Claudia Schiffer Knows Her Kids Would Face Extra Scrutiny if They Went into Modeling
Soon after she was discovered in a German nightclub at 17, Schiffer began modeling for Chanel. She quickly established herself as one of Karl Lagerfeld's darlings, often closing Chanel's shows in the early '90s in addition to being named a face of the brand. As she was becoming a mainstay on the high fashion scene, Schiffer also landed a high-profile campaign for Guess Jeans. In just a few years' time, Schiffer's career was launched to supermodel status—and she's been there ever since.
Now, more than three decades later, she's still showing us how it's done. The 48-year-old is returning to her retro roots for her latest gig, starring in a ’90s-inspired spring campaign for the boho-chic French label Ba&sh. According to Schiffer, it was a natural fit to rock flowy dresses, chunky knits, and cowboy boots for the campaign.
“I’m a huge fan of the brand and have worn their collections for years,” she tells InStyle. “My personal style has always been quite instinctive. I love anything that looks effortless.” She also loves to support labels that she admires, and that includes Ba&sh co-founders Barbara Boccara and Sharon Krief. “To me, it’s important to support all design talent,” says Schiffer. “I have so much respect for the commitment, creativity, and vision it takes to be successful. I also respect how hard it has been for women to succeed as designers, so it’s great to see the balance addressed.”
While Schiffer may not take as many modeling jobs as she once did, she certainly still keeps her finger on the fashion pulse. “I follow the shows closely and like to try new trends if they feel right to me,” she says. That being said, much like the latest Ba&sh collection, she’s also down to recycle old trends. In fact, there are a few retro styles that Schiffer manages to work into her modern wardrobe on the regular. “I still love a good pair of high waisted boyfriend jeans or a great denim jumpsuit,” she says. “I also like an oversized logo sweatshirt with some vintage statement jewelry for a night out.”
Having amassed an enviable collection of designer pieces throughout her career, you'd better believe that Schiffer enjoys taking them out for a spin every now and then. “I have an extensive archive wardrobe that I have kept over the past 30 years,” she says. “Last winter, I pulled out some old favorites from the ‘90s, such as oversized jackets and large handbags, which ended up looking very much on-trend. I also have some great pieces from the late ‘80s, which remind me of how I started my career in Paris. I’ve kept everything, really, for my daughters to wear one day. My 14-year-old has already started with the ‘90s section!”
Schiffer’s children—16-year-old son Caspar and daughters Clementine, 14, and Cosima, 8—may not be fully immersed in their mom’s fashion world just yet. But if any of her kids decided to follow in her modeling footsteps, she’d be nothing but supportive. “I will encourage whatever they want to do, as long as they try their best and work hard at it,” says Schiffer. “Having me as their mum is a double-edged sword when it comes to modeling: It may get them through the door, but they will be under far more scrutiny on the other side.”
While Schiffer has learned to handle that scrutiny and come out stronger (“I feel my best today in my body and in myself, overall,” she says), she understands that it's not an easy thing to do—especially at a young age. “Confidence is a tough thing to explain to a teenager,” she says. “There is a fine line between [confidence] and arrogance, so it’s a tricky balance. What’s important to me is that they are happy and secure, and with that, confidence can grow.”
When it comes to navigating life in the public eye, Schiffer’s words of wisdom aren’t directed only towards her children. She has some advice for the newest generation of supermodels, too. “Fame should be a by-product of success and talent—do not chase it, let it come naturally and respect it,” she says. “It can have a strange effect on yourself and the people around you. And if there is a moment when you think you are better than non-famous people, then you have lost the plot.”
Of course, in today’s social media-fueled world, access to models and celebrities is totally different than it once was. And while Schiffer appreciates its perks, she's happy that it wasn't around during the start of her career. “Social media is great for marketing fashion and beauty products, as well as providing a very effective way to manage your own exposure,” she explains. “However, what was great in the ‘90s was [that you didn’t] feel the pressure to share everything with everybody. You could still have a private life and create a mystique around you.”
Looking back on that time in her life, Schiffer wishes that she had been able “to live in the moment more and not worry about the future so much.” Now she only sees the positives when she thinks about what's ahead—and that includes her attitude toward aging. Her favorite thing about getting older? “Having more memories in the memory bank and seeing my children flourish,” she says.
“Age should be celebrated and revered," continues Schiffer. "I feel 48, and I’m proud of it. There’s a reason we have cakes and parties on birthdays, and I feel the same way about getting older each year as I did when I was a child.”