About

Yasmin Le Bon has achieved what few other models ever have: over the course of her 30+ years in the fashion industry, she has appeared on the covers of about 300 magazines from across the globe, including the first issues of British and American Elle and 31 Elle covers total, three issues of Italian Vogue, and 10 international editions of Harper's Bazaar; been shot by some of the world's most talented photographers from Horst to Demarchelier and Lindbergh; and been a favorite of designers Azzedine Alaïa, Valentino, Karl Lagerfeld, Philip Treacy, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren, just to name a few.

Along with her stellar career, she has cultivated a happy yet tumultous family life in southwest London with her husband, Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran (whom she married in December 1985), their three daughters, and their menagerie of cats and dogs.

Not content to limit herself to modelling, Yasmin has frequently made forays into design, in the form of a line of dog accessories for Mungo & Maud and clothing collections for Wallis and Winser London (the latter of which first premiered in autumn 2016).

Yasmin also has a strong passion for causes that raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancer, problems that affect children, and especially environmental issues.

her start in modelling

Yasmin was discovered in 1981 at the age of 17 by a scout from local agency Elliot Brown while working in an Oxford boutique and initially did work for small-time businesses, a few fashion shows, and hand modelling. (Her first job, she recalls, was "standing next to Martin Sheen and throwing money up in the air for a Daily Star bingo promotion.") Not sure what to do with her life after graduating from school, pressure from friends who were concerned about her future prompted her to take the train to London and knock on the door of the only other agency she knew of, Models 1, in late 1983. Despite being soaking wet from rain and dressed like a boy, agency co-founder Jose Fonseca snapped her up on the spot; and she was working within a week of being signed.

When Yasmin first started off, blue-eyed blondes represented the beauty ideal; and her ethnically ambiguous look was not widely sought-after. "I had a weird face for that time. I looked mixed race, but no one quite knew what - there was still a lot of ground to break in that way," she said. "I wasn't a commercial choice because in the fashion world people didn't look like me." Yet, she managed to use her unique looks to her advantage as the face of major campaigns for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Karl Lagerfeld and on the covers of American, French, and British Elle and Italian and British Vogue, among many others. "I think [not having blonde hair and blue eyes] helped me, because during that time there weren't many women in England with dark hair, eyes and skin, and I think that people wanted some change, they wanted to see other images on the runway. In a modest way I feel I contributed in a small measure to that."

an infamous blind date

It was during a photo session in mid 1984 with photographer Mike Owen that Simon Le Bon, one of the biggest rock stars in the world at the time, saw a cover image of model Yasmin Parvaneh in his portfolio, fell in love with her smile, and decided, in his words, "I had to have her." He asked Owen for her number, who was understandably reluctant to give it out. Her booker, however, complied, which Yasmin was none too pleased about. "I almost broke up with my booker right then and there - I mean, how unprofessional!!" she said later. Nor was she impressed when he asked her out to the world premiere of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. "I was so offended that someone who didn't know me could just ask me on a date. I thought, 'Who the hell does he think he is? What, you just invite a girl, a complete stranger, out?' I mean, I was sure I'd never met him. How dare he?" After fellow model and idol Joanne Russell vouched for him and friends egged her on, she agreed to go.

Attending the gala premiere, both recalled feeling an instant attraction to one another, with Yasmin impressed by Simon's self-confidence, intelligence, sense of humor, and lack of superstar egotism. Meanwhile, she was astounded by the mass of screaming girls, photographers, and camera flashes at the cinema, clinging to Simon and refusing to tell anyone her name "because I thought it was such an affront of them to ask. Consequently, I was known as The Mystery Woman for 2 or 3 days!" The two remained friends afterwards, and it was only after meeting back up in Paris the following spring that their relationship truly began in earnest.

an enduring marriage

Yasmin and Simon wed on 27 December 1985, in a somewhat rushed affair two days after Christmas and less than a month before Simon was to take off in a months-long yachting race. Suddenly traditional, Simon told Yasmin she couldn't wear black; and as she had nothing that fit the bill, she had to find a wedding dress in Oxford on the day after Christmas. Due to limited options, she was stuck with a fluffy beige jumper dress from Benetton. "I looked so atrocious, I knew he must really love me," she said later. Their marriage took place at the Westgate registry office in Oxford, which was followed by an informal reception for about 50 people at The Bear Hotel in Woodstock and a honeymoon in the south of France.

