Waif? What waif? These girls got curves. Or so I decided with my friends at Mr Porter. I recently wrote a story for them that explained why boobs and a bubbly personality seem chic again. Here is the story, and perhaps just as importantly, here are Karlie, Candice, Joan, Kate and even Gisele with some other of fashion’s feisty females in never before seen pictures from my archives.
The return of the curvy, girlier model is not a new phenomenon. When the Victoria’s Secret poster girl Ms Adriana Lima turned up in a Prada show a few seasons ago, it was clear that chicks with boobs and butts were making a comeback. But last month, during the Jean Paul Gaultier show at Paris Fashion Week, something happened that made me welcome with open arms the return of a 1990s obsession with girl power: Ms Karlie Kloss stood on a runway, Voguing. Celebrating her athletic curves (regrettably, she was not in a cone-shaped bra) and Madonna’s own brand of sex-fuelled female empowerment (which I think Ms Miley Cyrus may have taken notes on), she framed her face with her angular appendages before stomping down the runway. The crowd went wild.
Long live Ms Kate Moss, but I’m happy that the waif silhouette is dead. Ms Kloss was on the cover of Italian Vogue in December 2011 for an editorial shoot by Mr Steven Meisel titled “Body by Kloss.” My favorite shot of her was the one in which she wore little more than a hat and killer heels. Not that Ms Kloss is the only top model who knows that powerful shapes – which, for the record, are much different than untoned, jiggly extra pounds – are both fashionable and fun to look at nowadays. Another one of my favorite vixen models? Ms Joan Smalls, the Puerto Rican stunner and face of Estée Lauder who is just as sexy as she is saucy. I’ve always thought that Ms Daria Werbowy had the best rack in the business. And don’t even get me started on Ms Candice Swanepoel, the South African Victoria’s Secret Angel whose body is a rock hard hourglass. And believe me when I say it’s rock hard: there’s a video on YouTube in which she and her trainer show me how to get the perfect Angel body before the lingerie company’s annual fashion show extravaganza.
Cindy, Claudia, Naomi, Stephanie: all these girls had the sorts of bodies that looked as if they were sculpted by gods. (Not following me? Those girls’ last names are Crawford, Schiffer, Campbell and Seymour, respectively. Start Googling.) These were the original supermodels, and there wasn’t a waif among them. So, we are left to wonder why fashion has returned to their curvy aesthetic. Some say that in these troubling times we are nostalgic for a more comfortable era. And what was more comfortable than Ms Crawford in a Pepsi ad in the 1990s? I wrote an article for Harper’s Bazaar a few years ago that fashion’s new obsession with sexed-up clothes was a result of the economy: sex always sells. And it’s free.
But recently, I had another thought: as more and more straight men become more aware of the fashion industry (oh yes, the metrosexual is here to stay), their influence has seeped into it. This isn’t solely a gay man’s gig any more, and we need to think about the sort of girl that men find sexy. Meaning: most guys probably don’t want to ponder over 14-year-old girls who are so skinny they have facial hair. For example, my favorite girl I met while in Paris this season was Ms Andreea Diaconu, a Romanian with curves and an even better attitude. She’s smiley, sexy, tells a good joke. She’s the sort of girl that I wanted to immediately set up all my straight guy friends with because I thought she was so awesome. (But don’t get your hopes up. Turns out she has a boyfriend. And he’s a doctor.)
We can thank one woman for the fashion world’s return to the bodacious body in the post-grunge era: Ms Gisele Bündchen. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with the Brazilian bombshell? Let me tell you what it’s like: she talks a million miles a minute and you just sit there and listen and act like you understand, even if you don’t. Because she’s just that gorgeous. Her body moves and her lips open and close and her perfect hair gets flipped back and forth. But who cares? You’re talking to a goddess. She’s paved a curvy path for the rest of the world’s saucy vixens.
Which brings me to you, Ms Kate Upton. At the party for Ms Carine Roitfeld’s documentary, Mademoiselle C, in New York in September, a few friends and I found ourselves pushing away chairs to create a dance floor in the the Pool Room at The Four Seasons. At one point, when Mr Kanye West and Ms Roitfeld had sequestered themselves into the corner, the crowds parted and in came Ms Upton, the newest of the world’s sexy supermodels. Yes, she looks like Ms Marilyn Monroe. But what I didn’t know is that she can dance like Ms Jennifer Beals, or whatever the woman in Flashdance was called. She sashayed toward us and she shimmied and shaked, and, for a minute, the whole world stopped.
Captions, from top: Candice Swanepoel running around Boston; me and the super curvy Kate Upton; a gaggle of curly girls in Peru; me and Gisele; Joan Smalls and Lily Donaldson at fashion week in Paris; Candice and another girl who knows about curves, Kim Kardashian; the super sweet Andreea Diaconu; Gisele, with a pregnancy curve – and still radiant; Karlie Kloss in Paris; me seduced by Joan
Halloween ain’t what it used to be. I can remember when I was growing up back home in Missouri it was a small street affair. The year I remember most vividly was the one I made my own King Tut mask out of cardboard with magic markers and accessorized with my mother’s fake gold jewelry. I walked around with my equally budget-ly costumed friends’ suburban St. Louis neighborhood carrying pillow cases and cheap orange plastic pumpkins that we filled with candy. But we had to work for it: Did anyone else have to tell jokes at the doors to get the sweet stuff? That’s Missouri for you. No such thing as a free lunch. Or a Halloween candy.
