An Interview With Yasmin Le Bon 6 November 2000

author: Karen Kay


A few seasons away from the catwalks, British supermodel Yasmin le Bon is making a welcome return to London Fashion Week after signing an exclusive deal with designer Matthew Williamson and his sponsor, Ariel Essential.

Yasmin modelled on Sunday evening at a trendy art gallery in London's Brick Lane. In an exclusive interview at Matthew's West End studio, the 35-year-old mother of three told me she is looking forward to strutting her stuff on the runways again.

"I absolutely adore Matthew's clothes and he is such a nice designer to work with, it makes the job a doddle. I wear lots of his designs off-duty, so it's really nice that he's asked me to appear in the show." Having worked all over the world, Yasmin is now in the fortunate position of being able to pick and choose the work she does, and command a substantial sum of money for appearing in a designer's show. Despite being at the top of her profession for nearly twenty years, she retains a down-to-earth attitude to life that belies her position as one of the world's most recognised faces.

Happy families
She paints a rosy picture of life at the south London home of the le Bon family - and you know it's not an image she's contrived for the media. Her marriage to Duran Duran frontman Simon (he fell for her after spotting her on a magazine cover back in the Eighties, and tracked her down through a contact at Models One, Yasmin's agency) is widely recognised as one of the most stable relationships in showbusiness, and the couple dote on their young family. Yasmin tells me that she has just taken her youngest daughter Tallulah and a group of school friends on a birthday treat to Chessington World of Adventures.

Model mother
So what are her dreams for the trio of daughters who have clearly inherited their mother's natural beauty? "I wouldn't encourage them to pursue a career in the modelling industry," she says emphatically. "It's a tough business, and it's getting tougher. I've been really lucky in my career: I've travelled all over the globe and met some wonderful people, but it's an adult world, not a place for children."

She clearly feels passionately about the business that has made her fortune, but is cautious with her advice to teenagers eager to follow in her elegant footsteps. "If you are beautiful at 14 or 15, you will be even more beautiful two or three years down the line. My advice is: WAIT. Finish your education, and wait until you are emotionally and mentally ready to deal with everything the fashion industry can throw at you, which is a lot. It's exciting and rewarding, but can also take its toll if you are to young to cope with it."

Skimping on style
So, what about those designers and magazines that continue to promote the use of schoolgirl models? "I think the fashion industry has a certain responsibility to reflect the diversity of women out there: we should be seeing images of women of all ages, colours and sizes. If I look at fashion magazines and see images of 15-year-old girls wearing skimpy outfits, I can't relate to that, and I'm in the business! What hope is there for all the other women in the world?!?"

You said it, Yasmin!