Super Cecilia: 30 years of catwalks and covers
Muse to Mario Testino, go-to model for Helmut Lang and multiple Vogue cover star, Cecilia Chancellor truly is fabulous at 50. She tells Emily Cronin about catwalks and confidence
ecilia Chancellor has a thing about horses. As a child, the model daydreamed of being a mounted policewoman: ‘The only job I could think of that involved horses – I don’t know where the police part came in.’ Whenever she entertains thoughts of moving on from fashion, notions of studying horsemanship in America follow close behind. Then there was an unforgettable shoot with photographer Mario Testino in Iceland. ‘The location was across this volcanic landscape and we had a pony to carry all the dresses,’ she recalls. ‘It slipped on something and got spooked – it just took off. You could see these dresses flying in all directions. We had to abandon the shoot for the next five hours, wandering around this lunar landscape, collecting frocks.’
The corners of her eyes crinkle. ‘There were some really good moments like that,’ she says of the early 1990s, when she also travelled to Baja California, Spain, Brazil and Peru with Testino. Not every model would be so willing to trek around the world and chase flying frocks – but Cecilia isn’t just any model.
Now 50, she’s spent three decades in front of the camera. Nearly 6ft tall, with a serene, aristocratic beauty, she’s come to embody more than one fashion moment. Lord Snowdon called her ‘the face of 1985’; nearly a decade later, in 1993, she appeared in the issue of British that crowned ‘London girls’ the keepers of the new spirit of fashion. Below
Cecilia walking for Prada, 1997