I’m down here in Miami for the Art Basel festivities (check back this weekend for more pics and goss) and last night at a dinner for Louis Vuitton, Cindy Crawford showed up and put every other hussy at the Raleigh Hotel to shame. At one point, when the legendary hair dresser Oribe turned up, she did this sexy shimmy in her stiletto heels — in the sand — that left me gobsmacked. Not that this was the first time that I’d spoken to Cindy. I caught up with my fellow Midwesterner in the issue of V that’s on stands now for a fashion story where she cavorted with the handsome Clemente in the woods in Brooklyn wearing menwear. The story is reprinted here, as well as a sultry video from the photo shoot. (Click here to see the full story and more of Sebastien Faena’s glorious pictures of Cindy.) In our interview we talked about everything from West Coast dinner time to Harry Styles, but the part that I think was more pertinent is when she says that she’s a better model today than she ever was. Last night, there wasn’t a man who would have disagreed.
There’s a reference in modeling that captures a certain era: “B.C.,” as in “Before Cindy.” Cindy Crawford ignited the fashion world when she appeared on the cover of Vogue at the tender age of 21, with her killer bod, signature birthmark, and otherworldly appeal. Originally from a small town in Illinois, she would go on to become one of the most super of all the supermodels, a muse to Gianni Versace, and a household name, with her stints as MTV’s House of Style host and spokeswoman for Revlon and Pepsi.
The multi-hyphenate model, now 47, is still in demand in front of the cameras, and has launched her own multimillion dollar businesses too—making her more alluring than ever. Cindy told us that she feels like she’s a better model now—and by the looks of these photos, we’re inclined to agree with her.
What’s it like to be back in New York?
CINDY CRAWFORD When I arrived and got to the hotel I walked to a little market to get some things for a protein shake the next day, and I was reminded of the city’s energy, that buzz. I lived in New York for 15 years. I miss it sometimes. It’s very different from my life in Malibu. You don’t walk in Malibu…or else people think your car is broken down! In L.A. you go to dinner at 7 pm and in New York you go to dinner at 9 pm. But then in the Midwest it’s 5:30 pm.
That’s right, you’re a Midwestern girl. I’m a Midwestern boy. Maybe life in California is a mix of the people from the East Coast with the laid-back lifestyle of the middle of the country.
CC I grew up in a small town in Illinois where you never locked your door. I didn’t even have a house key. Midwestern people like us are nice, sometimes to a fault. You smile at strangers. But then you go to New York and everyone is hustling and in a hurry with their heads down. I love New York, but it’s a city of excesses. Too much of everything…the good and the bad. There are great restaurants, but you don’t know where to eat because there are so many choices! It was perfect for my 20s, when I was working so much, but I wouldn’t have known how to raise kids in an apartment.
Speaking of your kids, my assistant is obsessed with Harry Styles and she told me he came over for an impromptu pizza party with your daughter. What happened there?
CC Oh, that? [laughs] He stopped by to say hi when my kids and I were making pizzas. My kids were doing their own little pizzas and they couldn’t slide them off the pan. Harry goes, “Well, did you put down enough flour so they wouldn’t stick?” And my husband says, “How in the world do you know that?” and my little girl chimes in, “Oh, he used to work for a bakery, Dad. Everyone knows that.”
And started blushing, I bet.
CC Are you kidding? My daughter is twelve. That was bigger than her birthday!
Your kids are gorgeous. I know one of them did a Versace kids’ campaign. What are your thoughts on them getting into the family business?
CC That opportunity felt organic. I worked for Versace a lot in my career and I knew Mert and Marcus were the photographers and Donatella would be there. That’s a dream team. So I figured if she ever wanted to do it this would be a good experience, and it was. We had to drive three hours to the shoot and she had to miss a friend’s birthday party, and then we had to wait in the trailer for three more hours because they shot Gisele first. At the end, she thought, “This is boring.” And I said, “This is work.” It was a good lesson. If she wants to do it, I’m a good guide. I can help her make good decisions, but now I think she’d rather be an actress.
How do you reflect on that supermodel era?
CC What a wonderful time for me. That was a fun time to be a model. It was a lot of focus on fashion and how all these worlds were colliding. MTV was bringing music and fashion and television together. It felt really fun, and we were all really busy and really making money.
Do you ever use that word, “supermodel”?
