Off-duty, she’s into family, fashion and fitness. But it’s Linda Evangelista’s gift for bringing clothes to life that makes her the most super model of all.
First and foremost, there is that face—a transcendent convergence of flesh and bone that you can’t take your eyes off. But beauty alone does not explain what makes Linda Evangelista the greatest fashion model alive, or, quite possibly, who has ever lived.
Evangelista also has taste and pluck. They inform her work and the pride she takes in that work. As she, less gushily, puts it, “I like what I do.” What is it that she does, exactly? It’s fair to wonder. Watching her in Pamela Hanson’s New York studio shooting FASHION’s 35th anniversary cover, I get to see.
Since I first met Linda Evangelista, backstage at Chanel in the autumn of 1987, I’ve seen her do lots of shows. She’s done them all. But it’s her record of print jobs, her performances in front of a camera—her preferred audience—that test her skills and give her the bigger kicks. Years ago, she told me, “My book kills.” That’s still true. In the past year, Evangelista has appeared in some of the most memorable images, both charming and daring, of her career. On the cover of Italian Vogue, she was a mambo queen, ruling the beat with a pair of maracas. Inside the September issue of W, she was a super-freak, naked under a latex cape and transparent catsuit. As a mannequin, Evangelista is more than willing; she’s also capable. She doesn’t just put on a garment; she populates it. Watching her, I realize what she meant when she long ago told me, “Once I’ve worn an outfit, I feel I’ve really worn it.”
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