Vogue CS in English
Getting Lost in a Foreign Garden
Eva Herzigová9. 4. 2019
Helena Christensen and Eva Herzigová working together again. Gigi Hadid gave them access to her secret place, a place she has never allowed anyone to visit before.
"See you in the lobby tonight, we’ll have a drink."
We are both in Milan for work, staying at the same hotel. We know after the second glass of red wine arrives - drinks will turn into dinner: "Come to Bice, let’s meet my friends there."
It's fashion week and everyone is in town. Helena's guests at the table are none other than Gigi Hadid, her friend Gabriella from New York, designer and actress Georgina Chapman and our agent Gavin.
During our biggest years in fashion, we spent all our evenings at Bice. Followed by after-parties in our hotel room, then going straight to work the next day. Happily there weren't any iPhones at that time – there is no embarrassing evidence. Strong experiences create strong bonds, our bond continues to this day. Actually, it would be great to work together again, to support one another, we say. At that moment, I can hear myself saying: "We can, come shoot a story for Vogue."
Gigi supports us. We can do a shoot on her family's farm close to New York, where she keeps her horses. She has never allowed anyone to go there before and she will never allow anyone else to go there after us. It will be our secret place...Gigi talks and talks about how much she loves it there.
Eva: You shoot mostly your friends. And for us, your subject is again a dear friend of yours – Gigi. You have such great chemistry, almost like sisters. What is it that you absolutely adore about her?
Helena: She has such a genuinely beautiful spirit, a very endearing personality. She appears to be free in a physical and spiritual sense. When I first met her it felt like we were kindred spirits.
Knowing her so well, what kind of a character were you trying to portray her as?
Exactly the person she appears to be, herself, with her horses on her farm, in her natural element, where she feels inspired, creative and most of all, safe. I wanted to capture this essence of her, the little girl inside the young woman, hair blowing in the wind, eyes full of wonder.
Eclectic, dreamy, poetic, a bit mad, provocative, feminine, unruly, romantic, mysterious are all words that come to my mind when I see your work as a photographer. What are your inspirations?
Nature is a huge inspiration to me – the vast, infinite beautiful ocean, wild rivers, silent dark ponds, big looming trees, colorful and hypnotic flowers… But also humans, their mimics, their little intimate moments, children – with their big, open curious faces, movies, music, art...
If you were to direct a movie, please describe your perfect scenario for a script?
I have a few ideas roaming around in my head, one being about an island far, far away that a small group of people discover, with big empty skyscrapers and no sign of life and them setting about to solve the mystery.
You are a woman of many talents. Talents not many people know you posses. Could you please share a few words about your amazing projects?
I have a perfume company, strangelove, with my friend, Elizabeth. We create scents with very rare ingredients, such as pure oud and ambergris. I am the creative director and we create the perfumes with a wonderful and very talented perfumer. We have four scents so far and are working on the fifth one at the moment, I am very excited about this one, it might end up being my favorite one so far. It will be called fallintostars.
I also have a company with my friend Camilla, stærkandchristensen. We design clothing, shoes, homes, interior objects, textiles, etc… Basically everything you surround yourself with. We designed three prefab home structures and are in the process of creating interior pieces, so far we have lamps and we’re working on mirrors, chairs, pillows and throws. We launch a shoe collection next month and also a swimwear collection, which is launching at the end of April in the magical Dorado Beach Hotel in Puerto Rico. Next will be more apparel. We also designed an eyewear collection for Pared.
Apart from obviously being absolutely the most gorgeous woman in the world, you yourself have very little concern about playing by the rules. You eat what your heart desires. And I have witnessed your appetite on a few occasions. You pick the most fattening meals on the menu and order enough food for two people just for yourself. You enjoy every bite in a very desiring manner... Dust watching you eat is an orgasm on its own... Do you cook?
Haha – you crack me up! But, yes, you are absolutely right, I have a huge love of food and a rather big appetite. I thoroughly enjoy eating and tasting. I grew up in a home with a South American mom and there was always cooking going on, various big pots brewing on the stove and heavenly smells everywhere, so, I think my fascination with food started early on.
You have a fetish for flowers. Do you have a favorite poem or a verse about flowers?
Flowers are so magical. I am constantly in awe of their complex and intricate shapes and scents. I can completely lose myself in wonderful gardens, I imagine I’m a tiny fairy living inside the head of a fritillaria and I come out at night and dance across the foggy lake. A quote that comes to mind is from Frida Kahlo: "I paint flowers so they will not die" or this little gruk by my favorite philosopher Piet Hein: "Black earth turned into yellow crocus, is undiluted, hocus pocus."
You have a wicked sense of humor. Always the last word to add. You remind me a lot of Karl Lagerfeld. Very quick and witty. On what occasion did you see him last?
Ahhh! That is the best compliment, all you just said. One could only aspire in ones wildest dreams to have Karl’s flair for wit. But yeah, we definitely sparred a lot when it came to dark humor, we literally cracked each other up and it was with the lowest and dirtiest form of humor, I have to admit. I saw him when he gave his last bow at the final Chanel show he did in New York, I wanted to run out on the catwalk and hug him as I had a feeling I might not see him again. He seemed fragile. I saw him as the vibrant, intelligent, interesting artist he was the last time also in New York, we had a brief moment together, laughing as we always did. But that was years ago.
What is it that really matters to you?
Truth, I guess. Finding layers to life, finding people who also see those other dimensions. Feeling peace at the same time as always remaining curious, childlike and openhearted. It is not so easy, but I do my best. In a more tangible way: good health, family, nature and great food matters the most, and on the top of that list: my son being happy and healthy and my dog feeling loved.
I wish you took more photos... You capture a thousand words and emotions in one image. They are like delicious poems to me.
You are such a great writer. I am very humbled by those words, thank you!
I really enjoy your charitable work for elderly people. I know you had a very special relationship with your granny... Is she the reason why you got involved?
Perhaps, yeah, I never thought of that. I went to Ukraine with the UNHCR and saw in the old forgotten victims of war the same kind, loving spirit my grandmother had. I feel very affectionate towards old people. If we are lucky we will end up in that state and that means we survived an entire lifetime. That deserves respect. Old people deserve all the love, help and attention they can get. Society doesn’t often offer that. Families often don’t provide that. It breaks my heart thinking of all the elderly that are sitting all alone in a tiny living room or nursing home room somewhere with no visitors, no joy. They just listen to the clock ticking all day long. And yet they are so full of wisdom and stories, life experience. We must find a way to honor them better and include them in our lives.