She’s All That

Kaia Ger­ber cat­walks into Ber­lin as the new face of Omega De Ville Tré­sor, and proves that she’s her own force to be reck­oned with. By Natasha Kraal

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What’s in a name? For Kaia Jor­dan Ger­ber, daugh­ter of Rande Ger­ber, the highly suc­cess­ful nightlife busi­ness­man, and Cindy Craw­ford, who needs no in­tro­duc­tion, it means all-ac­cess to the worlds of fash­ion, Hol­ly­wood, club­bing, and more. At 16, she could be liv­ing it up as most off­spring of the rich and fa­mous do, but in­stead, is start­ing to hold her own, walk­ing her now-fa­mous walk at all the ma­jor shows from New York to Mi­lan, and fronting fash­ion ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns that this sea­son alone in­clude Chanel,Ver­sace, Saint Lau­rent and Marc Ja­cobs. Then, there’s Omega; to be the am­bas­sador of a Swiss lux­ury watch man­u­fac­ture is some­thing else. It’s more than be­ing a face, or hav­ing a fa­mous name. It’s also about rep­re­sent­ing the val­ues of the 170-year-old brand and be­ing a part of their fam­ily.

To­day, in a pri­vate space at the uber-chic Soho House in Ber­lin, Kaia Ger­ber walks in, a lankier fac­sim­ile of her mother, dressed in a blue de­voré mini, hair pulled back into a low pony­tail. She looks all prepped for her first in­ter­view as the face of Omega Tré­sor with the ed­i­tors of in­ter­na­tional pub­li­ca­tions.What on earth would a 16-year-old say in this arena, I won­der? Cindy was 40 when I in­ter­viewed her in 2005, full of the ex­pe­ri­ence and con­fi­dence of be­ing a global brand and busi­ness­woman; Kaia is in Grade

11 and schooled on­line (“I’ll come back from Paris and do pre-cal­cu­lus the next day,” she says, to give con­text.) But ques­tion af­ter ques­tion in rapid-fire, she comes across as ar­tic­u­late, in­tel­li­gent and com­posed with­out a sin­gle pause or teenage-in­flected “like ... umm ... kinda”, which leaves us all im­pressed.

“Peo­ple of my gen­er­a­tion don’t rely on watches to tell the time,” she shoots back on the first ques­tion; on the rel­e­vance of time­pieces in the dig­i­tal age, “but I think that’s why they’re im­por­tant be­cause they’ve be­come a clas­sic piece.You’re look­ing at it in a dif­fer­ent way, as an ac­ces­sory, and some­thing that makes you feel good.”

The time­piece that Kaia rep­re­sents could not be more clas­sic:The Omega De Ville Tré­sor, with its round dial, Ro­man nu­mer­als, and slim case em­bel­lished with a curve of di­a­monds.The first Tré­sor dates to 1949, in ref­er­ence to its “trea­sure”—a 30mm cal­i­bre move­ment hid­den in its slim gold case. It was re­launched in 2014 with a highly ad­vanced Co-Ax­ial es­cape­ment in a 10.6mm thin case.The new Tré­sor of 2018 is even thin­ner at 9.75mm and 8.85mm for the 39mm and 36mm mod­els re­spec­tively.

Both house a highly pre­cise quartz move­ment within a case crafted in rose or white gold, or stain­less steel, and ac­ces­sorised with a spec­trum of in­ter­change­able straps.You could eas­ily imag­ine Kaia to be the per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of the Tré­sor with its stylish el­e­gance and re­fined beauty.

“The cool thing about the Tré­sor is that it is very clas­sic,” says the new su­per, who had a hand in de­sign­ing the watch.“I didn’t want to go too far from the clas­sic watch be­cause that’s what’s cool about watches now.They are a piece of his­tory.That’s why I wear them now. I wanted it to be some­thing true to Omega while giv­ing it a bit of a mod­ern twist.”

This du­al­ity is some­thing Kaia plays with ef­fort­lessly. Off-duty she’s in her denim cut-offs and snap­back caps, which her 3.5 mil­lion In­sta­gram fol­low­ers lap up.“I fol­low the rule of less is more. I’m a bit of a tomboy, al­ways have been grow­ing up,” she shares. “I have an older brother so I would steal his clothes all the time and dress like him.” Her brother, Pres­ley Walker Ger­ber, 19 and an IMG model, was signed up last year as the face of Omega Rail­mas­ter. Mean­while, her mother is the longest­stand­ing Omega am­bas­sador—23 years r un­ning of “Cindy Craw­ford’s Choice”—of an A-star line-up that also in­cludes Ni­cole Kid­man, Ge­orge Clooney, Daniel Craig and Ed­die Red­mayne.While other lux­ury watch man­u­fac­tures act out the gen­er­a­tional theme in their cam­paigns, Omega is the only one that can claim three am­bas­sadors from a fa­mous fam­ily.

“When I was about six years old, we went to the Bei­jing Olympics as a fam­ily with Omega, and it was one of my favourite trips I’ve ever been on in my en­tire life,” Kaia re­calls. “I re­mem­ber ex­pe­ri­enc­ing how they were as a fam­ily and I think that’s what made me want to work with them. I love be­ing part of Omega es­pe­cially along­side my fam­ily, be­cause that’s more qual­ity time we get to spend to­gether.”