When I first moved to New York, I realized that this holiday is a much bigger deal. Making one’s own costume? Pff. People in New York don’t even do their own makeup. (Poor Pat McGrath. The makeup artist gets harassed to do everyone’s faces. Which is why I just showed up a part with my makeup and made her do it on the spot. More on that later.) Nowadays, it’s even worse. Or better, if you’re into dressing up and public drunkenness. Halloween has become Halloweek, an entire week of parties. Some are intimate and private and others are sponsored and promotional.
There’s an equation to the amount of fun I have on Halloween that’s proportionate to what I’m wearing. Namely, how good my costume is will affect how fabulous I feel whilst out with friends. (But, wait, isn’t that always the case on any night in New York?) This year, I was happy because I didn’t have to think about it. Last year, I had been proactive and bought a train conductor’s uniform but didn’t get to wear it because of Hurrican Sandy. (It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since that fateful week. It feels like yesterday, and read my Sandy blog post here.) So, that’s one costume, done. And my other costume I found when I was cleaning my closet when I was home in Missouri this summer: A fabulous black tuxedo with tails that was very Eddie Munster. Done, done.
Now, on to the extravaganzas. In New York, Alison Sarofim owns Halloween. Her annual party is always on the top of everyone’s list and she doesn’t mess around when it comes to themes. This year it was French Polynesia, which is why she was wearing a giant leaf all night. It was divine. I, unfortunately, couldn’t partake in the theme because of the aforementioned left over costume from last year, but I’m sure one day they’ll have lots of trains in French Polynesia. Marjorie Gubelmann brought my favorite Texan, Lynn Wyatt, who had on my leopard print than all over New Jersey combined. I spent most of the night sat between Pat McGrath, who looked divine in colorful makeup and orchid hair, and Joan Smalls, who somehow managed to look drop dead sexy whilst wearing a polyester hot pink monster costume with a polyester hot pink wig. Pat touched up my makeup through the night, and she had better not send me an invoice. We sat on a couch and held court. Hi, Valentino! Hi, Craig McDean! The highlight? A selfie with Woody Allen. Most people who come to Halloween parties not in costume are spoil sports. But Woody can do what Woody wants.
A few days later I had to come to London for a story, but I was happy to see that my mates in London had finally realized the joys of a costumed holiday. Or maybe it’s that the Brits need no excuse for fancy dress parties and public drunkenness – whatever the case, I was happy to discover that there was a lot of Halloween options in the British capital. UNICEF did a big ‘do where my friend Lily Allen performed. Hats off to Lily Alien, which was her costume. Painted herself green and even managed to find a green Chanel bag to accessorize the package with. That black tuxedo came in handy in London because I went as Derek Munster, the perfect companion to my friend Dasha Addams. Again, even with white face and a black polyester hair, Dasha looked divine. Who are these girls?
Captions, from top: A selfie with Woody Allen; Lily Allen as Lily Alien; the hostess with the mostest, Alison Sarofim; Bernard Smith and Joan Smalls; Elizabeth Saltzman and Patrick Cox in London; Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti; Marjorie and Lynn; Petey Brant; Camilla al Fayed and Dasha; Jenna Lyons and Courtney Crangi; Atlanta de Cadenet; a very charming Camilla; Tabitha Simmons and RJ King; George Barrett and Pixie Geldof; Jessica Diehl; Sofia Sanchez and Alex de Betak being very creative as Guns N Roses; Harley Viera Newton, another hot dog on the street; Noor Fares and a friend; a martini and a piggy; Carlos Mota as a bird of paradise; Jean Pegozzi; Joan, me, RJ, Pat and Tabitha; Aimee Phillips; rolling with Joan; when I felt really dirty at the end of the party; Alison in action; Dasha, Lily and me at the end of a long London night
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
I could watch Anna Dello Russo and Giovanna Battaglia read the receipts at Barney’s. That’s how entertaining these two stylish Italian ladies are to me. So, put them together and ask them about longing for an article of clothing to bad they can taste it? Video heaven. That’s what my friends at Moda Operandi did as part of their ‘The One That Got Away’ series, which is a bunch of videos were some of my favorite ladies talk about a dress or a shoe or a fashionable somethin’ that escaped their clutches. Which, we learn here, happens very rarely in Anna Dello Russo’s case. Heaven help whatever gets in between her and an article of clothing.
Who else did Moda Operandi speak to about the the ones that got away? The have Poppy Delevingne being breathy and beautiful about a dress that didn’t make it; Karlie Kloss remembers the time she wanted to take something home from a Steven Meisel shoot; Caroline Issa left her heart — and more importantly, a chic dress – in Paris and still regrets it; and then there’s that quirky repeller of men, Lleandra Medine, who knows about losing lovely things. WATCH ALL THE VIDEOS HERE.
“Fuck you, fashion week!” Pardon my French, but I figured such language is appropriate considered I’m in Paris. The reason for my Francophilic hostility is that #PFW has left me in quite a state! Cold sweats, swollen lymph nodes, bronchitis: I’m in a full on fashion week fatigue over here. (And I would like to formally thank my friend Molly at Louis Vuitton for hooking me up with antibiotics. I’m sure you had a busy enough week with, you know, Marc Jacobs leaving two days ago. But I will get to that later.)
