Helena Christensen unveiled her third collection for Triumph yesterday (Getty)
There is really no better way to kick off London Fashion Week than a one-on-one with the eternally divine super model and all around super babe, Helena Christensen. The Danish model who has appeared in campaigns and runway shows for almost every single designer and even the odd music video swaggered into London town last night to launch her latest collection for the underwear supremoes, Triumph.
To celebrate the launch of her third collection for the brand, we were granted an interview with Helena and positioned in the Fenwick’s underwear department we were greeted by a lady who is not only a savvy business woman but someone who is every inch still as beautiful as when she first started out. Helena talked all about her fashion week survival tips (basically avoiding it at all costs), the highlights of her varied career, her views on nudity and she even gave us a crash course in modelling. Our Instagram selfies are about to take on a whole other level…
Josh Newis-Smith: So talk me through your latest collection for Triumph, what inspired you this time around?
Helena Christensen: There were two things that inspired me: the colours are inspired by the Danish weather and that last disappearing light at dusk, you know when the sun is almost sinking into the ocean and you see all those pink, lavender tones? Then at the same time how the ocean changes from a sort of a crystal clear turquoise into really dark night colour. In terms of shapes I wanted to create lingerie that wasn’t just for wearing under your clothes but could double as day wear, even evening wear. The body suit is the perfect example of this!
JNS: So you could wear it in da club?
HC: Exactly! You could just put a skirt on with a little jacket and you have evening wear! I was also keen to really enhance the feminine shape by sculpting the hips and creating a nice little waist. But beyond an aesthetic point of view I wanted to make sure it feels comfortable and holds you in the right places, creating a nice silhouette. You MUST try them!
JNS: Totally perfect for my Saturday night plans! Aside from me what kind of woman do you see wearing the collection?
HC: It would be nice if it was all kinds of women. You know, they could be the more sporty type wearing the elastic band pieces and then the more poetic type wearing the little lace numbers with the big sweater around, but preferably women of all ages and all shapes. It’s obviously not an easy task to create something that is really very personal because every woman is different so there’s a lot to take into consideration. The question is do we make shapes so they hold a bigger bosom or a smaller bosom? It’s been such a great learning curve as there’s lots of details that I never thought of before and until you start working with an actual lingerie company that has over a hundred years of experience, amazing craftsmanship and technology. In that regard it’s been very educational for me because now I don’t just look at it as ‘OK, it’s got to look beautiful,’ but it also needs to do something and do all the right things for the female shape. So combining those two things hopefully means there is a little bit of something for everyone.
The Spring/Summer range is broken into two mini collections, Dragonfly and Nightingale (Triumph)
JNS: If you could swap places with any model working today who would it be?
HC: Right now I’m pretty happy where I am because I’m doing just the amount of work that I like doing and it gives me time for other projects. Also at the moment I can do both modelling and photography and being inspired by both is awesome. By working with the people I do I still feel inspired by the business still so I wouldn’t want to trade places just yet! Perhaps in a year’s time I will look at someone who’s travelling to all of these amazing places, which is the best thing about my career and think I want to be you!
JNS: If you wouldn’t want to swop places then, who would you most like to photograph?
HC: There are so many girls I would like to photograph as there are so many interesting, beautiful and inspiring faces. I just did a project where I went around photographing about thirteen girls of all ages in their homes and they all had one thing in common they were being creative in one way or another as there was a jewellery designer, an actress, a founder of some face oil, a musician, all different kind of women. Just to spend that time with them and to do a portrait was really inspiring. To sit down, listen to them and watch them unfold was amazing! That’s one of my favourite things about being in this business.
JNS: If you could pick a model to shoot right now, who would be at the top of your list?
HC: That would be Andrea Diaconu. She is just so beautiful in her shots right now and I love her face. She has this mysterious look about her, but there’s so many!
Andrea Diaconu (left) is THE model inspiring Helena right now and the lady herself wearing Edun at the launch yesterday (Getty)
JNS: What would you say is the defining moment of your career?