CC In a tongue-in-cheek way, maybe. At first I found it silly. Do we change into capes and tights in phone booths? But with anything, the more you hear it, the more it seeps into your language. What it means to me is that before us models were more two-dimensional—mostly nameless faces on magazine covers. We were the tipping point. Some girls before us, like Twiggy and Lauren Hutton, were making the shift. But what was unique about our group was that there were five of us and we were all very different but looked good together. Is it five or seven? I never know who to include. Depends on who you ask, I guess. It was a moment when it felt fresh and different and new.
Were you aware of it in the moment?
CC If I had to label my supermodel moment, I would say it was that Versace show when Naomi, Linda, Christy, and I all came out together. We had just done the George Michael video for “Freedom,” and George was in the front row, and we came out skipping and holding hands. It felt like the stars had aligned. But then the next day we were all on another plane going to another city to do another job.
Did you ever want to slow down?
CC I remember thinking, What am I going to do when I’m 25? Or 30? Or 40? We kept pushing the sell-by date.
Are you still gratified by the job now?
CC I’m not doing it every day anymore. At this point in my life I’ve done more photoshoots than I can count, so I like something new. I’ve had people say on a shoot, “This is so Helmut Newton,” and I think, No, not really. I knew Helmut. The part of modeling I like is telling a story with an image. Modeling is a skill, and you become better at it the more you do it. Understanding clothes and lights and your face and angles…you don’t lose that, even though other things come into your life.
More so than the others, you managed to brand yourself. Was that intentional or was it clever management?
CC In the beginning it was more like, why not? I’ll try MTV, that sounds cool. But my agents were telling me not to do it. They said I could make more money doing other jobs. But they were wrong, and House of Style opened a lot of doors. When I did Playboy, it was a big deal because I was also in Vogue. I trusted Herb Ritts, which is why I did it. So those things worked out in my favor, and it gave me the confidence to go and do other projects—but not everything worked out! I did a movie that was successful for me personally, but not successful in many other ways. Choosing to do my exercise video was the beginning of making deliberate choices to do my own projects that were authentic to me, and that led to my skin care line. That was a really hard decision, because I had been with Revlon for a long time. But it was time for me to do my own thing, and now it feels like I have a real business. I love that.
You’re a business tycoon!
CC I had my whole modeling career, which was about learning the business. For the last 10 to 15 years, I’ve been building a business.
But the businesswoman still knows what to do in front of the camera.
CC I’m a better model at 47 than I was when I was 22, although I wish I still had the body I had at 22! Ah, youth is wasted on the young.
The Victoria’s Secret fashion show is one of my favorite things on earth. There, I said it. And not because I’m particularly impressed by boobs. Though, I will say, the bodies in that fashion show defy grafity and all logical thinking. (And they should. As a friend of a few angels, I know how hard they work to get their bodies in VS show shape.) And in the past I’ve done fun videos with these ladies. I’ll never forget the time that Candice Swanepoel worked me out moments before she hit the runway. So this season, I asked Alessandra Ambrosio to teach me the three tricks to being an oft duty angel. They are: Sell the garment, never stop working out no matter where you are, and know how to pose. But hearing it from her pouty lips is much better than reading it here. Without further ado, here’s my video with Ale. And as a bonus, I threw in a few pics I snapped at the VS afterparty on here too. Something for you, boys!
Captions from top: Karlie and Constance; Izabel bringing sex back; me and Alessandra Ambrosio; Lily Aldridge and Harley; the Kloss klan; Candice and Lily Donaldson; me with Jourdan and Cara
The piers on New York’s West Side Highway are dreary. Some are half sunk into the Hudson River, others are sanctioned off my chain link fences and rusty locks. But leave it to Giorgio Armani to turn a stretch of concrete that juts out from 15th Street into one of the most glamorous venues in Manhattan. That’s what happened last night when the designer, still handsome as ever at a spritely 79 years, kicked off his One Night Only celebration with a retrospective, fashion show and late night dance party.
Ricky Martin. Those two words are enough to put a pep in my step. But the Pop star wasn’t the only bold faced name that came out to support the Italian fashion icon. Hilary Swank, Renee Zellweger, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorcese are only some of the people that made their way down the champagne colored tunnel to the fashion show and party. (It was the first time Leo’s lady friend Toni Garrn had watched a fashion show.)
What was so remarkable about the traveling exhibition and fashion show – despite the fact that it lasted more than half an hour, one of the longest fashion shows in recent fashion history – was the unparalleled glamour. Yes, Mr. Armani redefined what it meant to be a red carpet designer, but in the annals of fashion history what most of us associate with the designer is the rounded shoulders of his menswear and his introduction of the female power suit. In my head, Jodie Foster, who wore Armani to collect more than a couple accolades, and a couple of Oscars too, will always be linked with the rigid modernism that we have come to associate with the Armani brand. And I even told Mr. Armani he should send a couple of things to self proclaimed pantsuit aficionado Hilary Clinton when she makes this presidential run in 2016.
