Model cit­i­zen

Ari­zona Muse on fash­ion ethics, get­ting back on carbs and hav­ing a sec­ond baby. Emily Cronin (also preg­nant) shares her cin­na­mon buns

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - 21.07.18 -

Ari­zona Muse is twist­ing back­wards to check the care la­bel in­side the waist­band of her limon­cello-yel­low cropped trousers. ‘Right – these are made of 100-per-cent re­cy­cled ma­te­rial. I was re­ally, re­ally pleased when I saw that.’ She hes­i­tates, as if won­der­ing whether to qual­ify the state­ment. ‘But then the lin­ing is vis­cose, which could be good or could be bad…’

She takes a deep breath and dives in. ‘Vis­cose is de­rived from trees – yes, it’s good that it’s made from trees; no, it’s not good if it’s made from rain­for­est trees, or from trees grown us­ing pes­ti­cides and her­bi­cides that kill off all in­sects na­tive to a forested area. And turn­ing a tree into a piece of cloth is a heavy chem­i­cal process, so if you don’t have the right wa­ter-treat­ment sys­tems in place and you’re dump­ing those chem­i­cals into the near­est river, then sud­denly vis­cose is hor­ri­ble. It’s com­pli­cated.’

Mod­els are by job spec more ex­pected to know their an­gles than to fathom the finer points of fab­ric man­u­fac­tur­ing. But Muse – the leo­nine su­per­model who has opened Chanel shows, graced Vogue cov­ers and ap­peared in cam­paigns for Saint Lau­rent, Louis Vuit­ton and Prada – is also a walk­ing, talk­ing, au­to­di­dac­tic en­cy­clo­pe­dia on the subject of her cho­sen in­dus­try’s en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact. Af­ter a decade in fash­ion, and while she’s still very much in de­mand on the run­way, she’s piv­ot­ing to fo­cus on sus­tain­abil­ity.

‘It’s some­thing I’ve wanted to do for such a long time and I wasn’t brave enough,’ she says. ‘I started years ago learn­ing about sus­tain­abil­ity and fash­ion, and how ur­gently the in­dus­try needs to change. Fash­ion is very dam­ag­ing – it’s one of the most pol­lut­ing in­dus­tries in the world, and no one can ar­gue oth­er­wise. But that’s not de­press­ing. It’s ex­cit­ing, be­cause there’s so much po­ten­tial and so many so­lu­tions out there.’

Muse ad­mits that as a topic, sus­tain­abil­ity – an elas­tic term she uses to re­fer to a gar­ment or brand’s en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, rather than its eth­i­cal-trade cre­den­tials – ‘is so sci­ence-heavy that it can get bor­ing. So I wanted to do some­thing re­ally fun with it, some­thing where it would be im­pos­si­ble for peo­ple to get bored.’

To that end she’s launch­ing a line of ‘party dresses for birth­day girls’ with friend and former Matthew Wil­liamson artis­tic direc­tor Ge­orgie Macin­tyre. The range, slated for a Fe­bru­ary 2019 launch, doesn’t yet have a name, con­firmed stockists or a price list, but Muse says the first col­lec­tion will con­sist of 10 dresses with plenty of em­bel­lish­ment and vi­brant colour. She’s sure it’ll make a splash: ‘They’re go­ing to be bright, fun, life-of-the-party dresses. We re­ally want them to go out and make the world happy.’

Mit­i­gat­ing fash­ion’s en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact has felt ur­gent to Muse since she first be­gan delv­ing into the prob­lem­atic as­pects be­hind all the gloss, but the is­sue has as­sumed fresh im­me­di­acy since she learnt that she’s preg­nant. She’s due to wel­come her sec­ond child – her first with hus­band Boni­face Ver­ney-car­ron, an os­teopath to the A-list – in Novem­ber. She shared the news in an In­sta­gram post (the cap­tion read sim­ply, ‘We’re

hav­ing a baby!’) about a week af­ter the cou­ple cel­e­brated their first wed­ding an­niver­sary, in June.

Muse adores be­ing preg­nant – ‘It’s an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and I wish all women could en­joy it’ – and part of that is al­low­ing her­self to soften into the tem­po­rary state. ‘I’m so tired that I just can’t ex­er­cise. And I love to ex­er­cise! It’s not un­com­mon for me to fin­ish a class and wish it had been harder, and right now the thought of an in­door cycling class is like a hor­ror film.’

She’s hun­gry – ‘Ev­ery three hours I feel like I haven’t eaten all day’ – and is loosening her di­etary regime. She craves fruit juice and is eat­ing more sugar than usual. Carbs are very much back on the ta­ble (much to the re­lief of this also-preg­nant in­ter­viewer, who turned up to Muse’s Hyde Park flat clutch­ing a box of cin­na­mon buns, warmly re­ceived). ‘I need carbs so much. I would lit­er­ally go crazy with­out them.

‘My body’s chang­ing and that’s to­tally fine with me. It feels re­ally good, ac­tu­ally. It should change… it will change back af­ter­wards.’

