Le Bon Vie
Pacha July 2006

interview: Pete Tong


Also this month, it's a delight to see Yasmin Le Bon on the cover of Pacha. As one would expect with a model of her standing, she's been a hard catch for us, but we're proud to see her photographed by Pacha, courtesy of our special Pete Tong interview. Tong started his career as a print journalist, and while we're sure this is not what he wants to do again on a regular basis, he cares enough about Ibiza to want to spend time talking to the characters who embody everything that the island is about. Watch out for some in-depth interviews with some of clubland's most interesting characters in issues to come. As for Yasmin, she reads as dangerous as she looks. Enjoy the moment with her while you have the chance.

Last summer Yasmin Le Bon was all over Ibiza when she fronted Moet's swanky ad campaign. She was the face of the island, and the champagne brand couldn't have made a more appropriate choice. In true Ibiza style, Yasmin's feeling a bit weary when she talks to Pacha on Monday lunchtime. Although she's mother to daughters Amber (16), Saffron (14) and Tallulah (11), Yasmin isn't ashamed to admit she had a late Saturday night. After all she has been living the high life with Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon since they married in 1985.

Age doesn't seem to bother Yasmin, or affect her career. The model is frequently named in best-dressed lists, most recently in Tatler (4) and Harper's Bazaar (8). Since the mid-'80s she's regularly appeared on the covers of Elle and Vogue, walked down the runway for big hitters including Armani, Versace and Calvin Klein and fronted ad campaigns for Hennes, Harrods and Fashion Targets Breast Cancer. While work might dry up for most models when they hit their mid twenties, it just keeps coming for the part-Iranian beauty. Last year American Elle put her on the cover of their 21st-birthday supplement, 20 years after she'd first graced it. And this season Karl Lagerfeld persuaded her to do Chanel's catwalk show, quashing her doubts that she would feel like a grandmother. "Someone needs to represent the 40-plus lot who don't want to grow up," she laughs. "I definitely don't want to grow old gracefully, to hell with that."

Life for Simon and Yasmin in Ibiza really is like that Rio video. They both love hopping on and off boats and socialize like mad. "I go to a lot of house parties," she says. "It is somewhere where I let my hair down - not that I have any problem letting my hair down anyway. I never professed to be any sort of saint or angel. I like a good time."

When did you first visit Ibiza? "On a shoot for an English fashion magazine 22 years ago. I didn't discover the island properly until four years ago. Now we come on a regular family holiday."

What do you think of the club scene? "I haven't been to many because I'm not much of a club bunny these days. Saying that I do like to shake my arse, just not in huge impersonal places. I like the vibe at Underground."

Do your daughters go clubbing on the island? "This could be the year but the less said about that the better. They've been to a few bars."

Are your daughters going to follow Simon into the music industry? "Music runs in both our families. Both my mum and dad are very musical and I've played classical guitar for ten years, as well as a bit of piano. Whether they want to do anything with it is up to them."

Have you ever recorded with Simon? "No, but I wouldn't rule anything out. I ask him about my work and he asks me about his, we're a partnership. We tend to bring our work home with us."

How have you coped with the success of the reformed Duran Duran? "It's been full on. There's been so much business to do getting the band back together and on the road. But Simon never stopped making albums or touring. It was just stepping up a gear or three."

Simon's into his boats. What do you like doing in Ibiza? "I like them too, but it pisses me off when he makes me be first mate on his speedboat. I don't like jumping around, stubbing my toe and dropping the anchor while he's just schmoozing by the wheel. I'm going to put it right this year!"

Where do you go on your boat? "I'm the worst person to ask. I just go with anyone, anywhere. I don't like making decisions on holiday. But I love jumping off the boat in Formentera and swimming for lunch."

Would you visit Ibiza in the winter if there was a direct flight from the UK? "Yes, I've been in March and it's gorgeous - the weather is cooler and there are less people around."

Have you done many shoots on Ibiza? "Not since I first came here. The light is beautiful at Easter time and it lends itself to shoots. There are some really nice villas and coastlines and it's easy to get to. I've never stayed in a hotel in Ibiza but I think there used to be a lack of good ones. That's always a bit of an issue on a shoot. You need a few creature comforts."

How has Ibiza changed? "I can see a lot more construction. If the infrastructure of the island can maintain that then it's a good thing but maybe I'd feel different if I lived on the island."

