Naomi Campbell, the notorious and inimitable icon, does not easily grant interviews. So who better to handle the task than an industry figurehead who has known Naomi since her beginnings.Francesca Sorrenti, a renowned fashion photographer in her own time and head of a family of talented photographers, has a deep and very personal understanding of fashion and the period that formed one of the most famous supermodels of our times. Francesca sat down with Naomi for models.com to talk about her love of fashion, her current projects and her advice to new talent.
We hear about Ms. Campbell in fashion mags and tabloids, we know who she’s dating, where she’s partying, but how much do we really know about the icon herself?
I met Naomi through Kate Moss and my son Mario (when Kate and Mario were dating) and my first thought was “Here is a woman who exudes glamour from head to toe”. The word girl just didn’t seem to fit with her persona even though she was just a girl back then. Naomi was always glamorous even at home in jeans and a tee shirt. It wasn’t in her mannerisms, it was just her.
That season I went to shows in Paris, NY, and Milan and each time Naomi walked out all eyes would look on in amazement and the room would start to buzz. I could almost swear that at the Versace show in Paris I could hear a collective gasp. The buzz didn’t end there, no matter where she went every head would turn. To this day, Naomi still commands the attention of the industry and the world at large. In a business where girls come and go, she has indeed stood the test of time. These simple questions, asked over a cup of tea, give insight into the woman behind the legendary career and the dynamic personality that still captivates fashion.
Growing up have you always loved Fashion?
I think so, you know growing up in London you got to see so much happening all the time, Rifat, Body Map, there were so any others all around me.
How do you view the Internet and fashion?
Well that’s how the world is today, isn’t it? It’s a great tool for corporations and sales. People get to read what’s going on in the world of fashion and give their opinions right then and there.
Do you have any aspirations in fashion going forward?
One day I would like to display all that I have collected through my career, like a time capsule up for the viewing. It will speak for itself.
Didn’t you do a special edition for Russian Vogue last year?
Yes! It was my 25th Anniversary in the business and I worked with the Editor in chief of RV on that issue. I worked with Steven Meisel, Solve Sundsbo, with Russian photographer, Danil Golovkin, Matt Owen. We really had so much fun putting it together.
Photo: Mario Testino for British Vogue / December 2010
Who is your favorite designer?
Now that’s a very difficult question to answer, I’ve grown with so many people, Marc Jacobs, John Galliano, Azzedine, Karl, there’s Gianni Versace, Ozbek, Dolce & Gabbana, and I love so many of the young new designers. This again is a very difficult question to answer. So many of them have been so supportive of me and my growing and great to me in my career, I have also created so many great personal relationships with any them.
This is another hard question, there’s again so many I have worked with that have been there for me from day one since I came to New York. I love how each and every one of them has depicted me differently; it’s a different side of your persona that they have captured. I like when I don’t look like myself.
You are involved in many charities, what’s your latest endeavor?
Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Vogue Italia and I will be sponsoring Fashion for Relief Japan Appeal 2011 on May 16th at the Cannes Festival.
Do you have any advice for the young “new faces” in the business?
Try to stay true to yourself and stick to your roots and your friends that you have come into the business with you and who have stayed true to you. Try to stay focused on your goals and not be deterred from them.
The Met Ball, how was it?
It was fun, in the beginning it was a bit sad but than I thought Lee would be very proud. I felt it was a definite celebration of him.
What is your favorite perfume?
As you know I have my own fragrance for the past 12 years, and I love Molecules.
What do you most dislike about yourself?
Who is the person you most admire in the world?
What is your biggest regret?
I haven’t got any. I think that everyone needs to take their path in life.
What personal possession do you most value?
Your favorite color?
What is your biggest fear?
Roller coasters, jet skis.
If you could change the world?
I would free the world of AIDS and cancer.