Despite it being New York Fashion Week when we speak, Kaia Gerber has all the time in the world. “It’s crazy to hear that it’s even fashion week right now,” she says, when I point out that digital shows and presentations are already going live. Pre-pandemic, she would normally be hopping from plane to hotel to show, and back again, but instead, the nineteen-year-old model is at home with her family in California.
The daughter of industry veteran and ’90s supermodel Cindy Crawford, Gerber is now a super in her own right. Starting her career a mere four years ago, she has gone on to work with every major brand you’ve ever heard of, walking for Prada, Valentino, Chanel, and Saint Laurent, for starters. With runways going virtual, she’s working from home like many of us, something she’s incredibly grateful for. Gerber is lucky, as she says, for “being able to create… I’m so glad that people are finding ways to still make art.”
She’s starring in the second edition of Coach’s “Coach Forever” campaign, a collection that aims to incorporate pieces from seasons past. Coach creative director Stuart Vevers is celebrating easy-to-wear, instantly shoppable pieces that are meant to stay in your wardrobe for years. To amp up their outerwear offerings, Coach joined forces with leatherwear heavyweights Schott NYC to make their leather jackets. Coach also tapped Juergen Teller, a frequent collaborator, to photograph the campaign via Zoom. “It’s so great because Juergen is sitting in his home and still directing you, but it’s definitely a sign of the times,” says Gerber, who was delighted to hear I couldn’t tell the look-book was shot over video chat.
ELLE.com caught up with Gerber on Zoom to talk about all things fashion, her digital book club, and what she has been catching up on during this unexpected downtime.
What makes working with Coach, and specifically Stuart, so special for you?
What I love about Stuart is that he’s always evolving, and Coach is always evolving with the times. To be able to still work with Coach safely and to see how they’ve done such a great job creating new things given the state of the world in a safe way is really appreciated by everyone. I was just really happy to be a part of that.
What’s something you don’t miss about traveling for fashion month?
It’s crazy to even hear that it’s fashion week right now because normally I’d be working nonstop and traveling. I’m appreciating slowing down. I think in our industry, you travel constantly and don’t really have a chance to stop and reflect, so I’ve been grateful to use this opportunity to stay home and to spend time with my family and do things that we don’t have the time for when you are working a lot. My fashion month schedule is nothing compared to what it normally would be, but I’m pretty grateful that I don’t have to be living on a plane right now.
How has your style changed during quarantine?
I think I’m in the same boat as everyone— I’m living in sweatpants and workout clothes. I do think it’s nice to have a break and I think everyone wants to appear more human now. I think we all feel very connected because we’re all going through this together. The world feels less pressure to get dressed in the morning, which I think is a good thing. Being able to feel confident in sweatpants is one of the greatest gifts. I mean, even putting on pants is a win for me.
What did you finally get around to doing during this time at home?
I’ve been putting off Harry Potter for my entire life until I decided to watch every single movie in order, all the way through for twenty hours, which was a commitment. I don’t regret a single second of it and I’ll do it again and again for the rest of my life. I finally got around to reading the first Harry Potter book, and I’m onto the second now. That’s something that I’ve been putting off but I finally conquered.
I am a big fan of your book club and I love that you just did Slave Play. If you had to start a book club with your fellow Coach collection stars, what book would you choose and why?
Wow, great question. What I love about Stuart are his movie references. I think they’re so iconic, and he really has this appreciation for Old Hollywood. Maybe something by Eve Babitz or, I mean everyone who knows me knows how much I love Joan Didion so maybe her. For the next Coach campaign we’ll do a book club!
I’m saying! Coach can sell books, sell clothes.
I think everyone should have a book club. That’s why we’re doing Slave Play this month because it ties back into culture. There are so many things happening in the world right now and for me to focus on these issues and to be able to discuss them in-depth [through literature] is a nice break. It deals with all these issues, and most of the time it ties into things that we’re still going through today. That’s what literature is. That’s why I love it.
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