Yasmin Le Bon: "I'm unphotogenic and can't do holiday snaps"
The Telegraph 3 February 2016

interview: Victoria Moss


She might have thirty years of professionally getting dressed under her carefully cinched belt, but Yasmin Le Bon, 51, still insists she is unphotogenic. ďTo pose in front of a camera for a living, is such an odd thing to do. Iím not a poser by natureĒ she says.

In spite of this, after being scouted in her hometown of Oxford aged 17, sheís appeared on myriad covers of Vogue and Elle magazines. For the latter she was the inaugural cover girl for both the American and British launch editions Ė which was how her husband, Duran Duranís Simon Le Bon first saw and fell in love with her. His people talked to her people and...

Yasmin Parveneh as she then was, has worked for every major fashion house, including Chanel, Dior, and currently, Giorgio Armani, fronting the designerís 'New Normalí campaign alongside Eva Herzigova, Stella Tennant and Nadja Auermann.

Not surprisingly, beneath her natural self-deprication, she has a professional approach: ďIím not sure Iím going to admit to anybody what kind of homework I do. There are little tricks of the trade, if anybody saw me out of context and didnít know what I was doing, theyíd probably have me sectioned there and then.Ē

As rock star wife models go (she married Le Bon in 1985, and they have 3 daughters, Amber, 26 Ė also a model Ė Saffron, 24, and Tallulah, 21), she is perhaps one of the most cheeringly down to earth: those ravishingly exotic yet warm looks which propelled her into the fashion firmament have endured (entirely, she still looks barely a day over 30, her clear faced youthfulness is still apparent Ė if she has had any tweaks they are very clever, subtle ones), her approachability resonates through her pictures.

Whilst in real life she has an ever expanding family, with husband, daughters and their various boyfriends all living at the family home in south London. And beyond that, sheís cultivated a style that is covetably current without falling into fashion victim territory, and is a brilliant example of how to maintain your style kudos at any age. We have noted her as a fan of a great dress (favourites are Preen and Christopher Kane) and timelessly cool tailoring Ė see the successful employment of a wide leg trouser. Surely she is ripe for some sort of 'national model treasureí accolade. Here are her life (style) lessons:

Always play to your strengths

Iím really good at my job when Iím working, but Iím terrible when Iím not working. As far as Iím concerned anything that isnít a proper photo-shoot isnít working. I am unphotogenic and canít do holiday snaps or red carpet.

Look at your strong points, and what youíre proud of and focus on those. I just deflect everything with an enormous grin because I always feel like an idiot when someone points a camera at me.

Embrace your choices

Iíve always loved clothes and designers. I used to buy Vogue when I was 13. The great thing about fashion is that you donít have to wear the same thing everyday. Thatís the beauty of it, the whole psychology of deciding you want to be someone else. Itís those tiny innate decisions about whether you put on a pair of trousers or a body con dress that give you a different perspective. As women we have so much choice, I do feel sorry for guys, having to wear trousers everyday. Saying that, Iím not about to start sharing any of my frocks with Simon.

Be confident to wear what you feel happy in

I never know what to wear, I get it really wrong. But I dress for myself. I think youíve got to do it with confidence. I donít really care about fitting in, because Iíve never really fitted in anyway. If you love something, you should go with it.

Roll with the changes

My body has changed so much which has really had an effect on my decisions. I have boobs for the first time, which is quite an extraordinary thing to deal with. Itís happened over the past 5 years. Itís really strange. I spent my life quite happily looking like a boy, but certain necklines donít work on me now. I love looking quite masculine and androgynous but itís becoming harder!

Keep to your favourites

I am completely obsessed with two pairs of shoes. One is a pair of Chanel slingbacks that have a really sensible inch high heel. Oh my God, they are so gorgeous. The other ones are my white fridge freezers by Celine. They look like Iíve got a pair of chest freezers on my feet. Theyíre so ugly, but I love them. I end up buying something from Christopher Kane every season, and Iíve got a lot of Preen, I canít stop buying it. Itís my guilty pleasure. They do the easiest things to wear which make you feel great. Their formula works rather well.

Sharing is caring

My wardrobe gets raided a fair amount by Amber. I did try and remind her the other day that she needs to invest a lot more, because this sharing thing should be a two way street. But we all cross over. My daughter Saffron and I both went into American Apparel the other day and brought the same jumper but in different colours.

Avoid asking difficult questions

I never ask any of them what they think of how I look before leaving the house. Being family theyíre far too honest. Iíve learnt the hard way. And Simonís only opinion is that I look lovely. He knows that whatever he says I will do entirely the opposite thing. Heís worked that out.

A great coat can conceal anything

Thereís nothing wrong with going to the airport in your pyjamas. I have done, many times quite happily. At JFK (airport in New York) once, I was going on a night flight and turned up wearing menís ones from Charvet in Paris. The lady at security turned round to her colleague, laughing and said ďis she wearing pyjamas?!Ē Knowing full well I could hear her. I said, ďYes darling I am, theyíre French cotton and theyíre wonderful!Ē But if you take a great coat and a classic pair of aviator sunglasses with you, you can hide anything.

Work out what youíre really cut out for

Modelling is a weird profession which only suits a very few. Itís not necessarily anything to do with what you look like. Being successful is about being there at the right time, in the right place with the right face. Itís very strange. You have to have the type of personality to deal with the complete rejection you get all the time.

It can make you much stronger but if youíre not already quite resilient it can definitely lead to insecurities. But I think a lot of people work out that maybe theyíre not cut out for it, which is why there has always been a reasonable turnover of talent.

Seize every opportunity you get

I was happy for Amber to model. But we didnít let her know until she finished her A-levels that it was on the table. Then it became her choice. But sheís a really grounded down to earth girl, her head is not easily swayed by these things. My only advice to young people is to do as much as you can. Take every opportunity youíve got, thereís plenty of time to sleep later.

Make sure youíre having fun

Karlís extraordinary to be around. I think people use the word inspiring very loosely these days, but he is an extraordinary human being.

For the Chanel show, I always wanted to have my fittings with Linda Evangelista because she would be terribly naughty and mouthy. It was almost like a movie scene. Grace Coddington would always be there, and a whole bunch of people would come and visit him and just sit, chat and play music. Linda and I would be fighting over the outfits. Sheíd say, ďI think you should wear this oneĒ and Iíd go ďI think thatís much more you Linda.Ē Karl would always humour us, even though obviously he would know exactly what he wanted to put us in. But we would do this dance all the time. It was a lot of fun back then.