At Home With Yasmin
We gave supermodel Yasmin Le Bon and her three daughters a sneak preview of the M&S Christmas fashion and food ranges. Here's what they thought...
note: keep in mind that this is a promotion for M&S and therefore is quite biased in favor of their products! (Yasmin may not even shop there!) I've not included any of the bits that laud M&S and have nothing to do with Yasmin.
She regularly graces the catwalks of the world, from Paris and Milan to London and New York, Yet if you believe that Yasmin Le Bon wears only designer-label clothes, you're a long way from the truth. It's an image that the refreshingly down-to-earth Yasmin laughs off.
"Who can afford to wear designer clothes all the time?" she says. "Even if I had the money I wouldn't do it. What's the point when there's so much on offer in high-street stores?"
During a rare break between modelling assignments and a family holiday in Cyprus, Yasmin took time to try some of the new M&S winter fashions. She was joined by three young models-in-the-making, her delightful daughters Amber, nine, Saffron, seven and Tallulah, five. Yasmin and the girls were all impressed with the clothes selected for them by fashion editor Sarah Gowland.
"I really love these clothes. This devoré dress is fabulous - such a wonderful colour. I'd definitely wear it," says Yasmin emphatically. "And the price is good too. But the real beauty with this dress is its versatility - you could wear it in winter with a wrap or in summer with strappy sandals."
Yasmin's daughters charm the crew on the photo shoot, but they're never far from Mum's watchful gaze. She resists pleas for a can of cola. "No, just water," she says firmly. They obey without a murmur. "But they don't always listen to me," she says, echoing a sentiment familiar to many mums. "They took far more notice of me when they were younger..."
Yasmin's next outfit is a pair of black satin trousers with a claret velour cowl-neck top. "These trousers are so comfortable," says Yasmin. "I love the whole outfit! It would be great for relaxing around the house on Christmas Day."
Christmas is pretty typical in the Le Bon household. "When we're in this country it's always very traditional, just me and Simon and the kids at home. Simon and I tend to split the cooking between us. Then it's too much food, too much wine, and generally feeling too full afterwards!"
It's refreshing to discover that, when it comes to her wardrobe, Yasmin shares the same worries as the rest of us. "As a working mum, I love the fact that so many M&S clothes are washable," she says. "I remember buying a dress that was a real bargain at £20 - but when I got it home, I realised it was dry-clean only. You think to yourself, "Hang on, it'll be ruined after I've had it cleaned a couple of times."
She's also a fan of the children's clothes. "This range is great - lovely easy-to-wear styles. The girls get something from M&S every season."
As the day progresses, the girls alternate between quietly playing with their toys and charging around, squealing and giggling. Yasmin has an occasional word in their ears when things become too boisterous. "How many chocolate biscuits have you had?" she asks Amber as she hovers over the tin.
"I think that's enough, don't you," says Mum firmly. Amber, clutching her Scary Spice doll in one hand, nods reluctantly. "She's been a bit upset about the Spice Girls, haven't you Amber? Ever since Geri left..." Amber looks momentarily sad. But she soon perks up when asked about her favourite music.
"I love Aqua, Abba and Duran Duran, of course!"
Her mum loves shopping, but her busy lifestyle means Yasmin doesn't have as much time for it as she'd like. And she admits that, like most mums, she'd rather not take the girls shopping with her.
"They're really good, but it's much easier on my own. I've made some major fashion mistakes when the girls have been with me. Mind you, I've made a few when I've been on my own too! One was a pair of Versace flares. The black ones were dynamite but for some reason I went for the red ones. Nothing in my wardrobe matched and I only wore them once! I sold them eventually."
Husband Simon likes to do his own shopping. "He'll buy his essentials, like T-shirts, from M&S. Sometimes when I shop I buy him presents, but not too often - I don't want him to get used to it!"
In photos Yasmin is stunning - in real life she's even more beautiful. She's barely aged over the past decade and looks much younger than her 33 years. But she's very self-effacing and gets flustered when complimented on her youthful looks.
"My skin isn't really down to me - it's definitely inherited," she says. "I do believe that sleep is vital, especially as you get older. But I don't say, 'I have to get my eight hours or I'm no good for anything.' Just getting what you need is important.
"I also believe your appearance has a lot to do with your approach to life - the way you deal with stress. What keeps you young is an ability to be adaptable."
Yasmin makes sure that she and the family enjoy a healthy diet. But, reassuringly, she isn't averse to the odd treat. "There's no harm in a glass of wine or a bar of chocolate if it makes you happy," she laughs.
The Le Bons are big fans of M&S food. "It's very good quality," says Yasmin. "It's more expensive but you buy less and it always gets finished. M&S has really good cuts of meat and fish - and the children love the chicken Kievs."
We took a selection of the latest party food for Yasmin and the girls to sample. And their verdict? "Fantastic," says Yasmin. "The pastry tartlets are delicious - I love the different toppings. And the kids love the duck spring rolls with hoi sin sauce - they've eaten loads! The mint chocolates look great too but I must admit that I haven't dared try one. I'm a real chocoholic, and if I have one I'll eat the lot!"
So how does she juggle her career and motherhood? "Having three children is definitely hard work," she says. "But I'm very lucky that with modelling you have the freedom to fit things around your schedule. I don't like to go away for more than a few days at a time, but the more you stop and think about everything you've been doing, the less you manage to get done. You have to be relaxed about things."
And will her daughters follow her on to the catwalk? "I try to make them realise it's not a career you can rely on," says Yasmin thoughtfully. "Modelling chooses you rather than you choosing it. But if they get a chance, I would never put them off. After all, it's been great for me..."