So, as I sit here at the swanky pad of a friend and count the minutes till it doesn’t hurt to swallow (please resist the temptation to make a joke here), I ponder the week that was fashion. Oh, wasn’t it divine? You know what, maybe it was worth a little strep throat. Whoever said fashion can’t kill you was wrong. But what a way to go!
This season started with a bang – and a bus. Or should I say a Wang and a bus? Alexander Wang celebrated his sophomore collection at Balenciaga with an MIA concert after dinner at Caviar Kaspia, which we went to via party bus. The chicest way I’ve ever gotten around Paris.
The next day I did something I never thought I’d do: I played hookie. I went to the Chateau de Balleroy, the late Malcolm Forbes’ legendary estate in Normandy, which is where Elizabeth Taylor went for balloon races and Prince Charles still goes to watercolor. I saw gardens, drank champagne, went on nature walks and felt fabulous. The end result was that, less than 48 hours later, when I was back in the fashion swirl, I had been reinvigorated and happy to be back.
What of this fashion whirlpool? Like most seasons, it revolved around Caviar Kaspia, this cold-kitchen restaurant on the Place Madelaine that serves, you guessed it, sturgeon eggs on a butter and salt filled potato. The place ain’t cheap, but that didn’t stop me from shoving myself onto a few other people’s expensive accounts. You say potato, I say I’ll split that potato. Vogue’s Elisabeth von Thurn & Taxis did a fabulous dinner for friends like Hamish Bowles, Lena Dunham, Delfina Fendi and Eugenie Niarchos at the recently refurbished Prince de Galles hotel. And I think it was Miu Miu’s party on the last night of fashion week, where I managed to cruise both Lady Mary and Quinn Fabray, that I probably got the illness I’m currently combating.
And what of the shows? I Tweeted, “Loved the Valentino show. It reminded me of an Edwardian Navajo nun. At a Renaissance fair. In the jungle. Set to opera music.” I also loved the oversized decadence that my friend Olivier Rousteing brought to Balmain. Hermes showed modern florals, and that put a smile on my face. Miu Miu was sparkled, and just the jolt that everyone needed at the end of fashion week, I mean fashion month. And I actually got a kick out of Karl Lagerfeld’s take on the art world for the Chanel show. The Grand Palais was tricked out in these hideous fake Chanel art works, and the show was filled with colorful tweeds, prints and swinging dresses. The makeup was fluorescent Pop. My favorite look was the one we all called Picasso’s Baby (the Jay-Z song of that name was the soundtrack of the show), which was the single male exit in the show, and had a scruffy artist toting around a quilted Chanel portfolio case. Please, introduce me to the young artist who carries his work around in Chanel. No, really. Go look up that guy.
The big news this season, though, was Marc Jacob’s departure at Louis Vuitton. What a somber show it was: All black, a retrospective at the Louvre, full of some his greatest hits (Sprouse graffiti and nothing else on Edie Cambpell opened the show, and there were masks and little tributes on all the looks.) He said afterward it was for the showgirl in all of us. Marc gave an indepth interview to WWD where he said that this was not an acriminous split with Bernard Arnault, the head of LVMH, who just happens to be the richest man in France. (He also said that people would probably speculate otherwise but, and I quote, “Whatever.”) Yet, just because it was a fond farewell doesn’t mean that we can’t mourn the passing of an era. Marc redefined that fashion house. He redefined what it meant to be an artist in the modern fashion industry. And though he will be missed, I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do next.
Andy, between Marc’s departure and this painful esophagus, I’m going to bed with a lump in my throat. The only saving grace: A surprise appearance from my mother, who flew through Paris for a night from St. Louis to Vienna. She’ll kiss it and make it all better. Let me know if I should send her over to yours, Marc.
Captions, from top: Harry Brant, me, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Peter Brant, Jr, after the Balmain show; Zoe Kravitz, Alexander Wang and MIA; Joan Smalls getting down in a one-woman VIP area at the Balenciaga party; say what you will about Kim Kardashian, but I was into the blonde; a stellar front row at Stella McCartney included her father, Paul McCartney, Jeff Koons and her husband Alishdair Willis; Dasha Zhukova, me, Matthew Moneypenny and Kristina O’Neill at the fashion canteen, Caviar Kaspia; Daria Stroukous, showing our driver a thing or two about posing; the finale scene at Marc Jacobs’ finale show for Louis Vuitton; Edie Cambpell’s body Stephen Sprouse bodypaint, which was the first look of the LV show; a pack of Brit blondes, Chelsea Leyland, Georgia May Jagger and Alice Dellal; Natalie Massenet, Kate Reardon, Erik Torstensson; Hamish Bowles, Lena Dunham and myself; Caroline Sieber at Caviar Kaspia; Magnus Berger and Andreea Diaconu; Rita Ora and Theophilus London at Carine Roitfeld’s party; Riccardo Tisci and a friend at Carine’s; me and Kate Upton; Leigh Lezark massaging those legs; me at Balleroy; a private concert in the music room; Becca Carson Thrash getting down; a picture window private in the garden; Kip Forbes on top of the pile; the front row at Giambattista Valli; Bip Ling and Hanneli Mustaparta outside Chanel; Dasha and Eugenie Niarchos getting a snack; Deanna and Mira Duma; me with Michelle Dockerty and Dianna Agron; Vanessa and Victoria Traina on the party bus; Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing at his afterparty; a group shot at Caviar Kaspia; Pat McGarth darting between shows; Vanessa Traina at dinner; Anna Wintour making a very stealth escape from the Chanel show; my Mommy at dinner with me.
