Photographed by Mario Testino
The absolute It-est—if that’s a word—of London It girls, Cara Delevingne, is nowhere to be seen. It’s a late-spring morning, and Cara has arranged to meet me at Grace in Belgravia, the most exclusive spa in town.
I wait in the cavernous café area and sip a delicious green juice. Still no Cara. A staff member calls her. She’s minutes away.
At half past ten, a ravishingly disheveled, exquisitely beautiful girl strolls in. Here is Cara, politely, very Britishly shaking my hand. She is tall, with a sporty, slim physique. Her face—well, it’s more divine in real life than in any photograph. Her eyes, set wide apart, an eerie pale-green color, are the shape of a Siamese cat’s, her dark eyebrows are scruffily unplucked, and her slightly olive skin has the suggestion of a tan. Her dark-blonde hair, which she later tells me she highlights only once every eight months with either Orlando Pita in New York or Neil Moodie in London, is unbrushed, a lion’s mane. Her adorable snub nose gives her, at 21, a childlike look.
“Hello. Nice to meet you,” she croaks.
Cara has overslept. “I always wake up ten minutes before I have to be anywhere,” she explains. Luckily she lives around the corner with her parents, so she hasn’t had to tumble too far.
Cara’s parents are one of London’s best-connected couples. Her mother, Pandora, herself a famous society beauty, is the daughter of Jocelyn Stevens, former publisher, chairman of English Heritage, and good friend of Princess Margaret. Pandora has raised her three daughters (Cara has two sisters: Poppy, 28, a model, and Chloe, 30, a biomedical-science graduate) and worked as a personal shopper at Selfridges. It is rumored she has helped dress the Duchess of Cambridge for duty. Cara’s father, Charles, a property developer, was a “debs’ delight” in his youth. His grandfather was the politician Hamar Greenwood, and his late aunt Doris Delevingne was a society figure close to Winston Churchill. In other words: You couldn’t have groovier parents.
Charles, says Cara, heavily influenced her own style. “He wears stuff like very bold-colored trousers with a different-colored suit jacket, and then makes jokes about it, like, ‘My trousers are yellower than my teeth.’ He’s a very funny man.”
Cara’s look today is hipster girl-about-town—cropped Burberry jacket in the heaviest, softest leather bedecked with gold hardware, emerald-green suede Acne drainpipes, a maroon McQ sweatshirt appliquéd with silver birds, black chunky Chanel high-top sneakers, and a Mulberry “Cara” bag, which she codesigned with the company in whose quirky ad campaigns she has starred for the past year. She wears her clothes with such insouciance that she literally makes you want all of them.
Her personal style—and personality—is a huge part of Cara’s appeal. She is not averse to arriving for a show dressed in an animal-suit onesie. She can pull off red-carpet glamour, with her numerous tattoos peeking out from under an evening dress, with true British cool. Her day-to-day look—variations on the theme of jean shorts, T-shirts, crazy sunglasses, and beanie hats—is her signature and has inspired groups of look-alikes who pop up outside fashion shows. Her parents’ home, she says, is becoming clogged with piles of unopened boxes of hats and T-shirts sent by admiring brands.
She flops onto a buttoned sofa. “I’m just so tired!” she says. She certainly seems weary: The catlike eyes have undisguised dark circles underneath. During the previous week she had flown to Shanghai and back for Burberry, then to Scotland for Mulberry’s campaign shoot, and had gone out with Kate Moss, helping her friend promote her new Topshop line. She thinks she might have been to L.A. just before that but isn’t sure.
She strides up to the bar and orders a Breakfast Booster drink, then sits down, bringing a bowl of kale chips with her. “You’ve caught me in a funny moment,” she says. “Until a month ago I was eating pasta, pizza, pancakes. I’ve just discovered nice food. I didn’t know what quinoa was, and now I love it.”
We discuss our plan for the day. “Let’s go to Hackney City Farm this afternoon, and I can play with the animals!” she cries, suddenly enthusiastic. She has just “made friends with a baby lamb in Scotland” while she was shooting Mulberry. The shepherd named it Cara. After the farm trip, Cara said she’d go out with me that night to an art opening I’d been invited to.
But, she asks, can we both start our day with a massage? She wants to be relaxed for the interview. And she wants me to be relaxed for the interview. “I never used to go to the gym, and now I’ve started working out properly,” she says. “I’m in pain from too much kickboxing.” She’s having to get fit for a film starting imminently. “I love acting,” she says. “I do it as a hobby. If I was able to have that as a career. . . . Hopefully the fashion thing is a stepping-stone. I was so worried when I started modeling that it would hinder my chances of acting.”
Others might see Cara’s “stepping-stone” as the Giant’s Causeway of fashion. In the last couple of years she has walked multiple global runways, appeared on numerous magazine covers, been cast as a face for everyone from DKNY and Yves Saint Laurent Beauty to La Perla and Fendi, and picked up more than five million Instagram followers en route. Along with Kate Moss, Cara is the face of Burberry’s new fragrance, and she has landed the Chanel campaign for spring 2015.