But what Mr. Armani (we dare not call him Giorgio to his face) told me before the gala when I stopped by the Armani showroom on Fifth Avenue he was most proud of with this show and exhibition is the more creative looks that he has put together. Remember that iridescent space aged spiky crystal ball ensemble that Lady Gaga wore to the Grammy’s a few years ago? We’re talking about that stuff. In this existing exhibition there are monochromatic embroidered and embellished jumpsuits and traffic cone orange crocodile column dresses. These are the pieces from the designer’s fantasies, which he was so kind to bring into our reality.
Following a vernisage of the exhibition, we meandered down the plush carpeted pier to take a seat for a fashion show of the greatest hits collection of his first decade in the couture business. After dominating the ready to wear market and branching into accessories and home (Armani Casa is still one of my favorite shops), ten years ago he started the Armani Prive line, which became the incubator of his couture dreams. And it was all here, including the seaweed green collection from a few years ago, the Asian baton show from two seasons ago, and this season’s beige decadence, which my favorite couture show of the season.
The last stop on the One Night Only experience was the converted nightclub where Mark Ronson came back from DJ retirement to spin some records. I had a few drinks, but I can still remember a sick Amy Winehouse remix. There was risotto, of course, and other passed pasta dishes, but I made the rookie mistake of following the pretty ladies around the dance floor and forgot to eat, which explains why I’m typing this with one eye open this morning. Yet, a little headache isn’t so bad after a night like that. After all, if you’re going to do ‘hangover chic,’ make it Armani.
Captions, from top: Me and Ricky Martin; Roberta Armani and Douglas Booth; all the girls are here: Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Atlanta de Cadenet, Laura Love and Harley Viera Newton; Stephen Dorff and Caroline Winberg; the Brant boys; me and Toni Garrn; Daria Strokous has legs and she knows how to use them; BryanBoy and Jen Brill; one of the couture looks on the Armani runway; Emily DiDonato and Caroline; Isabel Lucas and Maggie Betts; Jeremiah Brent and Marjorie Gubelmann; James Penfold and Paola Kudacki; Sofia Sanchez, my parttime drinking partner of the night; Sasha Pesko and Vladimir Roitfeld; me and Mr. Armani before the show.
The American version has the bob. But in Italy, they have an ethereal fall of long, blonde tresses. I’m referring to the editor of Italian Vogue, Franca Sozzani, a woman whose steely blue eyes, curly yellow locks and understated Italian glamour have reigned the Conde Nast publication for decades. Last week, she brought her brand of glamour to the cash-rich Middle East capital for a multi-tiered extravaganza of emerging fashion and traditional Italian entertainment. There was a fashion show, a Fashion’s Night Out-style party in the world’s largest mall, and then an outdoor – yet still air conditioned – black tie dinner with performances from celebrated Italian ballet dancer Roberto Bolle and the opera singer Vittorio Grigolo. Joining Franca were many of the Italian fashion industry’s biggest luminaries, including Donatella Versace, Roberto Cavalli, Dan and Dean from DSquared2, and Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci. Tipping the scales on the ultimate in fashion glamour? The legendary Naomi Campbell.
But first, I’m compelled to mention Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of the Emaar Properties, who was Franca’s partner in this venture. This Dubai local – which are few and far between as only 10percent of Dubai’s population is actually from there – worked his way to the top of the corporate ladder to become the corporate head of this lucrative territory, and the man responsible for the world famous Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building on the globe. It also holds the record for the fastest built, as well as the record for highest dining experience. On our first night, we ate at Atmosphere, the building’s restaurant at a mere 125 floors.
“Modern luxury is giving back.” That was Franca’s battle cry at this event, which combined her desire to expose new talent from the Middle East to the Western world as well as raise funds for Dubai Cares, the charity initiate founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. So, on a sunny day (but aren’t they all?), we all met at the Dubai Mall, the largest in the world, for a show from designers from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Nigeria, Ireland, Italy and Russia. (My favorites? Iteun Basi from Nigeria and Ireland’s Simone Rocha.) Then, a gala for 400 on the terrace: Vittorio sang and the fountains exploded, Roberto danced when the buildings in the distance were illuminated for effect. The tables were under the night sky, but individually air conditioned from below, which blew my mind. There was an auction too, which had a few akward moments: Turns out that even though they’re rich, the Arab people aren’t as showy with their public displays of philanthropy as we may see back in New York. Somehow, though, Vittorio managed to sell the sweaty shirt off his back for $40,000, which was added to a pot that topped a million dollars for Dubai Cares.
