There's Something About Christy

There's Something About Christy

The iconic supermodel makes wearing men’s clothes look, well, super easy.

Photography by Cass Bird
Styled by Laura Ferrara
Story by Karin Nelson
Makeup by Romy Soleimani
Hair by Ward

Volume 2

Christy Turlington Burns can still recall, with photo- graphic precision, the look she wore to her first go-see with Arthur Elgort some thirty-five years ago. She was 15 and had just returned from Paris with her mother, where she had picked up some jumpsuits and slouchy tops from the French label Naf Naf. “I wore one of their t-shirts with black pegged jeans, black flats, and a bob,” she says, noting that her style hasn’t changed much. “I’ve always been pretty low key when it comes to fashion.”

Aside from a stretch in the Eighties when she was obsessed with designer jeans—“my father would come back from Asia with fake ones,” she laments—Turlington Burns has never been into trends. Her wardrobe is filled with simple, classic pieces she wears time again. “I live in boys’ jeans and loose, button-down shirts,” she says. For dressier affairs, which she’s loathe to attend, she’s inclined to sport a tailored suit, over a head-turning dress. “I just feel more comfortable in pants,” she explains. “And I like to have pockets.” For her, “less is more.”


ONLY HEARTS tank bodysuit; OFF-WHITE c/o
Virgil Abloh track pants; Her own Adidas sneakers
(worn throughout).


DRIES VAN NOTEN blazer; SOLID AND STRIPED swimsuit.

It is a philosophy that applies to her modeling career, as well. After being discovered at 14 while horseback riding in Miami, the northern California native earned legendary status as one of the original—and arguably most-adored—supermodels of the late Eighties and early Nineties. Yet despite the excess and all-out glamour of the era, the most iconic images of her, not to mention her favorite, are the more stripped- back ones, particularly those for Calvin Klein.

“They were so natural and clean; there isn’t that sense of the Eighties,” she explains of the black-and-white pictures shot by Bruce Weber and styled by Tonne Goodman. “I’ve worked with a lot of brands, and none of them feel like me the way Calvin did.” Turlington Burns could—and should—fill a book with the stories behind each shot. “That was done in Carmel, in a beautiful house on the side of a mountain overlooking the Pacific,” she recounts of one oft-referenced Calvin picture from 1989 in which she’s cooly reclining in a caned chair, dressed in a check blazer, high-waist jeans, and a pair of dark shades. Turns out its languid appeal was a happy accident. “I broke my toe getting off my hotel bed,” she explains. “I couldn’t be on my feet much, so I’m lying down in all the shots.”

Then there are the sensual, sparing pictures by the late Herb Ritts— or “Herbski,” as Turlington Burns called him, after he started jokingly adding the suffix to everyone’s name. Photographed in the warm light of California’s golden hour, the images seem to capture Turlington Burns at her truest. Her most treasured are from a 1989 series taken for GQ magazine that was accompanied by her first interview. “We shot the whole story at Herb’s house, which he had just renovated and was so proud of,” she recalls. The few clothes she wears, including a pair of Levi’s, were her own. “He was so much fun to work with. I just adored him.”


Vintage trench coat; GUCCI men’s pants.

Looking back at her career, Turlington Burns also has fond memories of all the far-flung trips she took—like to Russia with Vogue, where she met the champion chess player and prima ballerina with the Bolshoi at the time—and the intimate moments she shared with the creative teams. She also pines for that Peter Savic-styled pixie cut she briefly sported in 1990. “I was inspired to get it by Linda [Evangelista], who had so many hairstyles then,” she explains. “It was so simple and clean and liberating; it’s nice not to have anything to hide behind.”

These days, Turlington Burns spends much of her time running Every Mother Counts, a non-profit devoted to improving maternal health, which she started ten years ago after experiencing her own life-threatening complication following her daughter’s birth. “We’re a long way from solving the problem, but we’ve helped to shape legislation,” she notes. When the project is appealing and her schedule permits, she dips back into modeling. But if she’s keeping it real, and she always is, she doesn’t miss the frill and fuss of the job. “I just don’t have the patience for it,” she says. “I prefer to take things easy.”


GQ Magazine, April 1989

Photographed in the warm light of California’s golden hour, Herb Ritts’s images seem to capture Turlington Burns at her truest. Her most treasured are from a 1989 series taken for GQ magazine, pictured here, that was accompanied by her first interview. “We shot the whole story at Herb’s house, which he had just renovated and was so proud of,” she recalls. The few clothes she wears, including a pair of Levi’s, were her own. “He was so much fun to work with. I just adored him.”


Elle Magazine, September 1989

I’ve worked with a lot of brands, and none of them feel like me the way Calvin did. That was done in Carmel, in a beautiful house on the side of a mountain overlooking the Pacific,” she recounts of one oft-referenced Calvin Klein picture from 1989 in which she’s cooly reclining in a caned chair, dressed in a check blazer, high-waist jeans, and a pair of dark shades. Turns out its languid appeal was a happy accident. “I broke my toe getting off my hotel bed,” she explains. “I couldn’t be on my feet much, so I’m lying down in all the shots.”




CHAMPION hoodie; R13 x CARHARTT pants; Vintage
EMANUEL UNGARO blazer; Stylist’s own leather belt.



Photographer’s own vintage t-shirt; NIKE track pants.


DRIES VAN NOTEN blazer; SOLID AND STRIPED swimsuit.






JIL SANDER+ jumpsuit;
SOLID AND STRIPED swimsuit.


“I LIVE IN BOYS’ JEANS AND LOOSE, BUTTON-DOWN SHIRTS.”


Vintage men’s shirt; Vintage LEVI’s jeans.



Vintage men’s shirt; Vintage LEVI’s jeans.



ONLY HEARTS tank bodysuit;
OFF-WHITE c/o Virgil Abloh track pants.




SICKDAY SURF SHOP trucker hat;
RAF SIMONS coat.


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