“It’s very im­por­tant that she’s been in the f a mil y,” s t a t e s Ray­nal d Aeschli­mann, Pres­i­dent of Omega.“When she was born, Omega was al­ready in their lives. We know her. I had met her many times—one of the last times was when we were in Hong Kong, when she trav­elled with her mother at the age of 14 for Omega.”

“The brand must mean some­thing to me, not just me put­ting my name on some­thing I don’t have a re­la­tion­ship with,” Cindy said, when I asked her back then about what makes her de­cide to con­nect with a brand.“The rea­son why I’ve af­fil­i­ated my­self with Omega is that it makes sense with what I do and it evolves with my life.The qual­ity is great, yet not so elite that a reg­u­lar per­son can’t af­ford it.” Ac­ces­si­bil­ity and val­ues were what she spoke about through­out, now mir­rored through “Kaia’s Choice”—stylis­ti­cally, the Omega Tré­sor not only ap­peals to her gen­er­a­tion, but is also the most ac­ces­si­ble watch within Omega’s of­fer­ings.

Be­yond prod­uct and im­age, Cindy has al­ways in­volved her chil­dren in her ded­i­cated work with the phil­an­thropic pur­suits of the brand. Last year she took Kaia to Peru to sup­port the pas­sion­ate work of Or­bis In­ter­na­tional’s Fly­ing Eye Hospi­tal spon­sored by Omega.

“Go­ing on the Omega Or­bis trip and see­ing how they used their plat­form to help other peo­ple was re­ally im­por­tant to me,” Kaia shares. “My gen­er­a­tion has a lot of light on what is go­ing on in the world, so it’s im­por­tant to help where you can, es­pe­cially with some­thing you are pas­sion­ate about.” Such gen­uine in­ter­est, pro­fes­sion­al­ism and downto-earth­ness cer­tainly casted a glow­ing light on young Kaia, where­upon af­ter the Or­bis trip, Omega signed her on as their youngest am­bas­sador ever with the an­nounce­ment at their “Her Time” ex­hi­bi­tion dur­ing Paris Fash­ion Week last Septem­ber.

“It’s not a coup; it’s about the long re­la­tion­ship that I as a CEO want to make of­fi­cial,” says Aeschlim­man about the de­ci­sion to bring Kaia into the Omega fam­ily.“‘Her Time’ was a big event [for the an­nounce­ment], not just be­cause she was start­ing the Chanel show. It was very clear for us that she would have this ca­reer. It was all or­ganic, part of the bal­ance and an ex­tra­or­di­nary suc­cess. It would be dif­fer­ent if Kaia were to be a world ski jumper; that is not re­ally Omega’s ter­ri­tory.Tré­sor is about emo­tion and beauty.The ad­ver­tis­ing is also about that mo­ment.”

In t he s pi r i t of t hei r “l ong re­la­tion­ship” and fam­ily val­ues, iconic pho­tog­ra­pher Peter Lind­bergh—who has pho­tographed Cindy for decades— was com­mis­sioned to cap­ture ex­actly that “emo­tion and beauty” of the Craw­ford-Ger­ber fam­ily, all laid-back and lov­ing in their Mal­ibu home and beach. Shot in his sig­na­ture black-and­white, the por­traits of Kaia bare­foot, salty breeze in hair, and re­laxed in a black suit were se­lected for the Tré­sor’s global com­mu­ni­ca­tions, a beau­ti­ful con­trast to the high-oc­tane fash­ion cam­paigns she star s in, show­ing her ver­sa­til­ity and, more than that, her warm per­son­al­ity.

Lessons from her fa­mous mother (aka the “good girl” of the ’80s su­per­mod­els, some of whom raised hell while oth­ers didn’t get out of bed for less than US$10,000)? “My mum tells me to not do any­thing you don’t want to do and to fol­low your in­stincts, and she does a re­ally good job of lead­ing by ex­am­ple,” she shares. Ob­vi­ously, her mother has also been coach­ing her on her killer cat­walk, which she’s made her own.“Peo­ple tell me I look like my mum, which I take as a com­pli­ment, but I wouldn’t call it that ei­ther; it’s about hav­ing a good role model. I wouldn’t care if she was a model or not a model. The val­ues she taught me have stuck. I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate her.”

One last ques­tion be­fore Kaia gets up for her next in­ter­view, and the next, un­til her show call at the big launch event that night, where she wears a 2018 black ver­sion of the red Ver­sace her mother fa­mously wore to the Os­cars in 1994.What is the mean­ing of time for you? “You shouldn’t let time pass with­out ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it to the fullest,” she de­liv­ers with sage-like se­ri­ous­ness. “Live life in the mo­ment and don’t take any­thing for granted.” That night, she does ex­actly that: She owns it, and with that daz­zling smile, to­tally loves it.

Kaia Ger­ber in Ber­lin for the launch of the Omega De Ville Tré­sor Steel and di­a­mond De Ville Tré­sor watch, $7,050, Omega

Be­hind the scenes of Kaia Ger­ber’s cam­paign shoot for the Omega De Ville Tré­sor col­lec­tion, shot by renowned fash­ion pho­tog­ra­pher, Peter Lind­bergh

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