Model Natalia Vodianova hosts the H&M Conscious Exclusive Dinner at Smogshoppe in Los Angeles on March 28. (Charley Gallay / Getty Images for H&M)
Natalia Vodianova has been ranked by Forbes as among the world’s highest paid supermodels, but that doesn’t mean she throws her money around.
“I try to buy very little,” said the Russian model and philanthropist on a recent spring day. “We recycle within our own family. My younger kids wear clothes that the older ones used to.”
Given Vodianova’s leanings toward sustainability, she is a fitting choice as the “face” of the campaign for H&M’s Conscious Exclusive line, a collection of occasion wear fashioned from eco-friendly fabrications (for example, one such fabric is recycled shoreline waste). The collection of about 35 styles for men, women and children launched April 20 worldwide and is available in stores and at www.hm.com.
Dressed in a top with shimmering burnt orange paillettes and fluid black pants from the collection, Vodianova, a mother of five children ranging from 10 months to 15 years, was in Los Angeles from Paris in late March to attend a launch party for the collection at the fittingly “green” venue, SmogShoppe.
H&M’s creative advisor, Ann-Sofie Johansson, said she hoped that the offering would turn the notion of sustainable style on its head.
“There is a misconception that it’s beige and linen. We want to show we can be fashionable and sustainable at the same time,” she said, indicating a short cocktail dress thickly crusted with dusky rose glitter sequins and a floaty shoulder-baring dress with slight ruffles down its length in burnished gold-embossed white. Prices are H&M friendly ranging from $20 to $210.
Before mingling with guests such as Chrissy Tiegen, Orlando Bloom and Kate Mara, Vodianova sat down to chat about why sustainability is important to her.
What drew you to H&M’s Conscious Exclusive line?
With Conscious Exclusive, you are getting something affordable but also beautiful and made from organic and sustainable materials.
Does it tie in with your lifestyle choices?
Consumerism today is crazy. The collection spoke to my values as a mother and as someone very active in philanthropic work.
What causes does your Naked Heart Foundation support?
The big cause of my life is inclusivity. We support education in Russia. My sister was born with special needs. My whole life has been dictated by that. We were very poor, and I’ve been working since I was 11. But I learnt patience and resilience. When you are as poor as we were, you have this incredible pride because it’s all you have.
Has the fashion community been supportive?
I could never have done it without the support of the fashion industry. I enjoy being a part of it so much. It’s the driving force behind my charity work. I’ve never had a “no” from the industry.
Given your success, do you continue to feel the need to give back?
I wouldn’t be happy just being a princess in this glamorous fashion world. I still live an intense and beautiful life, but I’m grateful that I can make a difference in the lives of others.
Runway shows by Opening Ceremony and Wiz Khalifa to headline Made L.A.’s June 9 and 10 event downtown
Union, a ‘best-kept secret’ for men, mixes high-end European labels and current streetwear finds