She should know. Un­usu­ally, Muse’s ca­reer sky­rock­eted only af­ter she had her son, Nikko, at 19. She re­mem­bers feel­ing ‘like it was me and my baby against the world’. When he was still an in­fant, she moved far from her fam­ily in Santa Fe, New Mex­ico, to New York City to pur­sue mod­el­ling. In Septem­ber 2010, her first year on the show cir­cuit, she opened and closed for Prada and Miu Miu. Top cam­paigns fol­lowed. Though she was lonely and had ‘this con­stant fear that it was all go­ing to be over to­mor­row and that no one would choose me again’, know­ing she had a baby to sup­port also fu­elled Muse, giv­ing her the grit that US Vogue’s Anna Win­tour would ref­er­ence when she praised the model as ‘a gor­geous, smart grown-up’ in an edi­tor’s let­ter.

This time around al­ready feels com­pletely dif­fer­ent. For one thing, she no longer wor­ries that her ca­reer may be a fluke. She’s ma­tured. And she has a full part­ner in Ver­ney-car­ron. (The cou­ple – a Franco-amer­i­can duo rais­ing a bilin­gual, tri-cul­tural fam­ily in Brexit-era Bri­tain – live an in­sanely pho­to­genic life out of a flat filled with taste­ful mid-cen­tury-mod­ern fur­ni­ture.)

‘I love be­ing 29 as op­posed to 19. It feels re­ally good to be in a beau­ti­ful, com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship with my hus­band. We’re so ex­cited and in love, and I have his sup­port – I don’t feel I’m do­ing this alone at all… I feel like I was wait­ing for this my whole life. I re­ally pre­fer be­ing mar­ried.’

As with any sec­ond preg­nancy, there is an el­e­ment of the do-over. Muse is less ob­sessed with read­ing ev­ery­thing pub­lished on baby care (‘which I did when I was preg­nant with Nikko’) or the ma­te­rial trap­pings of get­ting ready for her new ar­rival. First-time fa­ther Ver­ney-car­ron, on the other hand, has that side of things cov­ered. ‘He bought a crib. I haven’t bought a sin­gle piece of baby cloth­ing and he bought the first one when I was two and a half months preg­nant. It’s so cute.’

She’s de­ter­mined to be stricter with sleep rou­tines and sched­ules. ‘Why should I be ex­hausted for four months?’ she asks. ‘Chil­dren love bound­aries – they make kids feel safe.’ And she’s go­ing to breast­feed. ‘I loved breast­feed­ing so much. It’s the best thing ever and to know that all that good stuff is go­ing into my child and build­ing up their im­mune sys­tem and the good bac­te­ria in their in­testines for ever, plus the bond­ing – it’s im­por­tant for so many rea­sons.’

For his part, Nikko, now nine, couldn’t be hap­pier about be­com­ing an older brother. Un­less… ‘He’s had a strong opin­ion all his life that he doesn’t want a sis­ter. I’m not go­ing to find out what we’re hav­ing be­cause I don’t want him to think he’ll be dis­ap­pointed,’ she says. ‘But you know, if this lit­tle squidgy bun­dle is in his arms and he finds out it’s a girl, it’s not go­ing to be a prob­lem. It doesn’t mat­ter at all.’

Be­fore the baby ar­rives, Muse is plan­ning to take Nikko to visit her mother in Mas­sachusetts for part of the school hol­i­days. She lives in an area sur­rounded by small farms. ‘We’re go­ing to go and do some farm work and get our hands dirty and learn about bio­dy­namic agri­cul­ture,’ Muse says with en­thu­si­asm. Surely a touch of soil main­te­nance fea­tures in ev­ery nine-year-old boy’s sum­mer fan­tasy, I sug­gest with an arched brow. ‘Oh yeah, he loves it.’

She re­turns to her favourite subject. ‘You know, through all my study of sus­tain­abil­ity I’ve re­alised that it’s not just about fash­ion. Fash­ion is hand-in-hand with agri­cul­ture… bio­dy­namic agri­cul­ture is the key to ev­ery­thing. You’ll see bio­dy­namic silk in our col­lec­tion. It’s amaz­ing – like gold. I was so ex­cited when I found that.’

Green eyes sparkling, it’s clear that sus­tain­able fash­ion ad­vo­cates couldn’t hope to find a more con­vinc­ing cham­pion than Muse. Al­though she in­sists that these days she wears com­pres­sion socks more of­ten than de­signer clothes, she’s on an­other plane en­tirely from the hemp-shirt-wear­ing stereo­types that have plagued the cat­e­gory in the past – and she knows what women want.

‘We want women to look good in these dresses, we want women to feel sexy in these dresses, we want women to feel con­fi­dent in these dresses,’ she says. ‘Hope­fully women will buy our dresses just be­cause they love them, not be­cause they’re sus­tain­able. But if you learn a lit­tle bit about why we made your dress the way we did, that’ll be in­ter­est­ing and ed­u­ca­tional too.’

Muse had a ‘con­stant fear that it was all go­ing to be over to­mor­row and that no one would choose me again’

Above Shirt, £49.99, Mango Com­mit­ted (mango.com). Linen trousers, £595, Alex Ea­gle (alex­ea­gle.co.uk).Right Beige silk shirt dress, £495, Joseph ( joseph-fash­ion.com). Brown leather belt, £1,120, Her­mès (her­mes. com). Sil­ver rings, from £30, Bar Jew­ellery (bar­jew­ellery.com)

Above Shirt and trousers, as be­fore. Tex­tured gold-plated neck­lace, £210, and gold-plated coin neck­lace, £210, Alighieri (alighieri.co.uk). Hair: Mark Hamp­ton at Ju­lian Wat­son Agency, us­ing Davines. Make-up: Pep Gay at Man­age­ment + Artists

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