Over 30 years and 3 kids later, they are still together. What's their secret? Aside from spending a lot of time apart ("You can support someone, but you have to go off and have your own life," Yasmin has said, adding that she would have "murdered him" if they had to live out of each other's pockets), it is love, dedication, hard work, and laughter that has kept them together. Yasmin cites her parents' relationship as an important influence in her life: "[They] stayed together through thick and thin for 44 years. I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly, and that taught me not to be frightened of it. In retrospect, that had a big impact on me, because throwing in the towel at the first hurdle has never been on the agenda for me." As Simon said a few years ago, "I guess I'm really lucky that I picked somebody really bloody good in the first place. She's great fun, fantastic, beautiful, and we laugh all the time. It's not always easy at all. But I really want to stay married for life. People are led to believe that if it's not perfect then just ditch it and change it these days. That's a f***ing mistake."

the supermodel

Along with Cindy, Christy, Gail, and Naomi, Yasmin ruled the runways and fashion magazines during the late 1980s and early 1990s. They were part of the original girl gang of supermodels who hung out together, suppported each other, and formed lifelong friendships. "There was always a great vibe backstage; they'd have to separate us to stop us laughing," she recalls. Yasmin dispels the stereotype of the modelling world being glamorous, left with memories of spending the whole time working - at the peak of her career, Yasmin spoke of doing 4-5 jobs a day, 7 days a week and travelling to 8 countries within the span of 2 weeks. "I’m not sure we lived the life that people think we did. We were all just working really hard. You’re in a grim hotel room, exhausted, never having eaten enough, your insecurities being fed again and again. But when we did the shows together we had great fun. We were exhausted and needed to prop each other up – and that, I really enjoyed."

Yasmin has been lucky to be able to work with some of the most incredible photographers and designers in the world. She has spoken of particular fondness of Arthur Elgort ("somebody I really admire because he experiments all the time"), Azzedine Alaïa ("a rebel and he did things his way") and Karl Lagerfeld ("I think people use the word inspiring very loosely these days, but he is an extraordinary human being").

What continues to bring Yasmin back to modelling after 30 years is her passion for the industry. She loves being able to create images, to play different characters, and to be part of a creative team with inspirational, talented people.

a model mother

Yasmin's family is her absolute pride and joy. With husband Simon, she has 3 daughters: Amber Rose (born 25 August 1989), Saffron Sahara (25 September 1991), and Tallulah Pine (10 September 1994). The product of creative parents, all three work in the arts - Amber is a fellow model and DJ, Saffron is a singer and musician with a BA in music performance, and Tallulah works as a booker in Yasmin's London agency, Models 1. They form a very tight-knit, supportive family unit in a home full of love, laughter, music, and mayhem.

Sharing their southwest London home is a number of pets. Two kitten sisters were the first fluffy additions to the household. They were soon joined by 3 dogs - chihuahua Tinka, pug Luigi, and Boston terrier Cecil. Yasmin is enamoured with her dogs, stating that they have transformed her life for the better.

the designer

Yasmin has always had an appreciation for clothing, details, fabrics, and finishings; and design has allowed her to unleash these longstanding passions into a personal, creative outlet. While she has had a hand in making small contributions to pieces of jewellery or clothing that were sold to raise funds for charity, her first true foray into fashion design came in fall 2009, as the result of an invitation from entrepreneur Philip Green to design a capsule collection for British retailer Wallis. As she does with most endeavors, Yasmin became fully engrossed in all aspects of the process, making decisions on everything from fabrics to cuts to accents. The collection, which reflected her own bent for comfortable, rock'n'roll chic with a classic flair, sold out quickly, several pieces within hours. She found the greatest reward to see other people wearing the clothes that she designed and making them their own.

Two years later, she created a line of dog walking accessories for independent British brand Mungo & Maud, a natural extension of her love for her dogs.

It wasn't until 2016 that she came forward with another clothing collection, this time for Winser London, a British company that she has represented since its launch. It was primarily inspired by classic cars and the adventurous spirit of female pioneers of auto racing, combined with her desire to take endow vintage style with a modern, sporty vibe. It was very important for her to make comfortable, luxurious garments with fine details that can last - and that allow the wearer to feel special from the moment she puts them on.

the humanitarian

Throughout her career, Yasmin has made it a priority to use her voice as someone in the public eye to make a difference in the world around us and in the lives of those in need. As a result, she is highly supportive of organizations that work to promote the causes that are closest to her heart, particularly those that benefit the environment, children, and people suffering from cancer.

