Yasmin Le Bon on the Duran Duran video, her dream campaign & unexciting editorials!
Grazia UK 9 November 2011

interview: Jessica Vince


It was in May that we first heard the rumours, on Friday we saw the teasers and last night, we finally watched the full shebang. Yes, Grazia Daily was among a select few at The Savoy Hotel for the screening of Duran Duran's new music video 'Girl Panic'. But this ain't any old music video - THIS stars five of the fashion world's biggest names. ‘We had a shortlist of supermodels we'd like to star in the video and they were very hard to pin down,' Nick Rhodes revealed before unveiling the video. 'But when you do pin down a supermodel, it's very satisfying.'

And the results are incredible. Basically, the video is everything we'd hoped for - glossy, glamorous and packed with British cheekiness, not to mention lashings of cheekbones. It’s a brilliant self-parody that sees the band poking fun at their glam rock image, opening with tongue-in-cheek lines like, 'People don't teach you how to be famous' or 'I thought it'd be kinda cool to be in a band’. Snort. And to remind us why Duran Duran became known as ‘the prettiest boys in rock,’ they’ve only got Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Eva Herzigova and Yasmin Le Bon to play them. What a coup.

Ms Campbell's acting chops are surprisingly impressive as she takes on lead vocalist Simon Le Bon's swagger. She looks perfectly at home taking centre stage and enthusiastically singing into the mic dressed in a sharp scarlet suit, chunky jewels and feather-cut wig. Could this be the re-start of her singing career, we wonder? 'When those girls do something, they do it 200% so she totally threw herself into it,' Yasmin told us last night. 'We hardly ever get to go quite this far so it’s a dream come true to have the best of both worlds.'

As John Taylor, Cindy makes the leggiest bassist, like, ever, working a leather suit and swishing her shiny hair while rocking that guitar like a pro. Eva plays the aforementioned Nick on keyboards, first appearing bare-footed and wandering around London in a gold sequined jumpsuit, feather coat and red lipstick. Helena is drummer Roger Taylor, demanding champagne and lolling about the hotel hallways in a tutu. And as for Yasmin, she's an anonymous guitarist, an amalgamation of various band members who've been and gone.

But at yesterday's screening, Mrs Le Bon was anything but anonymous. She arrived wearing a forest green velvet blazer and black flares in homage to the video, with her ombré locks loose in a suitably rockerish stylee. ‘It was like the old days,’ she exclusively told us of the two-day shoot. ‘It was amazing to all be together but getting to play a rock and roll band – and have fun doing it – was something else.’ So what was her one highlight? ‘When we were all in the round and performing the song, I kept looking at the girls and every time I caught Eva’s eye, she really cracked me up because she looked so fantastic.’ And did you know Yasmin has a little-known talent? 'Yes, I can actually play the guitar!’ she says. When Grazia Daily suggests the girls could form an actual real girl band, she laughs. ‘I maaay have missed my moment. I’m not quite sure about that – but what a thought!'

As for the incredible outfits in the video – Dolce & Gabbana corsets, glitzy frocks under fur gillets, mega heels and Eighties-esque suits – the 47-year-old tells us it took a lot of team work. 'There were so many girls to style and there isn’t one girl in that video who doesn’t look absolutely the business, so we all worked together with the stylists because obviously we need to feel comfortable in what we’re wearing.' It must've been pretty handy having Dolce & Gabbana on hand, playing fashion editors in the video? 'Stefano and Domenico had had some dinner then came piling into the shoot to pull our corsets together. They threw themselves totally into character and it was hilarious.'

So considering Yasmin has been married to Simon for over 25 years, why was it this Duran Duran video that she's chosen to star in? 'I’d never been allowed to before!' she reveals. 'I actually didn’t want to be in it to begin with. Then I thought it’d be funny to play the manager – if anyone knows what being a rock wife is like, playing the manager would be very funny. But I stepped in because I was an integral part of getting everyone together. Plus I was the only one who could play the guitar! It was actually the first time for all of us because a lot of my friends have been in Duran Duran videos but we were the five that got away.'

So aside from videos, if YLB could star in a fashion campaign, which one would it be? 'I’ve always loved Gucci campaigns. Freida and I are from the same era so for us, the Seventies are supercool and there’s some of that glamour and disco in the Gucci campaigns. I actually find a lot of campaigns are stronger than most editorial pages in magazines. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to get good editorial these days – something that counts and pushes the boundaries.' Why do you think that is? 'Because a lot of editors are not completely free to style in the way they want to because they’re constrained by advertisers. It’s not like the old days. I remember being on a shoot and an editor took a pair of scissors to a Chanel skirt and chopped the bottom off to make it a mini. Can you imagine if someone did that nowadays and sent the skirt back and said, ‘I thought it looked better with four inches lopped off it’?! That would be the end! And that’s what made editorials more exciting than campaigns. These days, it’s just different.'