Naomi Campbell: A Supermodel’s Journey from Fashion Icon to Philanthropic Force

London, March 2024 – The Victoria and Albert Museum, one of the world’s leading museums of art, design, and performance, is showcasing a remarkable exhibition titled “NAOMI: In Fashion.” This exhibition celebrates the extraordinary 40-year career of Naomi Campbell, one of the most iconic supermodels of our time.

A Glimpse into the Life of a Fashion Legend

The exhibition, curated with Campbell’s creative input, offers a unique journey from her humble beginnings in South London to becoming an international fashion sensation. Over 100 outfits are on display, including remarkable pieces like a Thierry Mugler car-inspired corset, a striking pink Valentino Met Gala outfit, and the memorable Vivienne Westwood platforms that witnessed Campbell’s famous tumble on the runway in 1993.


Campbell’s impact on the fashion world is palpable through these displays. She is among the first to be recognized as a “supermodel,” a term that signifies a model who transcends the runway to become an international celebrity. Campbell’s distinctive walk, the centrepiece of the exhibition’s opening, is a testament to her unique presence in the fashion industry.

Breaking Barriers and Setting Records

From her first major breakthrough, being scouted at 15, Campbell’s rise was meteoric. She shattered barriers, becoming the first black model to grace the cover of French Vogue in 1988 and numerous other firsts in prestigious publications. The exhibition pays homage to these groundbreaking moments, displaying some of her earliest and most iconic cover shoots.

Beyond the Catwalk: A Journey of Activism and Philanthropy

But there’s more to Campbell than just her runway and editorial successes. The exhibition delves into her philanthropic efforts and activism, particularly her extensive work with Nelson Mandela starting in 1993 and her numerous charity initiatives in South Africa and globally.

Named ‘Honorary Granddaughter’ by Mandela for her activism, Campbell has utilized her fame for a greater cause. Her charity work spans decades, reflecting a deep commitment to making a positive impact beyond the world of fashion.

A Creative Force and Cultural Icon

Campbell’s influence extends into television and film. As the executive producer and supermodel coach of ‘The Face,’ she played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of aspiring models across various countries. This involvement underlines her role as a mentor and an influencer in the fashion industry.

The Exhibition: A Tribute to a Trailblazer

Running at the V&A Museum until April 2025, the exhibition is not just a retrospective of a remarkable career; it’s a celebration of a woman who broke barriers, set records, and used her platform for philanthropy and activism.

Sonnet Stanfill, the senior curator at the V&A, encapsulates it best: “Naomi Campbell is recognized worldwide as a supermodel, activist, philanthropist, and creative collaborator, making her one of the most prolific and influential figures in contemporary culture.”

Campbell’s Legacy: A Continuous Inspiration

Naomi Campbell’s journey, from her meteoric rise in the fashion industry to her considerable efforts in philanthropy, echoes her own words: “The sky has never been the limit. We are our own limits.” Her story is an inspiration, a reminder of the power of perseverance, the importance of breaking barriers, and the impact of using one’s success for the greater good. The exhibition at the V&A Museum is a fitting tribute to a true icon of our time.




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