During a time of lockdown and self-isolation, Eva Herzigová seizes the moment to reset and reevaluate her life along with her own fashion know-how. Pulling all her industry hacks to the fore, going behind and in front of the lens, styling and photographing her own cover shoot.
Eva Herzigová needs no introduction as one of the most iconic supermodels of our time. As part of the Nineties supers that changed the fashion landscape forever – standing alongside Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, and Kate Moss – Herzigová’s bombshell presence and expressive personality paved a new path for a generation of young models transcending time and trend. “We are a close pack due to our shared history with so many stories to tell between us,” she says. “We all came from different backgrounds and all had something unique to offer. I think that’s what our secret was.”
Born in the town of Litvínov in the Czech Republic, the daughter of an accountant and electrician, Herzigová was launched on runways after winning a modeling contest at 16 in Prague, in 1989. Three years and a move to Paris later, she was cast in an instantly iconic Guess campaign shot by Ellen Von Unwerth, hitting billboards worldwide. “It was a beautiful campaign by the best photographers of our time,” she recalls with a smile. “It put me on the map, as all the biggest girls of the time were doing it.”
Her rise to fame continued and in 1994, Herzigová fronted the Wonderbra campaign. The ground-breaking if somewhat controversial images were said to have caused a number of car accidents at the time. “Looking back, the campaigns that mean the most to me are probably those for Louis Vuitton shot by Mert and Marcus in 2003 and 2008, and my 2019 images for Zadig & Voltaire. They are probably the most rock’n’roll images one can ever have,” she laughs.
Now a mother of three boys, the Czech model relocated her family from London to Italy in September last year for a quieter quality of life. There, she has witnessed the impact of Covid-19 first-hand. “I’m in utter disbelief to see the effect this virus has had on society. I only hope we will be able to protect everyone as soon as possible. It has been full-on since the outbreak in the last days of February, and we, like everyone, are learning to adapt.”
Homeschooling her children, the model’s days in quarantine are spent engrossed in education and new ways of adapting to family life. “Virtual learning has taken over my day. With all three boys at home, I’ve become a full-time teacher. I’m also very much involved in cooking and making sure we have healthy meals.”
While only time will determine the ramifications of societal shifts, it is perhaps an opportunity to reshape priorities and consider the power of reinvention. “What was quickly apparent was how much time I used to spend on social media. Perhaps I was looking for inspiration,” admits Herzigova. “My priorities have now shifted towards nature, reading, and playing games with my boys,” she says, adding that she recognizes her fortune that her home also features a garden for her kids to run around.
As someone accustomed to the global pinboard of travel and the all-consuming pull the fashion industry dictates, it seems that inspiration over aspiration may be a new point of reference. “Nature is the one thing that keeps me sane throughout all of this,” she shares. “We built an outdoor swing for my birthday on the first day of the quarantine; it has been the sweetest gift.”
Although missing her parents and extended family tremendously, Herzigová remains positive and without fear. Perhaps the chance to pause and reassess has taken priority. “I hope the pace will slow down altogether. Not just for us, but for the industries driving us,” she says. “Maybe we needed this time to look after each other and engage with our friends and families.” The slow pace has been refreshing. “I found an old box of dresses and give a peek of them in this shoot,” she says. “I wanted to portray the beauty and importance of Mother Nature that has simply been taken for granted. We need to put more effort into protecting her. She is in full bloom and thriving in this moment of pause.”
Originally published in the May 2020 issue of Vogue Arabia