“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” This old adage is basically how my collaboration with sophisticated e-tailer Paperless Post
came to pass. An avid reader of either of my books, Classy
or Very Classy
, will know that one of the hallmarks of a lady is a handwritten note. (And if you’re not an avid reader of either of my books, you had better get to a book store.) Along with not making sex tapes, being punctual and never being the drunkest girl at a party: Handwritten notes, preferably on one’s own stationery, was how a lady was supposed to communicate.
Then I started getting all these Paperless Post invitations and greetings. I was annoyed at first. “Write me a damn note!” I’d think. But then I tried it a few times. And shit, it’s so much easier. They link to your schedule and you can see who’s opened them and track your RSVP’s. Voila. Easy. After all, it’s the thought that counts. And the person who receives any sort of thoughtfulness will appreciate it, right?
Anyway, there are a few things that should still be reserved for pen and paper. Like, a love note. Or a suicide note for that matter. Wedding invitations too are an opportunity to wow someone with the size of your paper stock. I should also mention that my stationery can be sent via regular post too, in a collaboration called Paper by Paperless Post. Go to their website and have a gander.
So, my friend Karlie put me in touch with her friend Josh’s friend James, who with his sister Alexa, started Paperless Post. And we hit it off. Fifty meetings later and with only minor breakdowns, my first of what I hope will be many collaborations was born. I had a good time designing them: What do all my friends want to say to each other on a birthday card, but can’t really? “You don’t look a day over whatever age you want me to tell people you are.” What do my girlfriends really think when they’re doing a baby shower for another friend of theirs? “This kid is going to need all the help they can get.” And there are party themes too: Country western, Mexican, and so forth.
My next dilemma? How do we fete this collaboration? Well, my 23rd birthday party was one of my favorites: A few days before the big day, my friend Evan lent me his parents house in Tribeca and, at a loss for how to put together a real rager in a short period of time, I thought the best way to observe my humble Midwestern roots and my East Coast ambitions would be a hot wings and champagne party. (That party ended in fun, and bad press. Page 6 wrote that someone broke out a rifle. But eh, what can you do?) We revisited that party theme for this one.
Wings from Hooters and champagne from Veuve Clicquot, all set in the majestic venue of Hogs & Heifers. Ever heard of that joint? It’s in the Meatpacking District and one of the inspirations for the cinematic masterpiece ‘Coyote Ugly.’ My friend Rebecca had the good idea to park a blue pick up truck full of hay outside the place.
I’d like to think my buddies turned up to support me, but I’m no fool. Half of them were probably desperate to finally have an excuse to check out Hogs & Heifers, and the other half came out for the free champagne. But all of them were happy with the goody bags: They got some of my stationery, a Karlie’s Kookie and even some of my very own ‘haute sauce.’ After all, if you like and you want it, put a hot wing on it.
Captions, from top: Lauren Santo Domingo, me and Elisa Sednaoui leaning on the festive pick up truck; two examples of the stationery; me and Alexa Chung in Hogs & Heifers; Karlie Kloss and her biggest little fan, Cyrus; Lily Aldridge; two of my favorite musicians, The Strokes’ Albert Hammond, Jr and The Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill ; photographers Inez + Vinoodh with Marc Kroop; me and Giancarlo Giammetti; Courtney Love and I; Marjorie Gubelmann, Tico Mugrabi and Samantha Boardman; Nicky Hilton and Jen Brill; some of the entertainment at the venue; Fiona Byrne of the Byrne notice and Josephine de la Baum; Mickey Sumner, me and Prabal Gurung; Michael Hess and James Hirschfield; Anne Dexter-Jones, Annabelle Dexter-Jones and me; Julia Roitfeld with her friend Remi; Matthew Moneypenny and Paola Kudacki; Cynthia Rowley, Jessica Seinfeld and Karlie Kloss; Genevieve Jones and Iman; two more examples of my stationery; and another two; the night’s entertainment; the night’s bouncer; me in the corner with Courtney
‘Twas a dream come true: For the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar, I was assigned a story on my supermodel fantasy, Linda Evangelista. Few models have inspired and conspired like she has. And she did not disappoint. When we met she was in head-to-toe Lanvin. She was fiesty. She was fierce. She was everything I wanted and more.
“Linda does not do social media.” The Linda in question, the one talking about herself in the third person, is Linda Evangelista, the monumental ’90s supermodel and fashion-industry rabble-rouser. It’s a rainy day and we’re sipping coffee in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, a few blocks from the penthouse apartment she bought more than a decade ago, debating the pros and cons of the Internet. The pros? “You know when an airline loses your luggage? That’s when I wish I had Twitter,” she says, flashing that high-fashion smile.
