A Conversation

We talked with Helena Christenen about Inspiration.

She is a legendary supermodel and posed in front of the camera for windsor. For several years she has literally been one of the world’s “shooting” stars.

We are delighted to collaborate with photographer Helena Christensen. Discover in this interview why the megacity of Tokyo has been an inspiration for her and what she thinks about working behind the lens.



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Welcome back to windsor., Helena. Since 2001 – when we first met – a lot has changed.

w.: Putting art and fashion in context is the theme of the windsor. Art Collection. You are part of it – a picture taken by Sam Samore. Do you remember? At what stage of your life were you at this period – where are you today?

HC: It was a very exciting time back then, having just had my son, which was very inspiring in many ways, also for work. It’s very cool having come full circle with windsor., being the one behind the camera this time around.

w.: We are delighted to have you as our photographer for the new campaign. Your work always tells stories. How do you approach such a day? What is your vision for today‘s windsor. shoot?

HC: I wanted the shoot to tell the story of a couple falling in love but not being fully aware of their feelings. The mood of the location was perfect for this, there was a feeling of mystery and intimacy, the light was moody, yet sensual.

w.: windsor.’s main inspiration for the Fall Winter 18 collection is Tokyo. A city like no other. What are the go-to-places in Tokyo?

HC: I haven’t been there in a long time, but I love this city, it is so modern and yet so full of history, it is enticing and surprising. There’s an atmosphere that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. I love Kiddyland and Harajuku, I am crazy about Japanese food and I try to visit as many new restaurants as possible when there.

w.: Why is the western world enthusiastic about Tokyo and what fascinates you personally?

HC: It is at the same time a very futuristic city and a city with so many ancient traditions. There is such a vibrancy and so much to be inspired by. The lights, the sounds, the architecture, the skyscrapers and the little tiny backroads, it all makes for a fascinating and very creative environment.

 

w.: You said that you hitchhiked at 18, 19 and that’s when you discovered your love for photography - can you explain that a little more detailed? When did you realize that a hobby became a profession and eventually art?

HC: I was traveling around the world and had my camera with me and discovered how many details I was noticing that might have escaped my eyes, had I not zoomed in on them via the camera lens. There was suddenly so much to discover, so many visuals, so many aesthetic angles and compositions, so many light variations, shadow plays, moments that were waiting to be caught. It thrilled me and a passion was born.

w.: In addition to modelling you’ve build your career as a photographer and you are also a successful business woman. Do you prefer to be photographed or to take photographs? And who is your favourite photographer? Who recognizes you best?

HC: I like both jobs equally as much, for different reasons. When I model, I lose myself in a story that only exists in my head, I forget about people around me and just act for the lens, like a silent movie. When I photograph I have to be very focused and concentrated, sometimes I even forget to breathe because I get so caught up in what I see through the lens. I worked with a lot of incredible photographers, it would be hard to pick any favorite, I feel like they all captured different versions of me, which I think is what is so wonderful about photography, that everyone sees something different because they experience the world differently.

w.: Does it help with shootings that you know both sides? How do you relax models who are intimidated by being photographed by a superstar?

HC: I think and hope that maybe subconscious the subject feels at ease around me as a photographer, because I‘m very un-intimidating and mellow at shoots. I think that very quickly there’s a trust and intimate bond created.

w.: You photograph your friends, for example Julianne Moore, Liv Tyler... Today for windsor., a model unknown to you - what makes the difference?

HC: I feel that I quite quickly get a good sense of who that person is when I start shooting, you can discover so much through the lens. Their mood, their emotions, they all come to the surface in their facial expressions and graceful moves.

w.: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a supermodel behind the camera?

HC: I don‘t really feel there are any, maybe because I don‘t think of myself as one. It has definately been an advantage in terms of the education I have had being around all those iconic masters of photography.

w.: A few tips on how to take a good picture? What do you focus on?

HC: Lighting is essentiel and not necessarily a lot of light. Atmospheric light captures the spirit of a subject beautifully so I am always looking for unique light and shadows.

w.: Your favourite theme?

HC: I love photographing women in nature, there’s something so beautiful, serene and honest about a woman’s organic shape amongst trees and flowers, in rivers and lakes.

w.: What do you think about German fashion?

HC: There are some very cool German designers, Karl Lagerfeld and Jil Sander being amongst my favorites. I worked a lot with both of them and admired them highly for their innate sense of craf tsmanship. I think that‘s one element that characterizes German fashion, that and the high quality.

w.: Can you pick a favourite piece out of the windsor. collection? How would you style it?

HC: I really like the tweed coat, and the camel skirt, very sexy and classy.
 

w.: How would you describe your style? What is your favorite look?

HC: I like mixing things up, playing with colors and patterns. I am a big fan of vintage clothes, mostly very eclectic dresses, but I also like more masculine shapes, for example suits. I prefer men suits to women’s. The lines are better, long and narrow, they hang casually on the body.

w.: And what do you consider as the windsor. look?

HC: There’s something so timeless and elegant, yet with a modern edge to the windsor. styles. The windsor. woman is a smart, elegant and independant person.

w.: A lot of people, especially the media, love to reminisce about the so-called „Golden Age of Supermodels“ in the 90s. You were a part of it. Is it a period of your life you like to reminisce about too? Whom do you still maintain contact?

HC: I still work with most of the girls, and we always share memories from that time. It was a fantastic period, but I feel its even better now. We now have families, our own businesses, we are grownups but still have so much fun in our lives. We have been very fortunate.

w.: Tell us, what’s next? What are you looking forward to for the rest of 2018?

HC: I just launched a website with my friend and design partner, staerkandchristensen.com, a lifestyle brand that will sell clothing pieces, shoes, eyewear, interior objects etc. We are very excited about it and very proud, it has taken years to build and a lot of effort and hard work. I also have a little perfume company, strangelove, and am equally excited about our very unique and pure perfumes and oils. I will be travelling with the UNHCR and document the hardships of refugees and I will also work on personal projects, such a the continuation of my women in nature series.