Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Fashionable One; in the Supermodel Era, Linda Evangelista Was the Fashion World's Favourite, and She Can Still Turn It on If the Cause Is Right. but What Gets Her out of Bed Now, Asks Edward Helmore

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Fashionable One; in the Supermodel Era, Linda Evangelista Was the Fashion World's Favourite, and She Can Still Turn It on If the Cause Is Right. but What Gets Her out of Bed Now, Asks Edward Helmore

Article excerpt

Byline: EDWARD HELMORE

Evangelista, who, like other Canadian women, has a reputation for running at least ten degrees cooler than her sisters to the south, is in a good mood today. She can be tricky, highly secretive, highly indulged and indulgent, but this is the end of term for models: the autumn advertising shoots and editorials are done, and she's officially on holiday. Tomorrow morning she's off to Joshua Tree in California to go hiking. 'I'm new to nature and the outdoors,' she explains, surveying the roof gardens of Manhattan's West Side: 'I don't want to sit on a beach - I don't like doing nothing.' It's an odd choice of destination given that Death Valley - where Joshua Tree is - is stupidly hot at this time of year.

Linda is nothing if not a survivor. After all, her career in fashion has been going for more than 20 years since the days when supermodels ruled the Earth. Christy Turlington was the beauty, Cindy Crawford Miss All-America, and Evangelista was the most purely fashionable.

It's seems like a distant age now when they held the world under a spell.

For a time they were more movie-star than movie stars, who, seeing themselves eclipsed by the radiance of the supermodels, wanted to be in fashion, too.

Evangelista won a reputation as the consummate model, fashion's foremost chameleon, co-operative and fully engaged with the photographers, makeup artists and hairdressers who experimented with her. She commanded headlines simply by changing the colour of her hair. Karl Lagerfeld called her 'the Stradivarius of modelling'. But it took years of toil for the career of Miss Teen Niagara (runner-up) to get going. 'Once my career was in motion, I wasn't even really aware of what was going on. It was all about work for me.

That was all I knew, and I don't think I really appreciated it as much as I should have or could have.' Still, at 40, she has no time for regrets: 'I got to live my dream - to be a model and to wear the clothes.' And it was Evangelista, of course, who summed up the supermodel era with a comment worthy of Garbo: she said she wouldn't get out bed for less than $10,000. It sounded ungenerous, but it was unforgettable because it was true: why would Linda Evangelista, superstar, get out of bed for less?

Evangelista knows the question is coming, and while she's on record saying other super-model-in-character things (in a fashion documentary of that era, Unzipped, she's seen backstage yelling the equally compelling line: 'Get that camera out of my f****** face, sweetie'), she's learned to embrace, if not love, her $10,000 moment. Secretly, she's probably quite proud of it. 'I don't know what to say about that comment any more. I thought it would go away, but it hasn't. I saw a movie, Mr and Mrs Smith, and there's a line in it where Brad Pitt says he won't get out of bed for less than half a million dollars. That's my line! Only now it's a half million and it's a man saying it.' Evangelista limits her public voice to raising awareness for an Aids charity established by MAC cosmetics. Money from the sales of certain shades of lipstick called Viva Glam goes to helping people with or people affected by the disease. Missy Elliot is a spokesperson, as is Chloe Sevigny. It's a cause Evangelista believes in. She's lost many friends, including makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin, to the disease, and she wants to draw attention to its spread - now less a white, Western, gay affliction than an epidemic causing devastation across Africa and Asia, particularly among women. In October, she's going to India to spread the message. 'I hope they want to buy our lipstick.' In the ten years Viva Glam has been going, it's raised $48 million. 'Yeaaaay!' she exclaims.

Evangelista is pleased to be involved. It gets her out of the house and keeps her involved when there's a lull in modelling. She's had periodic comebacks, the most recent orchestrated by American Vogue, which placed her on the unluckily-timed September 2001 cover, but she rolls her eyes at the suggestion she might be about to stage another. …

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