The cons, of course, involve things that come up when one Googles oneself. “If I’m ever feeling real good about myself, all I have to do is go online and read a blog or two, and it brings me right back.” Indeed, the life of Linda Evangelista provides colorful search results. She was a small-town Canadian girl who moved to New York in the ’80s and, along with cohorts Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and Christy Turlington, became one of the world’s most sought-after supermodels. She filled fashion magazines with glamour and tabloids with drama. She was a diva. She changed her hair color 17 times in five years. She married Gérald Marie, the head of her Paris agency, at the age of 22, then left him for (and almost married) the actor Kyle MacLachlan. In 2006, she had a son, Augustin James, but refused to name the father. (It was later revealed to be the French businessman François-Henri Pinault.) Most recently, she dated Hard Rock Cafe cofounder Peter Morton before splitting with him this past spring.
Evangelista, 48, became known for being the industry’s best in front of the camera and the industry’s worst away from it. In 2001, she was sued by her former agency Wilhelmina for defrauding it of commissions before the agency dropped the case. Not that bad press mattered. She was still booked solid. That’s what led to the infamous quote that pops up with any Internet search of her name: “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day,” a reference to her fellow supes, and one that she hasn’t been able to live down since. And last year, when she took Pinault to Family Court in Manhattan to sue him for child support, the media (myself included) reviewed her court ensembles as if it were a fashion show.
What Evangelista finds most appealing about social media is the idea of speaking directly to those fashion fans who grew up idolizing her. “Maybe I should start a blog,” she says. “You control it. You can correct things that are said about you. That’s the first thing I’d do.” Like, for instance, the details that were reported in her child-support case—that she allegedly sued Pinault for $46,000 a month, though her lawyer insisted she was not seeking a specific amount of money, and she eventually settled for an undisclosed sum. Evangelista says she was surprised at all the attention, since the headline-making behavior recalled a former version of herself. “Motherhood is my whole life now,” she explains. “It’s the best. I am so fulfilled.” The week before we met, she spent a month vacationing with her family in Canada, at a house she rented in Muskoka Lakes. “This place was the furthest you can be from five-star. It was basically one step up from camping.”
The notion of Evangelista as a mother hen on float trips is hard to reconcile with her haute couture alter ego, a dichotomy she readily acknowledges. “There are lots of things you don’t know about me,” she says. “I do needlepoint, I do crochet, I cake-decorate.” She says she’s a proficient chef and a barista, and can play a mean accordion, a skill she acquired growing up in St. Catharines, Ontario. (“I have two in my apartment, but they have dust on them. It’s more of a winter thing.”)
When she’s not working, days that used to be spent shopping, sleeping, and on the beach at her house in St.-Tropez are now filled with crafting, specifically macramé, and playdates. And while Evangelista refuses to speak about her son, whom she calls Augie, a few bons mots slip out. “Let’s just say I have a child who doesn’t like fashion. He wants jerseys. We watch sports and go to games. I do boy things now.” As for dating, since splitting with Morton, she’s single, not dating, and happy about it. “I look at it this way: I have been so lucky in love,” she says, adding with a cryptic smile, “Except for two times.”
Yet even with her various hiatuses from the spotlight, Evangelista is as super as ever. She was featured on the cover of Italian Vogue‘s “25 Years of Fashion” special issue this past summer, and recently starred in campaigns for Chanel Eyewear, Hogan, and Talbots. And the supermodel’s appreciation for her three-decade-and-counting career has grown over time. The images she created with photographers like Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Peter Lindbergh, and Norman Parkinson (not to mention her iconicBazaar covers) have become part of fashion history. “I knew they were legendary, but I didn’t know how relevant their work would become. Now I’m like, ‘Linda, you fucking idiot!’ I didn’t appreciate it at the time, and I regret that.” Francesco Scavullo was another master, and one of the few who got her to undress in front of the camera. “He said I had to do a nude with him, and I finally said, ‘Fine, but you’re cropping it. You can’t go past my chest, and I’m turning my back.’ That was my nude. It’s beautiful.” She remembers when makeup artists and hair stylists didn’t have teams of assistants, when the backstage cabine was the size of an airplane bathroom, and admits to being nostalgic for that era. “It was more personal. It had more energy.”
Evangelista says that in pre-digital-camera days, she felt she was creating art with photographers, which isn’t always the case now: “These young whippersnappers have brilliant eyes and ideas, but they’re not old-school enough for me.” She misses the great technicians who didn’t rely on computer wizardry. “When we were satisfied with how our Polaroids looked and we moved to film, those pictures did not need retouching. Now everything is [done in postproduction]. Sometimes I look in the mirror and see wrinkles in the clothes or streaks in my makeup or a glob of mascara on my eyelashes, and it pisses me off!”
Talk about intimidating: Can you imagine doing Linda Evangelista’s makeup? It would belike playing the piano for Mozart. “Sometimes I just say to a makeup artist, ‘Listen, I don’t know what you’ve heard about me, but you’re doing my makeup and it’s going to be all right.’ Sometimes they do things like, when they get to my mouth, they hand me the lip pencil. And I say, ‘Oh, no, you do it. Just give it a shot.’ “
Evangelista is quick to crack a joke, which raises the question: Could the model the industry loved to paint as bitchy and cynical actually be playful with a killer sense of humor? “I don’t know,” she says. “I’m just too honest. I say what other people wouldn’t. I like to be tongue-in-cheek.” Her nasal, winging voice, immortalized in Isaac Mizrahi’s 1995 documentary, Unzipped, when she moaned backstage at a fashion show about always being stuck with flat shoes while Naomi got the heels, now lets loose with punch lines and double entendres. I tell her that Karl Lagerfeld calls her “the best.” “The best what?” she snaps back. “The best complainer?” And she’s not afraid to poke fun at herself. “Want to know what I’m doing when I’m not working? Therapy—individual, group, all of it.”