The night ended at the Armani nightclub with Roberto, Franca’s son Francesco Corrizzini and Vittorio all dancing without their shirts on while standing on the back of a banquette, Franca and the lovely Afef Jnifen flanking them with big smiles on their face. Naomi too showed some prowess for the dance floor, pulling a few moves with Roberto when we got back to the hotel. (Scroll down to the pictures below for evidence of this supermodel’s dance skills.)
My last few days were spent in the desert, which was a wonderful and surreal experience. Less than an hour from the luxury that was the Armani Hotel, the concert and steel world stops and there is nothing but sand as far as the eyes can see. The sun set into long pools of pinks and reds and blues and purples. I made friends with designers Louis Leeman and the boys from Aquazzura, who joined us in the desert, and we drank red wine and rode camels. After dinner, the obligatory belly dancer came out – but this one had a real smile on her face. She was good, she made us happy. (I’ve seen a few belly dancers in my days, and there really is nothing sadder than a belly dancer who is just calling it in.)
This was my first time in Dubai, and I left with an endeared impression. The people I met were fabulous and open-minded. They knew about art, fashion and perfume, the last of which I thought a few of them abused. Ha! I went back my hotel room energized – perhaps a little too much so. On my last night in Dubai, I couldn’t fall asleep before my 6am flight. (An avid reader of this blog will see that in the past few weeks I’ve crossed the Atlantic four times, so it’s not surprising that my poor body clock is a little out of whack.) So, I drew a bath and watched the sun rise over a city that didn’t exist when I was born. The light rose on buildings that glimmered with ambition and a new Arabic Dream. And I thought to myself, When am I coming back?
Captions, from top: Roberto Bolle during his performance on the terrace of the Burj Khalifa; me with Riccardo Tisci and Naomi Campbell; Franca Sozzani and Roberto Cavalli; Karolina Kurkova at the dinner; Vittorio TK during his opera set; Naomi, Riccardo and Roberto after the gala and outside the afterparty; Gianluca Passi, my tablemate; Afef Jnifen and Eva Riccobonno, the mistresses of ceremonies; Roberto taking Naomi for a dip; Mira Duma and Karolina Kurkova at Atmosphere, the highest restaurant in the world; Eva Cavalli at her impromptu birthday celebration; me, Roberto and Gianluca; Naomi, spinning us round and round; Eva at the Armani nightclub; an imposing view of the Burj Khalifa at night; on the drive to the desert for a sandy safari; dinner in the dunes; an onyx at sunset; the end of a perfect day; a belly dancer; me and a fire extinguisher, which I thought was the funniest thing to see in the desert; Edgardo and Erika rolling around in the sand; dancing in the dunes; the parking lot; a glorious morning in the Middle East
PLEASE NOTE: This is not a Taylor Swift song. There is profane verbage not intended for small children or to be played loudly in a work environment. Please consider your adult level of auditory enjoyment as well as your volume dial before pressing play.
Every fashion week, there’s a song that resonates in my head as the soundtrack of that particular season. Rick Owens, who’s show this year was one of the most memorable for a completely different reason (Google it!), introduced we fashion folk to the phrase “IMMA READ” several seasons ago. But this season, Robyn’s song, ‘Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To D,o” hit a note with me because of its anthem that the things those I love so much (“fashion” being first on the list) are all slowing killing me. Remember, I’ve just spent four days cooped up in bed with an infected esophagus. The other refrains that are killing Robyn in this song? Smoking, diet, heels, shopping, ego and a lack of sleep. Preach, girrl! All set to a dancy disco beat? Immediately added to my iTunes.
I traditionally skip Milan Fashion Week. It’s a luxury to be able to do that, and I haven’t been able to do it every season. (Remember the time that super stylist Katie Grand convinced me to come with her for a 24 hour drunken rave in a garden that was once owned by Leonardo da Vinci
?) But it’s just so nice to come home from London for those few days, take a few spin classes, have some green juice, and then show up in Paris rested and relaxed – when everyone else I had left in London looks haggard and annoyed. Fashion!
But this season, I did something different. I accepted an invitation from the artist Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich to come to Moscow for the Biennale there. I figured, eh, I’m already in London and it’s not that far, so why not? And I was glad I did.
