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

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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

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