I woke up this morning elated, still riding high from Monday evening’s Spring Soiree: A Discussion of Portraiture and Fashion hosted by The National Portrait Gallery. I was invited by friend and DC Publicist Isoke Salaam for an event featuring Vogue fashion icon Tonne Goodman and supermodel Christy Turlington. Ripped out magazine pages from Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, covered my bedroom walls as a teenager. Images of Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell were my inspiration to pursue fashion and modeling as a young girl, so needless to say, attending the Spring Soiree blew my mind on so many levels. I didn’t know the impact the panel discussion was going to have on me.
The evening started with a networking cocktail hour, great conversation, mingling, and a chance to meet with and take photos with Christy. At first, I was hesitant. I didn’t want to be an overbearing super fan, but as the crowd thinned out with guests making their way to their seats, I decided to head over to Christy with a group of friends. At that point, she was wrapping up conversations, and a woman dressed in a vintage Chanel suit was making her way over to signal that it was time to go on stage. I asked the woman if my friends and I could have just a few minutes to connect with her, and she obliged. When I met Christy, I immediately felt a calming aura surrounding her. She stood poised, warm, and inviting. The women in my group approached her to discuss their roles in art, modeling, and fashion and how Christy’s work as an activist and philanthropist has positively impacted their lives and businesses. Christy listened intently; she nodded and acknowledged every one of them and their views and appreciation of her work. We wrapped our discussion, took our photos, and made our way to our seats.
Moments later, the introductions began. As Dana Bash, American journalist, anchorwoman, and political correspondent for CNN, announced the panel, Christy Turlington and Tonne Goodman; my face turned bright red. Just a few moments before the introduction, the woman in the vintage Chanel was the iconic Vogue Fashion Director Tonne Goodman! Tonne discussed her life as a model in the late 60’s and early 70’s and how she made her way into Vogue as Fashion Stylist, Editor, and later Director. Her new portrait book, Point of View: Four Decades of Fashion, is a visual biography book with stunning images of her work over the past two decades, traveling the world for Vogue. The essence of art in the photography and styling of this book is nothing short of genius.
As the images on the screen from Tonne’s book displayed photos of Christy for Calvin Klein, Vogue and, Harpers Bazaar, the audience was captivated by her images and presence on stage. The images from the 1990s, 2000s and the famous photo of Cindy and Christy from just a few years ago displayed a timeless elegance that stands the test of time.
For Klein, Neatness and Luxury Count by Bernadine Morris, NYT, 1989 Photography by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue US 2017
My appreciation for modeling, photography, and art grew exponentially. One of Tonne’s most memorable and compelling statements of the evening was when she referenced the transition from supermodels claiming covers of fashion magazines to celebrities. She witnessed that shift first hand and explained how rapidly it took place. She said it was literally a matter of one year. As a young girl who grew up in the ’90s, I personally found this topic to be very poignant in the age of supermodels because the days of models on the covers of fashion magazines are long gone. In this age of clickbait social media and reality TV, the mystery and magic in a lot of ways have been lost.
Halfway through the evening’s discussion, up popped the 2002 Vogue cover shot by Steven Klein. The image is of Christy doing yoga in a silver silk Calvin Klein dress dripping with jewels. As a yogi and model myself, I was struck by these specific images in Vogue because I could see Christy as her true self, combined with her life as a fashion supermodel. While reflecting on this shoot for Vogue, styled by Tonne, she said, “This is me, even though it’s glamorous and a fashion picture, it’s me.”
Photographed by Steven Klein, Vogue, October 2002
I’ve been trying to come up with creative ways to bring mindfulness and yoga, combined with a fashion to my blog and content for quite some time, so when I saw right in front of me – Christy doing just that on the cover of Vogue, it sparked my curiosity and prompted my question to her; “how has your life been impacted yoga”? Her response emulated my feelings in so many ways, as a woman, as a model, as a mother… she responded that she started practicing yoga at age 18, and it has helped her gain a better sense of self. It helped her in childbirth and has been somewhat of a foundation for her life and her family as her children and husband practice. As a yoga enthusiast, she merged her love of the practice in her first book, “Living Yoga: Creating A Life Practice” released the same year as her 2002 Vogue spread. Christy came up with the concept of bringing together fashion and yoga, approached Vogue, and to this day, it remains one of the most memorable covers of all time.
Photographed by Steven Klein, Vogue, October 2002
The evening’s conversation with Christy and Tonne was somewhat of validation and was so impactful for me. It boosted my confidence and reinforced that what I’m creating and the direction that my blog, future content, and social media is headed will be inspirational, uplifting, and powerful to those who follow now and in the future. By listening to Christy explain how she had the confidence to go directly to Vogue and say; “Hey, this (yoga) is important to me, what do you think?” not only did Vogue take on her concept, but they committed to do a “cover try” and spread of Christy in various poses styled by Tonne. To this day, Christy doing bow on the cover of Vogue sticks in people’s minds. If it weren’t for her courage to speak up and express her passion and creative concept, this quintessential cover would’ve never happened. Tonne and Christy both depict tenacity, authenticity, and perseverance. If we all live a life that reinforces our passions, go after what we want, and stay true to our authentic selves, anything is possible.