The first night I was there was when I was due to meet up with Fyodor. He was at the Artists’ Zoo, which was, literally, a zoo of artists in cages doing their own performance pieces. What was Fyodor doing? I found him in the basement, in his cage, completely naked with his head through a window and a nurse giving specific instructions to participants to put things (food, a whistle, etc) into his mouth. It was a project he had done with the Solyanke State Gallery, where Marina Abramovic is the patron. There was another artist singing traditional Russian songs while wearing nothing by a facemask made popular by Pussy Riot and standing on glass. Another artist turned a giant clock every minute, and did nothing else. They were each in their cages for four hours for seven days. Fyodor went another step and wore a lamb’s mask the other 20 hours of the day, even to bed and in the shower, for the entire week.
The Biennale itself was held in a building that centuries ago held the horse shows. We had a VIP tour of the show, which meant that many of the works were not set up yet, and none of them had ID’s on them. Which was mildly frustrating, but then we’re in Russia, a country steeped in old world traditions that is only now embracing the contemporary art market.
Song Dong’s large-scale piece of all the things his mother had hoarded in Communistic China was particularly powerful to me. And not just because I think my father is a hoarder. It brought to an artistic light the cultural disparities between the China I see today in luxury advertisements and the China before, which would keep broken terracotta plant holders and reupholster ribbed chairs with old jeans, because that’s all they could find. I was also amused by Peter Belyi’s work, which looked like a slide full of shit that was poring out of the Kremlin (insert all political commentaries here) and down the stairs. Alan Michelson did a video work of a merry go round, which made me smile. And I jotted down the name Aslan Gaisumov, a 22-year-old Chechyien artist that I think had some strong works and a promising future. But my favorite work was from the Iranian artist Farideh Lashai. It was called ‘When I count there is only you but when I look there is only a shadow.’ It was work that involved small postcards and a projected video that brought the work to light in small segments.
In the midst of all my art-ing, I did manage to find some time to get my tourism on. Without a doubt, the most memorable was sneaking backstage at the Bolshoi Ballet company, which only recently opened after a six year refurbishment to its pre-Soviet splendor, and watching the dancers warm up. They were like rubber people. I also roamed around Red Square to post some comically satirical comments on the anti-homophobic policies currently being passed in the Russian government on my Instagram account. (How can a country with such flamboyant buildings and male politicians who go topless and wear fur coats be so homophobic?) And we took a tour of the kremlin. Something that was truly memorable was the Soviet era propaganda statues in the Moscow metro. There were soldiers holding babies and milk maids holding guns – and everyone was gorgeous. It was like Bruce Weber had cast the statues in an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue.
Just to chime in here: I am not one to make political commentaries. Like Andy Warhol, who was an artist who chose to speak on things other than politics, I’ve never been one to shove my political views down the throats of others. I’m not Tilda Swinton, who actually did that recently, when she went to Red Square to wave a rainbow flag. Though, I will admit that I was at first hesitant about going to a country that was so close minded. But then, as Fyodor explained, to not come to a country where there are gay artists living and working, would be to deprive them of their own outlet. So I went. I am proud I did. Even if I think these policies are morally backward and a complete embarrassment.
I spent an afternoon in the Tretyakov Gallery’s contemporary art space, which was filled with some Russian artists that I had never, ever heard of before. I find contemporary art to be a novel subject in Russia because, well, it’s a new idea. For so long, art in Russia was only considered Old Masters. Maybe a Picasso. Certain experimental ideas never made it behind the Iron Curtain and only now are finding their niche in the market. More on this later, when I talk about my friend Dasha Zhukova and her Garage, Center for Contemporary Culture. Two pieces caught my eye at the Tretyakov Gallery: Marc Chagall’s Over the Town (1918) and Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square (1915). The latter was one of my favorites, and had apparently created a sensation in the Russian art world because of it’s simple, minimalist aesthetic.
Now, on to Dasha, who you may remember from a certain profile I did of her in last year’s Harper’s Bazaar, appropriately called Queen of the Art Scene. I admire her and her Garage for helping foster a relationship between new Russia and the contemporary art market. This week, she opened a show for the American conceptual artist John Baldassari called 1 + 1 = 1. It was his commentary on the commentary of other masters. (You can read more about the exhibition on The Garage’s website) But what I found more impressive than the show itself was the reception it received. The place was packed with young, eager, fabulous young people ready to soak up, well, art. The art world. The Garage’s contemporary space is a Shigeru Ban-designed pavilion, which the at organization is using until their permanent space, which will be designed by Rem Koolhaus, is completed. They’re located in Moscow’s Gorky Park, which would be like someone in New York opening a new contemporary art space in Central Park. To say I’m impressed and excited for Dasha is an understatement.
