This supermodel wants you to have her priceless vintage Chanel, Alaïa and Gucci
When a 10-year-old Yasmin Le Bon was picking up an old flasher mac at a local jumble sale in Oxford, United Kingdom, she never would have imagined picking out her first luxury heels on the glossy floors of Manolo Blahnik barely a decade later. Little did she know too, that her future entailed scanning the racks at Azzedine Alaïa, wondering which piece she should cop from her friend who had just casually said, "Take what you like," after spending the day walking for him at a small make-shift runway in his Paris boutique.
Such was the life of a supermodel who has since graced over 300 fashion magazines throughout her illustrious career spanning 30 years. Yasmin Le Bon was the Kate Moss of the '80s (albeit with considerably less scandal tainting her reputation), that is to say she was a frequent face on the runways of Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel, Valentino, Donna Karen and Calvin Klein, many of whom were just as generous as Alaïa, inadvertently contributing to her proliferate collection.
For the first time, she's opening her treasure chest to the public. Through luxury vintage e-tailer Vestiaire Collective, Le Bon is listing gems up for grabs. Her curation (a debut of Vestiaire Collective's archive collector sale series) is steep with Alaïa — included is a black knitted dress gifted to her personally by the designer, and a handful of Alaïa white shirts, a uniform of sorts for Le Bon who donned them frequently en route to walk fashion shows in the early 90's. There will also be two Chanel dresses: one is a gold sequin shift (see below) worn to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen and to a Pre-Bafta party in 2009, the other is a black high-neck number worn three years prior to accept an Elle Style Award on behalf of Karl Lagerfeld.
As sweaty as your palms may now be, find out more about the unbelievable stories behind Yasmin Le Bon's most cherished possessions via our exclusive interview after the jump. Only then do you have our permission to raid her closet.
How did the collaboration with Vestiaire Collective come about?
I was a guest of theirs at dinner one night, and we just started talking about life, fashion, and the future, I think we share a lot of the same values and we got a bit over excited. After a few glasses of wine we thought we should do something together. I feel like I've had the best time with these pieces and it's time for them to be passed onto another loving home. We all have to move on and I think that's what's great about Vestiaire — things you treasure, are beautifully made, and part of your life aren't always going to be. You move on and evolve and change but they can have another life with someone else who will love and treasure them. I've bought things from Vestiaire and thought that someone else has treasured them and kept for me, it's really exciting.
Let's chat about the pieces you will have on Vestiaire Collective. Do you have any stories to tell?
The Pucci items are all incredibly important to me as I collected them at a time when people had forgotten how great he was. They were vibrant and I felt duty-bound to give them a good time! There will be a black Chanel dress that is gorgeous. I was Karl Lagerfeld for a night (I picked up an award on his behalf) and if ever I get an award he will have to do the same for me!
Are any of these personal gifts?
Somebody has to rock the Giorgio Armani dress! It's beautifully constructed in stunning silk, one of those dresses that has very little hanger appeal but it just looks gorgeous in an effortless way when it's on. Giorgio gave me this dress and I wore it out one night with the band, I just had such a fun time wearing this dress. I love Giorgio, he's great and extraordinary to be doing what he does for so long and still be so relevant.
Which is your favourite piece, and why? How do you think it is still relevant in fashion in 2018?
It's hard to pick one favourite piece — they've all been favourites at different points in my life. The off-the-shoulder black Alaïa dress is steeped with memories. I've worn it so much, it was a real moment in time in my life. Life was exciting, it was a really 'full' time where I never knew if I was coming or going. I think Alaïa will always be relevant. The Giorgio Di Sant'angelo dress... I have so many memories doing Giorgio Di Sant'angelo's show. It was one of those shows that we looked forward to — it was fun, his clothes were so expressive, he was a genius with colour. This dress is just beautiful, I really hope it goes to a good home.
Do you think there's still a stigma about vintage clothing?
It's funny, I've never really thought there was. I have always bought not just vintage but previously owned. I feel that there is a real power from searching for something that is not supposedly current, it makes things feel 'found' as opposed to pushed. It is also time to feel that we should treasure everything, ourselves, others, the planet, and yes, the time and love and handwork that it takes to make something. If there was any stigma surrounding vintage before then I think it has well and truly gone, if anything there is a certain pride in mixing found items from all sorts of places.
What do you feel about the following fact: "Fashion is the world's second largest polluter, behind oil." How conscious are you about the environment?
The way we consume needs to change. It's very poignant what Vestiaire is doing, we do need to treasure things we make and design and take care of things. The big mass market business model also has to change. I'm not sure how and there's not one solution but I think there are exciting times ahead with reusing and re-inventing. There will be all sorts of new technology with regards to textile re-use, packaging and dying. It won't happen overnight but people want to be part of a solution, not part of the problem.
Are you sentimental about your clothes? What are your favourite items in your closet you'll never part with?
My clothes represent certain periods of my life, freedom, a sense of independence, happy times. I think of my clothes and shoes as the stories they could tell, and I really love creating those stories. But I also think that if I'm not wearing something, then I should let go as it deserves to be worn. I let go when the time is right. Having said that, there is one long black '20s dress that I have with little diamante crystals on it that I will never part with. It instantly makes me feel decadent and more interesting than I really am!
What are your first memories with clothing?
I've probably been collecting clothes from the first time I ever went to a jumble sale at the age of nine or 10. Clothes, especially new ones, were a real luxury when I was young, so they were to be looked after. My mother would make dresses out of old curtains for us, I had hand-me-downs, which was hysterical because I was so much taller than my sister. I think of my collection as a mix of pieces I really treasure from a jumble sale 30 years ago to the first pair of Manolos I ever bought. I've always loved gorgeous fashion but when I was younger I just couldn't afford it, so everything came from thrift stores or jumble sales, but each item I own is equally loved.
Do your daughters "shop" in your closet? Do you guys share or swap clothes?
Well, what daughter wouldn't, right? I find that quite a few of my long evening gowns go walkies, thank you Amber! Luckily only one daughter has the same size feet as me; but then again I don't share shoes... ever. My daughters make me laugh, as the items they really want from me are the old converse shoes or the most broken in old leather belt. And yes, my new Gucci bag. Funnily enough I have inherited some hand-me-downs from them recently! You see, it does pay to invest in their wardrobes too!
Describe your favourite fashion moment in your life.
There isn't one moment. Life just isn't like that, I have had a pretty great time... well what I can remember of it anyway. I think the most important lessons I've learnt is to be kind and to let others have their say — charm is subtle and effective tool.
Yasmin Le Bon's archival pieces will be available on Vestiaire Collective from 19 July.