My Woman of Substance for October is the stunning supermodel Yasmin Le Bon who, at 51, has been the face of Winser London since its launch in 2013. With Simon, her Duran Duran frontman husband of 30 years, Yasmin has three grown-up daughters: Tallulah, Amber and Saffron. They live in South London with their two cats and three dogs.
Yasmin, we have worked together closely now for over three years. You’ve already done an amazing job for Winser London, thank you. When I then asked you to design a collection for Winser, was it a tricky decision? What made you decide to say 'yes'?
Actually, Kim, it was a really easy decision. Your expertise and history in the business is kind of legendary actually. It was just obvious from the start – a bit of a no-brainer really. The Winser London style is all about luxury and comfort – wearable, comfortable clothes that are stylish. My new collection has been an opportunity for me to develop the Winser style, which I believe in and love, and to take it a little bit further and add my own personality.
How did you find designing a fashion collection?
It’s a wonderful thing to be part of a creative team; to work with creative people who know so much technically and who you can learn from. I was so lucky. It’s great to be learning – that’s what I really enjoy – developing ideas, thinking about things. I had some specific ideas and I’ve been helpfully led and we’ve developed things together. That’s the beauty of doing this type of project. I don’t think you can do anything on your own in life. There are always things when you’re looking at designing a collection; you cherry pick from all sorts of areas. You look back at your own wardrobe – things that really worked; whether it was a great colour or texture. Or maybe something you thought didn’t quite work and you want to revisit it. Putting your name to anything – a collection or a piece of writing – is a really personal thing and you are laying bare your soul to some extent. I’m naturally a very shy person, so having to get over the idea of being judged, just wanting to express yourself and hoping that someone else is going to get what you’re after was actually a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Winser London is a truly British brand with its heart in London. What do you love about London and has this influenced your collection?
I love London. I live in London and feel very attached to it. I can’t think of another capital city that has so much diversity of everything – bars, music, culture and wonderful surroundings. I live in Putney so I have Richmond Park on my doorstep. To me that’s a huge inspiration. I couldn’t just live in a concrete jungle, I have to have nature around me all the time – that’s what I’m constantly inspired by.
How would you describe this collection?
I suppose that this collection has a real vintage feel to it. I love vintage clothes, vintage design. I’m obsessed by classic cars. I have been for some time. I love vintage car racing and that idea of the adventurous spirit and the adventurous woman who raced classic cars is behind this collection.
How did you choose the fabrics, colours and prints?
I suppose there’s one fabric that I really wanted. The English tweed came from that whole idea of old racing suits and utility wear. Something that’s really practical but I wanted it to be luxurious as well so it has an incredibly soft feel to it. Also, the idea of the silk pyjama – to me that’s very much that 20s, 30s woman.
Are there pieces that your daughters will want to borrow? Which ones and how would they wear them differently to you?
It’s amazing how much my daughters pick out my pieces from Winser London. They pick out certain things rather than a whole outfit. I think I know what pieces they’ll be after – the silk pyjama pant and the striped jumper. To be worn anywhere. I think the YLB striped cashmere jumper is for everybody – for all ages. I can imagine my daughters’ generation wearing that with their ripped jeans or a big circular skirt – quite crazy. I think there’s an element for every generation actually.
We know Simon loves clothes too – what does he think of your collection and which pieces will he like you best in?
I have a feeling that Simon expects me to make the YLB Herringbone Tweed Zip Jacket for him. It’s not a man’s collection, but when I told him what I was doing he instantly leapt up and said “Oh great! Can you do one for me?”
Which are your favourite pieces and why? And how will you wear them?
I don’t have a favourite piece – I have to have all of them! I designed things that I really, really wanted. I (hands up) wasn’t really thinking of the woman I was designing for – I was really thinking of me. Completely selfish. I want every piece!