janice Dickinson, who claims to have coined the term "supermodel", Cheryl Tiegs, and Christie Brinkley.
The prominence of supermodels increased in the 1980s, which models such as Claudia Schiffer, Paulina Porizkova, Elle Macpherson, and Cindy Crawford. By the 1990s, which has been called "era of the supermodels", supermodels were prominient in the media. During this period, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, and Christy Turlington were highly-visible models.  Beverly Peele graced over 250 magazine covers and was first black model on the cover of Mademoiselle Magazine in 1989.
The "end" of the supermodel era
Since the mid-90s, those supermodels' popularity had faded. The decline of the supermodel era may be nigh, due to the increased use of actresses, pop singers, or other celebrities on the covers of fashion magazines and ad campaigns.  
A number of prominent models of the late 1990s and early 21st century are referred to as supermodels, including Laetitia Casta, Gisele Bundchen, Heidi Klum, Karolina Kurkova, Tyra Banks, Adriana Lima, Liya Kebede, Natalia Vodianova, Alessandra Ambrosio, Carmen Kass, Stella Tennant and Angela Lindvall.
A new fashion icon rose in the 2000s. Gemma Ward's baby doll-like look inspired a new craze in fashion. Fashion designer Lazaro Hernandez tells Teen Vogue (Feb. 06), "She looked like no one else at the time. She was this alien, and fashion is always looking for newness." Her look became the popular new look among models. It has inspired a new generation of baby doll-like models such as Vlada Roslyakova, Heather Marks, Lisa Cant, Lily Cole and Jessica Stam. 
Right now, the industry's top working models include Gemma Ward, Daria Werbowy, Malgosia Bela, Julia Stegner, Iselin Steiro, Mariacarla Boscono, Isabeli Fontana, Doutzen Kroes, Natasha Poly and Sasha Pivovarova.
- ^ New Model Army by Kate Patrick, The Scotsman May 21, 2005 onlineretrieved July 7, 2006
- ^ The First Supermodel
- ^ The World's First Supermodel
- ^ We Three Queens by Alex Williams, New York online retrieved July 7, 2006
- ^ Not Just Another Pretty Face: The End of the Supermodel Era by Hilary Rowland, Hilary Magazine online retrieved July 7, 2006
- ^ Death of the Supermodels by C. L. Johnson, Urban Models October 21, 2002 online retrieved July 13, 2006