On my last night in Moscow, I had dinner at a collector’s house to see how excited Russian’s cultural elite is about contemporary art. The house was fantastic: a Richter in the office, two early John Currin’s in the bedroom, and so forth. And following dinner, Fyodor took us to the apartment of the performance artist German Vinogradov. It was not what I expected. It was in a rough part of town and up a filthy walkup tenement. He opened the door and the first thing I noticed were feral cats, and the second thing I noticed was an unpleasant stench. I asked the artist where he slept, and he told me where we were sitting. In the room there were tubes and metal plates and a chandelier made of a child’s bicycle wheel. But it was one of those moments when you tell yourself to just embrace the unfamiliar. And I’m glad I did. (I also had to embrace the unsafe since one of the features of his ‘noise performance’ was the sound that lit blowtorches make when they’re shoved into plastic tubes.) His performance was unconventional, but it was divine. He used water drops and firecrackers and he hit hollow tubes and knocked crystals against wind chimes. It was not what I had signed up for, but it made me feel happy. And, for me, that’s what good art does.
Captions, from top: Russian art, personified: Alberto Giacometti and Vladimir Lenin, at a private residence; John Baldassari and Dasha Zhukova at the Garage; a Baldassari work at the Garage; the exterior of the Bolshoi Ballet; me in the Tsar’s Box at the ballet; a dancer warming up at the Bolshoi; the Mondrian exhibit at the Tretyakov gallery; Fyodor at dinner, trying to eat through his mask; the Garage’s director Anton outside their temporary space; a kitty; the golden onion domes inside the Kremlin; Song Dong’s work at the Biennale; an Alex Schweder work at the Solyanke State Gallery; the archives in the Garage office; the darkened scene at German Vinogradov performance; Red Square at night; Olya, Mira and Vika at the Garage; the Kabakov’s The Ship of Tolerance; art in the Moscow underground; a view of the interior of the Bolshoi; me in the metro; the exterior of the Kremlin; a handsome Soviet statue in the metro; rubbing the lucky rooster in the metro
You can take the girl out of St Louis, but not the St Louis out of the girl! Karlie Kloss, whom I refer to as my leggy little sister since we grew up so near each other in America’s great Midwest, had a big birthday this week: She (finally) turned 21! Though, she often jokes that she’s 21 going on 41 since she started working when she was 14, turning up in a Calvin Klein show on an exclusive New York fashion week appearance the same week she started high school in Webster Groves, Missouri. Despite logging in more frequent flyer miles than even I can count in the past seven years, she has maintained a sweet charm that has made her one of the most popular ladies in the business.
So, just how popular? Let’s get back to this birthday, which we celebrated with a fete I oragnized at the recently refurbished Paramount Hotel in Times Square. Her best buddy Jourdan Dunn, who turned 21 on the same day she did, showed up with Cara Delevingne and immediately hit the dance floor. Tyra Banks turned up and turnt it up, and so did Karlie’s pals Joan Smalls, Cynthia Rowley, Emma Watson, Lauren Santo Domingo, Giovanna Battagalia and Harry Brant. But the guests of honor were the rest of the Kloss Klan. Her mother and father were there, as was all three of Karlie’s sisters (Kariann, Kristine and Kimberly), as were her grandparents. And yes, Grannie Stella hit the dance floor after Karlie blew out the candles on her birthday cake. Oh yes, that birthday cake. The birthday girl spoiled us when we wheeled out two giant Karlie’s Kookies.
For more pictures, head over to Vogue’s coverage of the big night.
Captions, from top: Karlie and her balloons; Cara, Karlie, Jourdan and me; Joan striking a pose on the dance floor; the fashion designers Prabal Gurung and Cynthia Rowley; Francisco Costa between two Klosses; Jenke and Giovanna; Lauren; Josh; Chanel Iman; Karlie and her grandparents; the entire Kloss Klan; Harry, Karlie and Lauren; Karlie’s cakes (kakes?); Harry; Chris Bollen and Patrik Ervell giving Cythia a seat; Cara, Jourdan and Karlie on the dance floor; Karlie and Jourdan having a dance off; me with the girls; Tyra and Karlie, getting their smize on.
Natalia Vodianova looks like an angel. Her beauty is ethereal, her seduction is sweet. But just because she has the grace of a swan doesn’t mean that she’s not kicking beneath the water. To wit, her Naked Heart Foundation is an international philanthropic powerhouse, largely because of the work that she single handedly has done. Nearly 10 years ago, she founded the charity to build playgrounds in underprivileged villages, first in her native Russia and now abroad. She has hosted galas around the world, in New York, London and Moscow. Her most recent stop was in Monaco, and I was only too happy to support my friend on yet another of her successes. Not that it took much convincing. Three days on the Riviera, with a ball and Russian ballet at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo? Fiiine, I’ll go.