Still, few can boast the kind of fiercely loyal cadre of friends that Evangelista has built for herself. Famed photographer Steven Meisel is one of her closest confidants. So is Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, the French stylist who Evangelista says “acts like a mom to me. She is very protective, caring, nurturing. And she yells at me!” And the hairstylist Garren, who was largely responsible for her colorful crops and fluorescent bobs through the 1990s, Evangelista calls a big brother.
Earlier this year, too, it was revealed that she was the only one of John Galliano’s famous friends who visited the designer in rehab following his 2011 dismissal from Dior. “I hadn’t seen him in a long time, and I suspected he wasn’t well,” she recalls. “When I was brought up-to-date on the situation, I asked, ‘So, who’s going to see him?’ and they said no one. I booked a ticket and spent the day with him, and then went right back to the airport. I didn’t want him to be alone.” She didn’t tell anyone; Galliano was the one who spilled the beans. “I’ve always been there,” she adds. “If you speak to people in this business who’ve known me for 30 years, they’ll tell you. All the stuff that is said about my ways and my personality is far more interesting than the truth.”
Her friendship with Galliano aside, Evan gelista refuses to be pinned down when asked to pick a favorite designer, even when I point out that she’s wearing head-to-toe Céline. “No! It’s like asking a mother to pick her favorite child!” She does say that she’s adamant about supporting American labels. And she reveals a recent go-to: the Row, the line by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Evangelista says she was at Barneys and a sales associate was pushing a leather skirt on her, and she asked who the designer was. “I said, ‘Those two little girls? I’m not trying it on.’ But she put it in my dressing room and I put it on, and it became my favorite skirt.” She calls the Row a reliable label now. “I think those girls were put on this planet to be designers, not actresses. I really respect them now. I didn’t want to, but I do.”
To hear Evangelista talk about fashion is to listen to a woman describe her first true love. “I still crave fashion. I still love fashion. I mean, I’ve traveled the world to work in studios. Nobody put me in bathing suits on a beach.” She wasn’t the sexpot; she was the supermodel we wanted to dress up and project our fashion fantasies on. But when I mention the S-word, she says, “I don’t even know what that means anymore. Is that era over? Who is a supermodel now? Is everyone? Is no one?” She squints her eyes and smiles. “You can call me whatever you want to call me. All I know is this: I’m still here.”
above photo by Derek Blasberg, all others by Terry Richardson for Harper’s Bazaar
Am I the only one who finds it ironic that we call it London Fashion Week when it’s really over three days and it’s mainly over a weekend anyway? Although, I will say, those three days are so jam packed with fashion shows, appointments, dinners and parties, it does feel like a week. Actually, it feels like London fashion month. I mean, these Brits don’t hold back, do they?
I got to London on Saturday morning. (Missed my original flight, got on the next one standby, middle seat in the back of the plane, arrived delirious.) And my first show was one of my favorite new designers: JW Anderson. He’s an Irish lad, gregarious and charming as ever, and I loved his collection of modernist clothes that were folded and fascinated. I sat next to Lady Amanda Harlech at the show, and she was oohing and ahhing all the way through. Later that day was Henry Holland’s show, which always puts a big smile on my face. He’s one of the most loved designers of LFW, which was made very clear when I had to squeeze into my seat next to every chic chick in town, including Alexa Chung, Daisy Lowe, Leigh Lezark, Mary Charteris, Harley Viera Newton, Atlanta de Cadenet and Kelly Osborne. Also at the show? Harry Styles. Bestill my heart. (Scroll down to the bottom of these pictures for a money shot of me and Harry.)
What else happened in London? Burberry seduced us with a rose colored – and, at the finale, rose petal covered – show, and Tom Ford blinded us with a show of sparkled-to-death, drop dead glamorous fashions. My favorite look of Tom’s was a colorful disco ball mini dress and thigh high boots that filled the room with bold spots when it came down the runway. And the kids impressed too: Christopher Kane channeled some flower power, Erdem went lacey but not racey, and I loved the rainbows at Jonathan Saunders.
Besides the fashion, a big part of LFW is keeping up with the fun. And this season’s social schedule was book ended by two fabulous magazine fetes. W magazine and its September issue cover star Cara Delevingne took over the newly opened The Edition Hotel, Ian Schrager’s latest property, for a rip-roarious party on Saturday night. And I mean they took over the whole hotel: From the lobby to the restaurant to the basement club to something called The Punch Room. And when they closed those rooms down, it was up to the rooms. The Another Magazine fete was something else too. Jefferson Hack had an enchanted forest theme, but there were more evil Red Queens than Alices in this Wonderland.
