MOD Covers

Très Bon

Fashion icon, rock star wife and mother-of-three with an inspiring, unapologetic, attitude towards ageing, mindfulness and living well.
The MOD meets Yasmin Le Bon

Photography by Lucia O’Connor McCarthy • Fashion direction by Sally Matthews • Words by Elle Timms

Yasmin wears: Jacket by Rokh. Shirt by Rokh.

With a world-class modelling career spanning over 30 years, you could forgive Yasmin Le Bon a level of complacency when it comes to fashion shoots. Not so. “I still love it, and get excited by it, that collaboration. I learn something new every time, I’m comfortable with the pruning and the attention – that probably sounds terrible but I do, I love it.” She enthuses, and despite describing herself as someone who isn’t a natural poser, watching her work the camera is effortless. “It’s actually like a form of meditation, in a way.”

One of the globe’s highest earning supermodels during the 80s, Yasmin’s life is made up of the stuff of original Brit-pop legend. As the wife of Duran Duran’s lead singer Simon, with whom she has three daughters (Amber, 28, Saffron, 25, and Tallulah, 22), at 52-years-old she appears refreshingly low key in person. After breezing into The MOD’s London shoot politely earlier than call time, make-up free, upbeat and friendly, she makes sure to give a bright welcome to everyone involved, peppering conversations with jokes. Two small requests are made – an almond cappuccino and the suggestion of Bowie music to be played in the background, quietly referring to his tracks as, “The wallpaper of my life.” We concur on both choices, and from there on in it’s an open, easy atmosphere that lasts all day.

After being scouted in her hometown of Oxford in England aged just 17, Yasmin Parveneh – a maiden name derived from Iranian heritage on her father’s side – appeared on myriad magazine covers, and was a regular face for Vogue and Elle. For the latter, she debuted as the inaugural cover girl on both the American and British launch editions – which sparked her love story with Simon. He noticed her, his team spoke with hers, and an introduction was made between top model and 80s heartthrob – they’re currently living happily ever after in South London. Today, she’s often photographed on the city’s social and fashion scene with a timeless elegance, wearing layers and colour with flair.

Her career has meant crossing paths with almost every major fashion house: Azzedine Alaïa (“I loved his shows, they were such an event!”) Chanel, Dior, Giorgio Armani to name a few, and Yasmin appeared on the Haute Couture catwalk just five years ago, as Stephane Rolland’s finale – the coveted bridal gown which was fire engine red, a 50-kilo creation that needed two assistants. Today, she cites Preen By Thornton Bregazzi and Christopher Kane as go-to labels, particularly taking time to admire the tailoring of Blazé and Racil pieces during our shoot with the kind of appreciation only someone who has lived a life around fashion can do. She describes her personal approach to fashion as, “Too much of a magpie, anything a bit boho or rock-inspired always goes down well.”

Does she see a difference in the challenges models face now? “I feel sorry for them. The job is harder today, they are being asked to be so much – people want to know much more about you.” Her voice becomes serious. “It’s hard enough to be on top of your game, and as fit as an athlete, be aware of everything going on in the fashion world, travel a great deal, performing all day as well as managing clients marketing. It’s not something I am entirely happy about I must say, I’m glad I’m not part of that anymore.” We wonder what she thinks of her own daughter Amber following the same career path. “I haven’t had to give her any advice actually, she is a wonderful, kind, interested kind of girl. I am now much more of a friend to my daughters – the roles have reversed.”

Jumper by Rokh. Shirt by Ellery.

the-mod-the-modist-modest-fashion-yasmin-le-bon-cover-shoot-rejina-pyo-

Top by Rejina Pyo. Shirt by Ellery.

We need to have a healthier understanding of what ‘anti-ageing’ means

Blazer by Blazé. Jumpsuit by Merchant Archive.

Waistcoat by 3.1 Phillip Lim. Shirt by Joseph.

Yasmin refers to her children often in conversation, the in-jokes they share, the friends that are constantly appearing to stay on the sofa amongst the chaos at home, and she uses the girls’ ages as points of reference when telling stories of the past. When asked about her mothering style she quick to joke again, laughing, “I’m a nosy know-it-all!” The level of mutual adoration is clear, as is the fun that gets had.

Not one to be ruled by industry conventions, Yasmin speaks about her beauty rules with typical candour, “I’m not obsessed. I do everything I shouldn’t and nothing I should. I like to think I have a balanced view.” Although its current spotlight on the use (or more appropriately banning) of the phrase ‘anti-ageing’ can’t be ignored.

“It’s definitely wrong, this idea of being against ageing. I don’t have an issue with the exact phrase [being used in a beauty context] but I understand the viewpoint, we need to have a healthier association of what that means, and what is inevitably going to happen – I mean, enjoy it, embrace it, it’s another chapter and another part of your life.” It’s an approach she used when turning 50, a point of dread for a lot of people. For Yasmin it was met with nothing but celebration, “I had the most wonderful party thrown by the band [Duran Duran]. Let’s say that took the edge off!”

Shirt by Racil. Blazer by Racil. Bow Tie by Racil. Trousers by Joseph.

Jumper by Joseph. Blazer by Blazé. Trouser by Maison Rabih Kayrouz.

While life may sound perfect, she’s open about being familiar with the flip side of feeling low, and fiercely of the opinion that our social media consumption today is a factor to be controlled rather than letting yourself be controlled by it. “We didn’t have this non-stop communication channel that went both ways,” she says, referring to her catwalk heyday, “We just didn’t have that level of scrutiny. It’s not healthy. Being attached to a phone all day, Instagram, Facebook – it can lead to so much discontent. If you are prone to going through dark times, social media can really accentuate that.”

The first-hand experience of depression is something Yasmin shares with honesty. When she talks about the most influential women throughout her life it’s family members first (her grandmother, mother, sister, and mother-in-law, her daughters), and she’s lucky to have been surrounded by a network of support. “I don’t think it’s something that ever leaves you completely, it’s something you manage and learn to deal with.” Her coping mechanisms and advice for anyone going through the same are calmly relayed, “Seek out someone through a recommendation, someone that you can trust, go to talking therapy. Don’t be frightened to do that, and don’t feel guilty because you think your issues aren’t as worthy as others. It certainly helped me.” Professional, fun and a lesson in longevity – if life is a balancing act, she’s got it down.

the-mod-the-modist-modest-fashion-yasmin-le-bon-cover-shoot-ganni-joseph

Dress by Ganni. Trousers by Joseph.

I do everything I shouldn’t and nothing I should. I like to think I have a balanced view

Top by Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. Trouser by Roland Mouret.

Dress by Rejina Pyo. Coat by Adam Lippes.

the-mod-the-modist-modest-fashion-yasmin-le-bon-cover-shoot-rokh-joseph

Jacket by Rokh. Shirt by Rokh. Trouser by Joseph.

Model Yasmin Le Bon at Models 1
Make-up + manicure Kate Goodwin
Hair Keiichiro Hirano 
Fashion Assistant Anna Knott
Photo Assistants Craig Teunissen + Tom Donald
Production Nina Ross


More from The MOD...