You'd consider living in Ibiza? "Every year I think about it but I'm such a lazy arse I never get on and do anything. Instead we rent villas with a bunch of friends and their kids. It's a bit of a hotel scenario with people coming in and out. There's always entertainment - new people to victimize and hang with. Don't get me wrong, I love my family but I'd really had enough of going on holiday with my husband and my kids."

Why do celebrities visit Ibiza? "They go everywhere, don't they? It's the social aspect that is really attractive. You know you'll hook up with friends."

Do you get involved in the spiritual side of the island? "I keep meaning to do yoga but there's always something else going on. I'm actually a little bit too competitive for yoga. Every time I do it I think 'If that bitch can get her leg up there then I'm going to do it too' and then nurse an injury for three months. "

What's the wildest thing you've ever done in Ibiza? "I don't think I could ever have any of that printed!"

Which bit of the island do you like best? "The water is fantastic in the north. It seems fresher. I like the vibe up there."

Do you watch sunsets? "I always mean to but end up missing them. But there's nothing like watching a sunset out at sea."

Last year you were all over the island in that Moet & Chandon ad. How did you feel about it? "That was more global than I'd anticipated. But it was a nice association - champagne and myself go together well. The art director was superb and I've worked with the photographer Patrick Demarchelier for years. He's such a professional - funny, quick and makes it looks really effortless. It was one of those dream shoots, even if I did have an exceptional hangover."

What does your Ibiza wardrobe include? "Cashmere jumpers – I have no idea why. I never have enough bikinis, especially with three daughters. We're always fighting over the same one no matter how many we take with us.

Do you buy clothes in Ibiza? "Last year I found a really cool wine-colour dress. There's a paparazzi shot of me wearing it in London. That will be coming again this year. I try not to shop too much because it's a holiday but when I walk around Ibiza Town in the evenings I usually find something cute. I always trash heels in Ibiza. These people spend all this money on villas but they can't build a bloody decent road up to it, can they? One year I had to leave three pairs of Jimmy Choos behind, totally wrecked. But it hasn't stopped me wearing them. I just look for more robust pairs and find out what the driveway is like."

Do you know much about the history of the island? "I tried once but I've forgotten it. I drink too much rose on the island and the grey cells get zapped. At my ripe old age I don't have many grey cells left."

What next for Yasmin? "I'm not very good at making plans or being in control. It's just a hopeless case for us, we live a spontaneous life and I don't see how it's going to change. But I'm not worried. I'll get a proper job one day. When my daughters start writing their CVs and going for work experience they'll probably be doing it with their mother."

Most models your age have stopped getting work. "I know, I've been waiting for that to happen. I'm like an athlete in my 40s. A lot of models give up before the business gives them up because it's an emotionally draining, unpredictable job."

Why have you kept modeling? "It's the only job I know and really enjoy it because I have perspective through giving up many times to have babies. Now I determine who I work with."

What's been the favourite campaign of your career? "I don't know. I'm still searching. If I thought I'd done a huge amount of great work I wouldn't still be doing it. I've got a room full of terrible pictures and that spurs me on."


“Jade Jagger has brought a lot to the island. She's lifted the style and brought a great social aspect to it. She has the coolest parties too.”

“Underground. I like going to chilled-out places and Underground isn't really a club, it's a bar. But you can still dance and they play good records.”

“Boats. I love sailing boats but this season we shall mostly be wearing our speedboat, a Riva Aquamarina Special. She's just been fixed.”

“Cars. Ibiza is the wrong place to have a nice car. Never go for a convertible, always get a hard top and air-conditioning. Once we rented one that had staples all over it and looked like Frankenstein's car. It didn't matter what battering it got from us.”

“Food. I tend to be on a heavy liquid diet - a lot of rose. I'm a salad fiend. Boquerones - those big anchovies - are fantastic. They make your breath smell like hell but who cares?”

“Clothes. I always have to remind myself how hot it can get. Not that that matters - take a good pair of scissors and you can always cut things off, which is what I ended up doing last year.”


Las Banderas. "I love Leah's place. She's got a fab restaurant and hotel on the quiet side of Formentera."

Juan Y Andrea. "It can get really busy but I love being on the sandy beach and I've always had really good food there."

Las Dos Lunas. "I love all the flowers and being under the stars. It's a really cool place and I always end up getting there really late."

The Italian place near San Jose that has a white tent-shaped roof. "A really plain Spanish place with benches and wooden tables where they only serve meat. You can't book; they just give you a seat if they have one. I'm not much of a meat eater but the food is fantastic."