Exclusive Interview: Iman, Style Bistro Celebrity Guest Editor
"In a world full of trends, I remain a classic," Iman told StyleBistro, and no statement so thoroughly captures the essence of the legendary supermodel. The wife of David Bowie and a former muse to designers like Valentino and Yves Saint Laurent, Iman's style and beauty influence is ubiquitous in the fashion world.
The iconic model is fluent in five languages, is famously active in her humanitarian efforts and has launched both a wildly successful beauty line and clothing collection. Simply put, the model, mother and business woman does it all—fabulously. We had the pleasure of talking with the legendary beauty about her style aesthetic, her all-time favorite designers and how the heck her skin is so flawless at 56.
StyleBistro: How would you describe your style?
Iman: I would say classic with a twist. You know my motto in life, and especially in fashion, has always been that I remain a classic regardless of the trends. In one sentence I would say: In a world full of trends, I remain a classic.
SB: How has your style changed since you've been in the industry?
Iman: Well it's changed because now I'm 56 years old, so when I was in my late teens when I started modeling, it was different. It's not simply because of the age, I was a model, so you are more intrigued by fashion. In a way it's more trend-oriented and you want to wear the hottest thing, the "ittest" thing (laughs)—bags shoes, whatever. At the same time I've always gravitated towards designers that were relevant at their time and are still relevant like Azzadine Alaia, Yves Saint Laurent, you know what I mean? Jean Paul Gaultier. His clothes are rooted in classicism, they are really well tailored, very well designed. At the end of the day it's about the detail, the craftsmenship. I have never given away any of my Azzedine Alaia's from the first day I met him in the early '80s. When he started he used to pay his models in clothes. Needless to say Azadine Alaia clothes are literally museum quality clothes. I've never given away any of my clothes. I mean I edit my closet and I show my girlfriends what I want to get rid of and the young girls will take the Theirry Muglers or things like that but I have never ever ever given any of my Alaias. Some of them I don't even fit in them or even try to fit in them because God knows how small I was. But they're like priceless, they're literally priceless.
SB: Are there any trends that you are loving right now?
Iman: Well you know I'm very into these global influences. But everybody has done it in their own different way, Balenciaga did it in his own way, and Oscar de la Renta in his way and Proenza Schouler do it their own way. I'm very intrigued by prints and tribal motifs, it's not color, color has been there, it's prints on prints on prints that have now become a very chic way of dressing.
SB: Any stand-outs from the recent Spring 2012 collections?
Iman: For the first time I wasn't following it as much, it was just because school year was starting and my daughter was starting 6th grade. Usually I don't go to the shows anyway, I watch them on Style.com. But somehow I haven't caught up. I'm trying to catch up with Milan now and am going backwards to New York shows. I have to say, I've never been a huge fan of Spring/Summer collections. I love Fall because they are statement pieces, they make such an impact. But I have to say Prabal Gurung looked gorgeous, what I saw. And I liked Marc Jacobs, those weird plasticy things. I'm leaning towards Prabal Gurung but I also want to see Jason Wu and Altuzarra.
SB: Your skin always looks flawless, what advice can you give our readers on taking care of it?
Iman: Let's start with the most important advice, regardless of whether you are black or white: SPF, SPF, SPF. A lot of black women don't think they need SPF. Everybody needs SPF, the sun does not discriminate. The other most important thing is, it's not cosmetics first, it's skincare first. When I was growing up that's what my mother told me. You brush your teeth twice a day, that's how many times you take care of your skin. And it doesn't have to be complicated, when you're young it's as simple as cleansing and moisturizing and as you get older you hydrate and you find what your skin type is because most women buy moisturizers that are not right for their skin—they think it's dry, it's not, they think it's oily, it's not. I know a red lipstick, a burgundy eye shadow, will change you visually in an instant, but skincare is an investment in one's self. And trust me the skin you take care of in your 20s is the one you inherit in your 50s 60s and above. That's an investment in yourself, the rest of the other stuff is visual wow. That's my advice to every woman.
See Iman's lookbook: