Thirstory: At 50, Claudia Schiffer is Still Conquering

Welcome to Thirstory, where we whet your appetite with pages from the Interview archive that were almost too hot to print. This week, we celebrate Claudia Schiffer’s 50th birthday by revisiting her September 1992 cover story. 


Claudia Schiffer knows a thing or two about conquering an empire. After being discovered at a discotheque at 17, the teen model’s career turned fast and furious when she was selected to grace the cover of French Elle. That cover caught the attention of her fellow German Karl Lagerfeld, who booked Schiffer in her first runway show. Her debut sashay on the Chanel Couture catwalk in Spring 1989 solidified the start of her world domination. 

Three years later, Interview’s editors alluded to Schiffer’s burgeoning success by dubbing the September 1992 cover story “I, Claudia”a name that nods to the historical novel I, Claudius, which chronicles the life and legacy of the fourth emperor of the Roman Empire. Celebrating her 50th birthday today, the supermodel has proven that comparison was not unmerited. 

In a career spanning a little more than three decades, the icon has appeared on thousands of magazine covers, graced countless ad campaigns, and will even curate an exhibition of ’90s fashion photography next year. Upon his passing in 2019, Schiffer suggested her achievements are due in large part to Lagerfeld, saying, “Karl was my magic dust. He transformed me from a shy German girl into a supermodel.” Captured by the late designer for our September 1992 issue, the pair’s chemistry is electric. In the cinematic shoot that later appeared in Lagerfeld’s photobook Off the Record, Schiffer’s guise is akin to kryptonite. On the cover, the supermodel’s beguiling expression recalls Brigitte Bardot. And with a magic wand in her hand, there’s no mistaking that Lagerfeld is, indeed, Schiffer’s fashion fairy godfather.