Sunday, June 6, 2010

How Supermodel Iman Became an HSN Designer

Via New York Times

THE supermodel Iman hasn’t walked a runway in 21 years. Yet at almost 55 years old, with that famous Modigliani profile and copper-toned skin, she’s as gorgeous as ever.

...In 2007, Mindy Grossman, the chief executive of HSN, was convinced that any fashion merchandise with Iman’s name on it would be a home run for her television shopping network. She met with Iman, who initially resisted. “Clothing design should be left to the professionals,” Iman said.

But she did find a way to get on HSN, starting with caftans — exotic, embroidered and one-size-fits-all. “When I lived in Egypt, we always wore caftans,” she said. “I had cashmere caftans from Halston. You put on a caftan in your backyard and it’s like you’re in Ibiza.” Hers were an instant hit.

Iman’s Global Chic collection for HSN ultimately became a line of affordable accessories like a shoulder tote with turquoise-colored beading, chandelier earrings, cuff bracelets and other trinkets. Showing off her best-selling $49.95 sequin knit wrap during one HSN appearance, Iman flung it over her shoulder, fingered the cream fabric and waxed deliciously: “This light is deceiving. It does not do it justice. This is the most gor-geous, gorrrr-geous cream.”

Her distinctive baritone — an exotic accent, with a trill of the R’s — is almost as famous as her face.

Iman has a “worldly, glamorous voice that has a sense of humor,” Mr. Kors said. “She could do animated movies.”

It’s also a voice that sells: Iman’s HSN line is one of four top sellers among more than 200 fashion and jewelry brands on HSN, Ms. Grossman said.

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