The environment has been a longstanding concern to Yasmin, and being involved in associations that aim to protect the world's dwindling natural resources has made her feel like she can make an impact in the face of issues that, as an individual, she has felt powerless against. In late 2015, she and daughter Amber participated in charity rickshaw race Travels To My Elephant to benefit Elephant Family and Quintessentially Foundation, for which they raised £31,694.72 in donations, over three times their original goal, towards helping save Asian elephants from extinction. She has also served as an ambassador to the Blue Marine Foundation and filmed an informational video for them to speak out against destruction of the world's oceans.

Since many children can lack a voice to advocate for their own care, Yasmin backs a number of organizations that are able to lend them a hand. She and longtime friend Lisa B co-founded Mothers4Children, which was launched in 2009 to raise funds for select charities through the combined efforts of the women who form the organization. Their primary message was that surrounding children with love and attention will allow them to flourish and have unlimited potential. The Really Really Great Garage Sale, held in 2009 and 2010, raised over £100,000 for causes supported by M4C.

After her mother passed away from breast cancer, Yasmin has been involved with groups that are devoted to raising funds and awareness to fight all forms of cancer. Her personal link to the issue enables her to provide informed advice to those suffering from the disease and their families. She has been the face of the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign on multiple occasions and attended recent fundraisers benefiting the Gynaecological Cancer Fund and Future Dreams.

the car enthusiast

Ever since she was a little girl, when her family used to take road trips from Oxfordshire to Iran, Yasmin has been fascinated by cars. She credits her father with nurturing this early interest: "My father has always loved cars, not only aesthetically and mechanically, but also for the simple reason that cars enable you to go on adventures." In addition to the spirit of adventure offered by cars, two other qualities she admires about vintage autos in particular are their unique design and evocation of a bygone era, when life moved at a more leisurely pace and people held onto their cars for generations as a cherished treasure. She describes herself as "possessed" with classic car magazines: "They are like car porn, and I just drool over them." In her youth, she was also a huge fan of Formula 1; a present-day passion that she has transmitted to her family. She has been a fixture at Silverstone and the British Grand Prix and is friends with notable names in auto racing Paul and Mark Stewart and Flavio Briatore.

Over the years, Yasmin has judged in many vintage auto shows, including the Louis Vuitton Classic, Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d'Elégance at Goodwood, Cartier Travel With Style Concours d'Elégance, and Villa d'Este Concorso d'Eleganza. She has also been fortunate enough to sit behind the wheel of some exceptional vintage beauties in the Corthay Excellence Run, "It's All About the Girls" rally, and the rigorous Mille Miglia, in which she was one of the few women to participate, with co-pilot David Gandy. She's said that the favorite car she's ever driven was the 1928 Bugatti T40 (which she is pictured astride in this photo): "You can't go fast, so you have the time to go slow and enjoy everything. Time to smell the roses as they say."

 

Yasmin is beloved by many in the fashion industry

Roland Mouret, designer: "It's an incredible thing to watch your designs be transformed into something so much bigger when worn by a figure like Yasmin. She wears a dress with such confidence and brings such power to the images. She's a strong woman, inside and out. She never let the fashion industry change her, and has stayed true to herself throughout her incredible career, which makes her an absolute pleasure to work with."

Christopher Kane, designer: "Yasmin always looks amazing. She is striking, impeccable, and extremely elegant; she never fails to impress with her sophistication."

Betty Jackson, designer: "She is flawless, incredibly professional and has great manners."

Philip Treacy, milliner: "Yasmin has one of the most beautiful faces in the world. We always give her the most difficult hats because she makes them look effortless, casual. And she is the least complicated of models. She's so nice, you want to squeeze her in all the time."

Arthur Elgort, photographer: "Yasmin Le Bon is an editor's dream. She looks great in clothes, and if you need her to imitate someone like Jackie O, she always knows exactly what you mean. You just have to find her inner-self and that charm always comes through."

Rankin, photographer: "I can't say enough about Yasmin - she is just breathtaking. She gets more and more beautiful every day. Timeless and gorgeous!"

Alistair Blair, designer: "I think Yasmin has a natural, in-bred elegance."

Antonio Berardi, designer: "Completely stylish and beautiful. She still oozes supermodel style."

Stéphane Rolland, couturier: "Yasmin is, above all else, an encounter with beauty. Her integrity and principles are contrasted by a delightful rock 'n' roll vibe. She is so British but at the same time maintains that sparkling Persian charm."

Michael Kors, designer: "[Yasmin] gets more and more beautiful every moment... she was really always one of my favorite [models]."

With a variety of different looks throughout her career, Yasmin is a true chameleon!