Captions, from top: Tickling the ivories with Pixie and Alexa after the Erdem show; Alison Mosshart at a party for Equipment; the very charming Douglas Booth, who will be the new Romeo later this year; Zoe Kravitz in Tom Ford; a well bowed Carine in a Comme des Garcon coat, leaving Christopher Kane; Caroline Sieber and Downton Abbey’s Lady Edith; Sienna, Poppy and Mary at the Another Magazine party; a very stimulating Beckham spotting; Kelly Osborne doing her best Home Alone impression; Henry Holland’s front row, which included Leigh, Alexa, Pixie, Daisy and Mary; Lily Allen and Nick Grimshaw at Giles’ show; the hot Momma that is Elisa Sednaoui; Natalie Massenet and her mad hatter Erik at the Another party; me and Beth Ditto; Caroline and Jade at the Longchamp store opening; Christopher Kane being very popular after his show; Poppy and Laura at Erdem; Tom Ford at his bow; Cara Delevingne in a bat hat at Giles; Alexa and Pixie doing a double DJ; the finale at L’Wren Scott; Cara getting in a fight with her cheeseburger costume; Dominic Jones and Kate Lanphear; flowers from Tom Ford; Poppy in repose; JW Anderson receiving backstage well wishes; and the fan shot heard around the world, Me and Harry Styles
Now I know I’m getting old. Why? Because hangovers last for more than a morning. Because now, when I stay up just a little bit later than I probably should, I am tired a little longer than I think I should be. Or such was the case with fashion week this season. You see, in yesteryears, I was able to do the cocktail circuit as well as the morning shows. Top secret Lady Gaga show where she keeps us waiting till 1am to hit the stage? No problem, I can still make it to Victoria Beckham at 10am the next day. (I did. I still don’t know how either.) But, jeez, it’s not as easy as it used to be.
So, here I am going through my NYFW diary on the plane to London for LFW with a delirious smile on my face. It all started just a week ago on such a high note: Victoria’s Traina’s birthday dinner at Le Grenouille on the Upper East Side. It’s one of the most beautiful restaurants in New York, and the Traina sisters are one of the most beautiful group of girls I’ve ever met. And only for her would designers like Jack McCollough, Lazaro Hernandez and Alexander Wang leave their studios before their shows to show some love.
This was a big season for live music acts. Lady Gaga gave Stephen Gan and V magazine a special sneak peek of her new album with a top secret gig at a club on Bleecker, and on the same night Nicki Minaj performed at the Alexander Wang show. (Much to my amusement, this week I got into a little Twitter tiff with Nicki, which was covered by Life + Style magazine. What? The elevators are big enough for more than one queen, Barbie girl. Ha!) A highlight, or maybe lowlight, from Alex’s party was when Joan Smalls and I were dancing on a table in the VIP area – and it collapsed. Like, it just crumbled. Never a dull moment. Pharrell turned up at the Calvin Klein party to perform a set, and my friends, siblings Sasha and Theo Spielberg, performed at Diane von Furstenberg’s dinner on the Highline after her show.
Speaking of Alexander Wang, my partner in crime this week was Natasha Lyonne. She picked me up for that show and had me in stitches throughout the entire car ride, fashion show and car ride home. She popped up a few other times too, like the Opening Ceremony rave on the Pier 26. Fashion week is best digested with a smile.
Carine Roitfeld’s documentary, Mademoiselle C, premiered during fashion week, which I thought was a fantastic glimpse into the life of a modern fashion icon. It will undoubtedly be compared to The September Issue, which chronicled the creation of Vogue’s biggest issue of the year, under the tutelage of Anna Wintour, but they are two very different films. Like the women themselves, Wintour’s is more polished. Carine opened up more, and as she told me at the party, she had no idea it would have been such a personal project that captured so much of their emotion. The parties for the two documentaries were much different too, with Carine swinging around the Four Seasons Pool Room with Kanye West on her arm. My favorite part of the film? The scenes with Karl Lagerfeld. In one, he’s pushing a stroller, which is something that only Carine could get him to do.
As for the fashion shows, the New York collections didn’t disappoint this season. Marc Jacobs’ show was legendary, and not just because it took place while a torrential downpour tortured everyone outside and the room temperature in the Lexington Avenue armory was ridiculously hot. Backstage after the show, he told me it was Tropical Victorian, and indeed, my favorite parts were the ruffled, vintage feeling dresses at the end of the show. I also loved Proenza Schouler (my date to the show, Linda Evangelista, said she was particularly taken with the ‘palazzo culottes’) and Alutzarra, which was a super sophisticated French take on American sportswear.
The most memorable moments of fashion week, as is often the case, were the impromptu ones. Lily Donaldson took me on a bar crawl on the first night of fashion week that had us screaming to Lil Wayne in the backseat of a taxi, and a few nights later I found myself at Odeon after it had closed with Frankie Rayder and Karen Elson giving runway through the tables. The manager warned the girls that they might get hurt, and they politely warned him that they were professionals.
And finally, there was the eye candy. Not just with my super saucy supermodels, either. I’m looking at you Noah Mills and Alexander Skarsgard. Scroll down for pictures of those studs and more fashions.