HC: There were so many great and fortunately so many defining moments that it’ll be so hard to say. Almost every single Peter Lindbergh shoot and all the campaigns and work I did with Karl Lagerfeld are definitely up there. The Chris Isaak music video was obviously one of the very cathartic moments in my career because it still makes such an impact. But it’s funny because I look at all those moments and they almost blend in together because it was so hectic for such a long amount of time and it feels just like yesterday. It’s funny because I’ll still come across photos and think ‘OMG, I totally forgot about that,’ and it was an awesome trip and I love those pictures. It’s been super interesting and exciting and I’m still inspired.
JNS: Tell us more about the Chris Isaak, ‘Wicked Games’ video...
HC: I don’t even look at it and think that’s me in it, it’s almost like I see it as another girl from another time which in a way it is! I just see it as some other girl just moving around, doing her thing there on the beach.
JNS: If you could go into a music video now who’s video would you want to be in?
HC: I did one two days ago actually with the Danish singer, Oh Land! All of her music videos are all really inspiring and unique. We shot with a bunch of ballet kids and I played a ballet teacher. A strict one at that! There were all these 13 year olds putting in these incredible ballet performances.
Watch: Helena in Chris Isaak's 'Wicked Games' music video
JNS: What appeals to you about doing music videos?
HC: It’s just another very interesting thing to do, just being there with someone who makes amazing music and then working with a director who has a vision. Even music in itself is hugely inspiring and wonderful and it’s fun to be a part of a music video. In this case I said yes because I know her and I’ve been photographing her a lot so of course when Oh Land asked me to play a ballet teacher I jumped at the chance!
JNS: What are your fashion week survival tips? How do you get through fashion week as a model?
HC: (Laughs) My biggest tip is just don’t do it! They were so intense, I don’t even know how we did them! You know we were doing ten, twelve shows in a day plus the equal amount of fittings, starting at 6am in the morning and going to bed at 3am the next morning after your last fitting. Everyone looks upon it as a glamorous thing where you’re doing fashion shows, doing the catwalk and having partying. But it’s still work, intense work with a minimal amount of sleep, literally you’re on the go 24/7 for weeks on end. The job itself, walking up and down a catwalk is just very surreal in itself.
Flashback Friday: Helena has graced the runway countless times over the years (Getty)
JNS: You’ve done a lot of nudity in your career. Is it something you find easy to do? Has it become easier as you’ve become older?
HC: I have no issues with nudity and the way that I’ve done it. I’ve been fascinated by the female shape, both from the photographers point of view and as a model. I think I looked upon it with a photographer’s eye the entire time I was a model as I looked at nudes in the old school way where it was all about the female shape. As if you look back at the first photography that existed it was of nudes, of women even at times where they were completely covered up and it was, you know, probably the most shocking thing you could do was to do a nude photograph. Back then women from all levels of society would have beautiful nudes done, and it’s more showing the sculptural, organic shapes of a woman in beautiful lightning. To me it’s like an honour to be doing nudes with photographers that I hugely admire. There’s something so beautiful and poetic about nudes. I never look upon them in any different way and if they’re sexy then fine too! That’s not what I’m going for as it’s more of the lure of a woman and the body. As someone who looks at it from a sculptural viewpoint I still find it funny that in this millennium we still have all these restrictions and limits on nudity and problems and issues with it. I think when it’s presented in such a beautiful kind of way it’s just a joy to look at. But yeah, there’s no issue with showing a little bit of your butt; it’s not a problem at all.
JNS: What are you top tips on how to pose like a super model?
HC: I don’t do model poses, I just act naturally! One of my favourite ones is where you are on a chair and you are just leaning back, legs out straight with the photographer positioned a step away. It just creates such an interesting angle with the legs coming all the way out into the lens and then there’s a little face in the back and I’ve just always loved that view; it’s just an interesting view. I did it for the very first Prada look book!
Helena Christensen for Triumph is available exclusively at Fenwicks, Bond Street