The fashion was tiptop. Natalia wore custom-made Christian Dior haute couture. Princess Caroline of Monaco was in Chanel haute couture. The other princess of Monaco, Charlene, wife of His Serene Highness Prince Albert, was in Atelier Versace couture. And the men too turned up in their Riviera best. My favorite? Eugenio Amos, husband to Margherita Missoni, who’s striped double-breasted jacket hit the 1960’s theme on the head. (Margherita, nearly nine months pregnant, looked divine in her Missoni creation too.) Even Harvey Weinstein cleaned up nice, blushing when the master of ceremonies, James Corden, smooched on him during a smoke break.
‘Twas a night to remember. Maestro Valery Gergiev conducted the orchestra, Diana Vishneva of St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Orchestra took the stage for a breathtaking ballet, and all was under the artistic direction of the adorable Vasily Barkhatov. The highlight of the live auction was when Novak Djokovic bid on a private tennis lesson with his rival Rafael Nadal. We ended in the casino, myself on the arm of Camilla al Fayed, who with Harvey Weinstein commandeered a roulette table.
I am not a new witness to Natalia’s charitable efforts. I was at the launch of the Naked Heart Foundation at Diane von Furstenberg’s studio in 2004, and all of her subsequent Love Balls. [I profiled Natalia recently for the Wall Street Journal too, and we discussed her charitable efforts]. But this night left something so sublime in my memory. It harked back to a decadent and, dare I say it, royal time of long ago. In the name of a charitable spirit, we celebrated Russian culture. The event raised more than $4million for the Naked Heart, which is a sum that will do great service to children around the world. Mario Testino, who was at these festivities too, gave Natalia the nickname SuperNova. And in this weekend, it was clear to see why.
Captions, from top: Natalia at the Hotel de Paris in Monte-Carlo; the Kaiser and I, me and Karl Lagerfeld; the Monaco royal family with the patrons of the evening, including Natalia, Antoine Arnault and Lagerfeld; Camilla and Mario in the casino; James Corden and Harvey Weinstein showing some sweet love at the Love Ball; Margherita and Eugenio; Antoine, Natalia and Mario on the terrace; Alexandre de Betak and his fiancé, Sofia Sanchez; the ceiling of the Opera; Monaco’s harbor at sunset; Camilla and I at a dinner that Mario hosted for Natalia the night before the ball on a friend’s boat; Camilla and I; my friend Tatiana’s dog, Daphne, getting ready for bed; Noor Fares showing one of her faces; Eugenio, Tatiana and Andrea at dinner; Caroline and Karl in conversation; Astrid Munoz striking a pose before dinner; Natalia, spreading the love; Ulyana Sergenko; Sofia waiting for her cards; Harvey, Natalia and Camilla, at the Love Ball’s after party
I didn’t know what was happening with the weather here in Paris: it was sweaty one day, and freezing the next. (Conveniently, on the freezing night, there was a Fendi party. So my girlfriends had already borrowed fur coats and I didn’t need to lend mine to anyone. Being a gentleman is tough work!) But while the weather was rather unpredictable, the haute couture fashion week was expectedly divine.
On the scale of divinity, the highlight of the trip was the dinner that Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti hosted in honor of Anna Wintour at Wideville, the designer’s chateau outside Paris. I have been to Wideville a couple of times, but one never gets tired of the glitz, the glamour, or the old world romance of one of the world’s most marvelous designers. Cocktails on a terrace, sunset walks through the rose garden, dinner in a converted barn, and dancing in a one-night-only discothèque. Actually, it’s a normal night out for Val and Giancarlo.
But, of course, this week the focus was the shows. Some people lament the dwindling presence of fashion shows on the haute couture schedule. But perhaps that is because they are scared that if more and more designers drop out of the haute couture schedule, the day may come when we won’t have this extra reason to come to Paris twice a year. I enjoy the lazier schedule because it gives one time to breathe, or rather inhale the excellence of couture. For example, Naomi Campbell opening the haute couture shows with her infamous trot in the first look at the Versace show was just the punch one needs to be reminded of the importance of high fashion. Later that night, Naomi joined a dinner at Azzedine Alaia’s house, where the designer cooked a three-course meal in honor of Christian Lacroix’s appointment at the house of Schiaparelli. That was a nice reminder too.