Captions, from top: Me and Terry Richardson at some club on Bleeker Street, where Lady Gaga threw a top secret concert in honor of Stephen Gan and V magazine; Jessica Alba and those weird twins from Spring Breakers; Stephen and Gaga; Proenza Schouler’s Lazaro Hernandez and Lily Donaldson; The Carine; me and current Vanity Fair cover star Kate Upton; Noah Mills and Alexander Wang at the designer’s afterparty; Joan Smalls and Naomi Campbell at a party for Interview magazine; sweet Toni; WSJ. Magazine’s Magnus Berger and Kristina O’Neill with a very handsome Matthew Moneypenny, and yes that’s a real name; Lily putting her face on in the taxi; riding in the backseat with Natasha Lyonne to the Alexander Wang show; the fashion professional at work: Lauren Santo Domingo at Moda Operandi HQ; Hanne Gaby on the dance floor at Alex’s party; Nicole Richie and Andre Leon Talley; Magnus, David and Giovanna squeeze in a beer before the Thom Browne show; Alexander Skarsgard being appropriately sexy at the Calvin Klein party; Gaga in concert; Christie Brinkley, still smoking; Not An Average Joe, Nicole and me; Dree Hemingway and CK’s Francisco Costa on the dancefloor; Georgia May Jagger backstage at Marc Jacobs; me and The Linda; Lou Doillon in concert; Frankie Rayder and Karen Elson at Odeon; Angela Lindvall and Irina Shayk at the Vanity Fair party; me and Jess; Theo and Sasha Spielberg in concert at DVF’s dinner; James Rothschild, Nicky Hilton and me at Gaga’s concert; Alexandra Richards and Patti Hansen; Karolina Kurkova helping Carmen Carrera with some adjustments; Cory Bond and Vogue’s Hamish Bowles; Lily Aldridge, Tabitha Simmons and Karen at Carine’s party; Harry and Petey Brant; me and Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough; Heidi Mount and Joan making Hello Kitty backpacks work; Leigh Lezark and Courtney Love; three kids of the 1990′s, Amber, me and Karen; Inez and Vinoodh; Noemie Harris and Jason Winberg at the CK party; Terry and Sky Ferreira at a party for WSJ. Magazine; my muses, Dasha Zhukova, Lauren and Karlie Kloss; Victoria Traina’s birthday party crew, including Ms. Danielle Steele, my icon
It can be hard to define summer in the fashion industry. What does one include as time off and time on? And I mean really on? The way that I will sum up summer is the time elapsed between the Cannes Film Festival in the South of France and a relaxing, quiet weekend I had at a ranch in the Northwest of America. So, what has transpired since then? I hung out with a bunch of gorgeous girls on the Riviera, went to Rome to celebrate my friend Francesco Vezzoli’s opening at the Maxxi Museum, headed to Venice for the Bienale with the Brant boys, made a stop in London for Gucci’s Chime for Change benefit, and then finally headed back to New York for the CFDA Awards. The following weekend I headed home to Missouri for my nephew and godson’s first birthday, but made it back to New York for the amFAR gala – and then it was back to Europe, first for the Liasiasons au Lourvre and the haute couture shows. Back to New York, briefly, for a soccer tournament and then back to Europe for Natalia Vodianova’s Love Ball in Monaco. I finally came back to the good ole United States for some quality down time with the family in Missouri and ultimately a badminton tournament at my friend Lauren Santo Domingo’s house. Last up was Montana, where I had no cell reception and no contact with the outside world, which was a change of pace for the safari I’m about to go on: New York Fashion Week. Check back in a week for all the fun from #NYFW
Captions, from top: Milla, Jourdan, Lily, and Rosie in Cannes; Natalia in Cannes, Dita and Mark, Isla Jen and Dasha in Cannes; Mattia in Venice; Francesco in Rome; R.J. and Andy; taking time to smell the roses in Venice; Petey in repose; my purchase in Venice: a gondolier’s hat, which I love; not quite clear skies, but still gorgeous; Pixie, Florence and Poppy; Rita and Poppy giving cheek; Lauren, Lazaro and Jack at the CFDAs; Nicole and Alex at the CFDAs; Lily and Alessandra at the CFDA after-party; Dan and Douglas after the CFDAs; Jessica and I after the CFDAs; Tory and Kristina; Milla and Karlie after the CFDAs; Will in his element; Birthday boy; no place like home; Karlie at the launch of her Frame Denim collection; Eniko and Lindsey looking glam; Leigh, Candice and Olivier are hooked; Giambattista arrives; Milla, Bianca and Olga, coming into the Louvre for the Liaisons gala; Diana performing; Emma and Mena at Versace; Naomi at the Versace party; the master himself: Azzedine; Lea and Christian in Paris; Kristina and Carine looking haute in Paris; Baz leading Karlie down the stairs and into the rose garden at Wideville; Riccardo at Wideville; Vera in paris; Rose McGowan at the Fendi dinner; Alexa striking a pose; Dorian on the metro; only in Paris; Jared on stage; Patrik and Christopher inVienna; Caroline: the beautiful bride, Vanessa and Mike in Vienna, Joan and Karlie in Brooklyn, a gorgeous view from the Brooklyn Bridge, Supernova Natalia in Monaco, Camilla and Mario in the casino, James and Harvey showing some sweet love at the Love Ball; Sofia in Monaco; the Kaiser himself in Monaco; Tyra and Karlie smize-ing at Karie’s 21st; babe on a boat; there’s no place like home in St.Louis (x4); Dree loves my shoes; Alexa in the Hamptons; In the Hamptons; Ludi loves his toys; Starvos, Jess, and Alexa take a ride; Heart of Americana, Montana (x4)