Cindy Crawford Talks Catwalks, Fashion & Omega

Cindy Crawford Talks Catwalks, Fashion & Omega

As Cindy Crawford’s children Presley and Kaia are announced as new Omega ambassadors, Revolution talks to the supermodel about her 22 years with the brand and passing on the baton.

Kaia has been on the runways of global fashion weeks this summer. Did you pass on any tips?

Obviously, when she was little, she’d sometimes come to shoots with me and she used to play “Photoshoot” if she had a friend over. I would dress them up in my clothes and clip the backs –

I was the stylist, hair and make-up artist and photographer. We have this entry to our house that has a sort of bridge and that would be their catwalk. They’d walk down it. I think everyone today is a model in their own life – all of my daughter’s friends know their good angle, they’re much more sophisticated about that kind of thing. Personally, I still can’t quite figure out the selfie thing but maybe it’s just that I’m not 16.

Kaia Gerber
Kaia Gerber on the Alexander Wang runway (September 2017)

And you and Kaia walked together at the Versace S/S 2018 show in Milan?

Yes. I think I was booked for that before she was! We’d been talking about getting as many of us [1980s/90s supermodels] there as we could for the tribute to Gianni Versace, so I’d known I was doing the show for several months. Then when Kaia was asked, she said: “Wait, are we going out together?” And I was like: “I hope not. I don’t want to stand next to you! I want to stand next to the women my age!” But it was pretty cool. It will probably never happen again that we are in the same show.

It was fun. We were in a separate dressing room to the young models, so they didn’t know we were in the finale until half an hour before the show when we did the rehearsal. Kaia told me all of the young models were super-excited backstage to see that supermodel moment with Claudia [Schiffer], Naomi [Campbell], Helena [Christiansen], Carla [Bruni] and me. I think all of us together made a much stronger statement than if it had just been one or two of us together.

I remember the old days like it was yesterday – even a lot of the faces in the audience were the same people. For us, it was super emotional. I haven’t seen Carla in a long time, but I did Balmain with Naomi and Claudia. All of us were standing there right before the curtain went up and we were laughing. Ten seconds before, we were like: “Oh my gosh we’re nervous. We’re actually nervous.” But it was fun for all of us, reconnecting and remembering the past, but also catching up on who we all are as women today. I think everyone’s turned out pretty good.

Kaia Gerber on the Versace runway (September 2017)
Kaia Gerber on the Versace runway (September 2017)
Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen with Donatella Versace
(From the left) Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen walk the runway at the Versace show at Milan Fashion week 2017 with fashion legend Donatella Versace

Were you particularly close to Gianni Versace?

Working with Gianni and that brand was such an important part of the beginning part of my career. And the amazing think about Versace was that he loved celebrating sexy but powerful women. I think that’s what the late-1980s and early-1990s were all about. Women realised that they could be both. You don’t have to pick. If you think about the early-1980s, you saw women going to offices, wearing what were basically men’s suits – even ties. They weren’t cut for women. They weren’t flattering on women. But Versace said: “No. You can be super sexy AND strong and powerful.” And I think that’s a great feminist message for women through fashion. I loved being part of that whole thing.

Gianni Versace and his supermodels
Gianni Versace and his supermodels

How do you decide which brands to work with now?

Mostly now, I do my own projects. I have been with Omega for such a long time – longer than I’ve been married to my husband. In the States, my main work for the past 15 years has been my skincare range with Dr Sebagh. And I also have a furniture licensing project. Occasionally, something will come up with a brand or a photographer I really like. But I always say that I have something better to do now, which is being with my family. So, work has to tick a lot of boxes in order for me to say yes.

Cindy Crawford
(From the left) Cindy with Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann, husband Rande Gerber and kids, Kaia and Presley Gerber at the "Her Time" event in Paris

Presumably having your children involved with Omega is appealing then?

Because they’re my kids, they’ve been involved with Omega since they were little. We went to the Olympics as a family and then Kaia came with me to Peru a few years ago to see the work of Omega-sponsored Orbis International Flying Eye Hospital. We did a documentary about the work that Orbis International Flying Eye Hospital does and it was an amazing experience for Kaia to see that my relationship with Omega is much deeper than modelling watches. She saw first-hand the emerging economy outside of Lima and met kids who might not have access to eye care. They showed us how they do cataract surgery and I think that made a big impression on her. There were four little girls getting surgery that day so they couldn’t eat. They were hungry and the moms were nervous but Kaia was reading books with them. She doesn’t speak Spanish and they didn’t speak English, but they didn’t care. It was just someone to play with them.

Kaia was only 13 at the time but she is an old soul. My brother died of leukaemia and I do a lot of work with kids with cancer, so both my children have been around children’s hospitals a lot. And then we all went to Hong Kong together to see the Orbis documentary we had made. I think that’s when Omega recognised that, as they’re all about legacy and heritage, what better way to demonstrate that than to include my kids as they start their careers and invite them to be a part of the family. To be honest, they have been unofficial ambassadors for 10 years.

Kaia Gerber and Presley Gerber
Brother and sister photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Omega (from the left): Kaia Gerber and Presley Gerber

After 22 years with Omega, what values would you say you share with the brand?

Originally, what drew me to Omega was the great heritage, with things like James Bond and the Moonwatch. After that came the quality and the legacy and, as a young model at the time, those were brand qualities that I wanted for myself. So, when we first started working together, I thought: “This is an interesting company.” And then they took me to Switzerland to meet with the watchmakers and for me to understand their timepieces and why they are so special. The watch community is pretty interesting. There are some fanatics and you get to meet some of those people and hear their stories. I have a whole new appreciation for what a real quality timepiece is.

Cindy Crawford
Circa 1996 — Cindy Crawford working on the Constellation design at Omega's facilities in Bienne

Do you feel connected to other Omega ambassadors like Eddie Redmayne, George Clooney and Buzz Aldrin?

What’s amazing about Omega is that they always work with people who are approaching the top of their game. I met Eddie though Omega – I think they might have got him just before he totally exploded. George, obviously, I’m friends with. When he was invited to be an ambassador he asked me if he should do it and I was like: “Yes! I’ve been with them for 10 years already. Come and join the family!” And then there is Nicole Kidman and Michael Phelps too.

What’s cool about Omega is that they hire you when you’re on your way up and that’s been great for me. I’m not a 25-year-old girl on the cover of Vogue anymore, I’m a 51-year-old woman who’s a businesswoman, a wife and a mother. But they’ve never said: “Now we’re going to dump her and we want the new Cindy Crawford.” They’ve let me evolve and that’s what you hope for out of a long-term relationship. Even in a marriage, you both grow, but you hope you grow together, and that’s what’s happened with Omega. And, of course, now they do get the new Cindy Crawford!

Cindy Crawford
Cindy with Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann at the "Her Time" event in Paris

Do you have a favourite watch?

The model that I’m most nostalgic about is the Constellation, because that’s the one they were relaunching when I first signed with Omega. I met with the designers and I got to have some input, so I guess I feel a little bit of ownership over that one. But I am lucky because I have more than one Omega watch so I get to choose.

I really feel that today watches are only an accessory – we don’t need to wear a watch anymore as we all have our phones. So, in some ways, the style part of it and the statement is more important than ever. I really feel that a watch is a statement accessory, so it’s fun for me to have more than one – for every day, evenings and sports.

Do you wear a watch every day?

I do pretty much. I didn’t wear one for about five years, when my kids were babies, I’d just put one on if we were going out or to finish off an outfit. But before that, I wore one all the time, including to sleep in because we needed our watches then. But now I just feel more dressed with a watch.