And what of the other shows? I was partial to the knitted eveningwear, an interesting paradox that Raf Simons did at Dior, and I heard none other than Jennifer Lawrence, who had flown in for the show, saying the same. Giambattista Valli did a fabulous white lace passage that looked like a garden in a cloud of heaven. Valentino looked to insects for the first half of their presentation, and then exterminated them with bedazzled glamour. And Karl Lagerfeld sent Erin Wasson out in a tiered wedding dress that made my eyes melt in a dilapidated theater he had built in the Grand Palais.
I haven’t had a Fourth of July celebration in about seven years since the couture shows always fall on the American holiday. But, luckily, this year I wasn’t alone: I welcomed Fourth of July with some fellow Americans in Paris – Karlie, two Traina sisters and the divine Alex Wang – at Chez Julien.
On the night before the Chanel couture show, Bazaar’s editor-in-chief, Glenda Bailey, and myself stopped in at Karl’s studio, where he showed us a picture he had taken of Erin wearing nothing but the boots from the couture show. Not that they were just any boots: he called them stir-up shoes because they were anchored to a belt so that the soft, comfortable leather wouldn’t slouch. That moment reminded me of why I loved the couture shows so much: Not just because I had an audience with the Kaiser, but also because it reminded me that at a couture show, the most impressive details are the ones that you can’t see.
Captions, from top: My spot at the head of a table at Valentino’s dinner for Anna Wintour, which was just a little intimidating; Baz Luhrmann leading Karlie Kloss down the stairs and into the rose garden at Wideville; Valentino in his garden; Emma Roberts and Mena Suvari at Versace; me and Azzedine Alaia, a fashion legend; Riccardo Tisci at Wideville; Karl at work; Naomi on the Versace runway; Milla and Catherine Baba; me and the host with the most, Giancarlo Giammetti; Erden and Christopher Kane, two English designers who came down to Paris; The best actress at the Cannes Film Festival, Lea Seydoux, and Christian Louboutin; Naomi at the Versace party; Baz and I; Nicky Hilton at the Valentino show; Vera Wang snapping me; Tatiana Santo Domingo and Eugenie Niarchos at the Valentino fete; Giancarlo with Natalia and Franca; Erin Wasson’s bridal dress at Chanel; Lizzy, Elizabeth, Alexia and Harry in the backseat; Three Missoni’s: Margherita, pregnant with her first son, and her grandmother Rosita, who founded the family dynasty; Bianca Brandolini and I have a laugh at the launch of Eugenie’s jewelry collection; Giambattista Valli flanked by Eugenie and Noor Fares; my friends Mattia and Jessica Diehl; Alexa at Chanel; Rose McGowan at the Fendi dinner; Kristina O’Neill and Carine Roitfeld at the Chanel show; the view walking into the Dior show; Hanne Gaby leading the pack at Giambattista’s show; Bianca and Giamba; me and Hamish having a nightcap at the Meurice Hotel bar; the divine Lady Amanda Harlech in Karl’s studio; the view of Wideville; Chez Julien’s tribute to the Fourth of July: A vintage issue of French Playboy; my fellow Americans in Paris: Karlie, Nessie, Alex and Toto.
The king of stripes: Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy
The king of florals: Dries van Noten
When I was on my way to Paris for the haute couture shows in Paris, I managed to get to the City of Lights early enough to catch the tail end of mens fashion week. Truth be told, the mens shows are where the action is: The shows are on time, they’re more fashion focused and, let’s be honest here, full of the world’s most handsome men. So, I’m not complaining about having to see some boys before the girls took over Paris. While I was inspired by the mandals that were on the runway in Milan, in Paris I found a few other interesting trends. My hands down favorite was the red lipstick on Hedi Slimane’s runway for Saint Laurent and Thom Browne’s outrageous colorful military men. I bumped into Thom in our hotel and asked him if he had any tips about red lips, and he did: matte. Nothing glossy over here. Of course, I will never try a red lip in public (or will I?), but the other trends I loved in Paris were much more approachable: strips and florals. I’ve always been a fan of some lines in my wardrobe, from sailor strips to pin stripes to everything in between. But Riccardo Tisci hit stripes over the head with his bright and graphic Givenchy collection, one of my favorite in Paris. Another stand out was Dries van Noten’s show, which was full of easy, breezy and beautiful florals. The other tricky part about the mens shows is that, because the way the schedule works out, they happen nearly a full year before the clothes will hit stores. But I reckon it’s worth it to wait to come in full bloom.
The red lipstick at Thom Browne
More stripes, top, at Phillip Lim and Paul & Joe, and florals, bottom, at Annne Demeulemeester and Sacai
With additional reporting from Caroline Mason