The “hobby” is not going badly either. Starting with a small part in Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina in 2012, Cara has since made several films, to be released over the next year or two. She plays a lead role in Michael Winterbottom’s The Face of an Angel alongside Kate Beckinsale. Winterbottom had no idea who Cara was when she was suggested for his movie. He says, “I needed someone to be full of life, energy, hope, and optimism. To represent what it is to be young and alive—Cara is that.” Other upcoming films include Mathew Cullen’s adaptation of Martin Amis’s London Fields with Amber Heard and Billy Bob Thornton; Chris Foggin’s Kids in Love; Mandela director Justin Chadwick’s seventeenth-century romanceTulip Fever; and a new Joe Wright project, Pan, in an ensemble that includes Rooney Mara and Amanda Seyfried. When I ask if she is playing Tinker Bell, Cara smiles and says, “I’m not allowed to say.”
Every spare moment, she tells me, is spent auditioning. “I’d love to work with Tarantino, Scorsese, Sofia Coppola—all of them! I love thrillers and action movies. I love good horror films. I watched them so much when I was younger that I find it impossible to get scared.” She has never forgotten the exhilaration of seeing the audience’s faces when, in her acting debut at age four, she sang her lines as Mary in a Nativity play. “I just wanted to be like J.Lo when I started. The last thing I want to be is a model-slash-actress,” she says. “But I love actress-slash-musicians.”
We head into our massages, and as I am pummeled, I contemplate Cara’s career. Designers, starved of models with character, are hooked on her charm and jokey persona.
“Cara makes everything look modern and right . . . a kind of young Coco, but free and not bourgeoise,” says Karl Lagerfeld. Burberry’s Christopher Bailey remarks on her “instinctive understanding of how to communicate, engage, and interact with her friends, followers, and fans.” The public loves seeing her goofy selfies on the Web. “When I make faces,” she tells me, “it’s because I don’t know what else to do,” adding that she feels silly taking pictures of herself trying too hard to look perfect. Her tendency to perform cartwheels backstage at shows is to dispel nerves and anxiety. The first time she opened the Burberry show, she says, “I freaked out.”
An hour later I await Cara on a wicker lounger. I am definitely relaxed enough for the interview. I read a magazine, have some tea, look at the time. Fifteen minutes pass. No Cara. Half an hour. Finally a masseuse appears and whispers to me that Cara has fallen asleep. “I went to take her some water after her treatment and she was out. Shall I wake her up?”
Dear reader, to misquote Oscar Wilde, can I say that to oversleep once for a Vogue interview may be regarded as a misfortune, but to oversleep twice looks like carelessness? It would turn out to be my own misfortune—some would call it carelessness—that I replied, “She seems really tired, and we have the whole day. Let’s let her sleep till lunchtime.”
The minutes tick slowly by, until another masseuse approaches. The whisper this time: “Cara’s friend is waiting downstairs for her. She’d like to speak to you.”
Downstairs I am greeted by a woman in her mid-20s: Cara’s personal assistant. Apparently we are not going to the farm; Cara is doing ADR—additional dialogue recording—this afternoon for a movie. Then she has hair and makeup, followed by a fitting for her Met-ball outfit with Stella McCartney, a Fendi-store launch party, and dinner with Karl Lagerfeld. This is Cara’s life now. She’s barely in one place long enough to take a nap.
Cara finally appears, looking refreshed after her rest. “I’m so sorry!!!” she exclaims, collapsing into a chair. “I fall asleep everywhere! Someone recently asked if they could publish a book of pictures of me sleeping, because there are so many.”
She is soon whisked off to her next appointment, and I return home, wondering when the sleepy supermodel will get her next kip. I call photographer Tim Walker, who has worked with Cara many times. “Every shoot I’ve done with her, she’s fallen asleep,” he tells me. “She slept for seven hours on one Mulberry shoot.” Tim has been pondering her Internet fame, too. “I have a theory that it’s to do with the fact that she looks like something from a Disney film. Disney really works well with that generation. She’s the Instagram Bambi.”
I decide to go out anyway that night, to the art party.
“Cara overslept for the interview,” I tell the babysitter.
“Of course she did,” replies the babysitter. “She was out last night with Lily Allen. It was on the Web.”
At the party for Polly Morgan, a sculptor, I gulp down a much-needed gin-and-tonic and chat with artist Mat Collishaw.
“. . . and then she fell asleep after the massage,” I say.
“Of course she did!” says Mat. “She was out till five.”
So this is what the wildly successful, hugely in-demand, overtired, overworked supermodel and soon-to-be leading actress is really famous for in England: inspiring a new national sport, checking out what Cara Delevingne got up to the night before.
A few days later, I talk to Cara on the phone. I ask if her reputation for partying—evidenced in endless photographs of her with everyone from Rihanna and Rita Ora to Mario Testino, Emma Watson, and Michelle Rodriguez—has anything to do with her tiredness. “Well, the going out is more to do with the fact that I am literally jet-lagged all the time,” she says. “I can’t sleep in the evenings. Most of the pictures people see of me are me going to work events: a Fendi dinner one night, a Prada dinner the next, and working all day.
“Actually,” she continues, adorably ingenuous to the last, “compared to anyone else my age that I know, I really go out so little.”
source: VOGUE US