When Karl Lagerfeld chose 53-year-old Inès de la Fressange to star in Chanel’s current ad campaign, he brought home a point that the fashion industry has slowly been waking up to for several seasons: Great style has no expiration date. Consider the fact, for example, that most of the first-name-only supermodels still working today—and there are many of them—are past 40. “Women of a certain age” have always been credited with possessing the wisdom of experience; finally we’re ready to talk about their beauty, too.
Model Edie Campbell, 20, doesn’t have to look beyond her own family to absorb that lesson. Since being discovered by Mario Testino at 15, she has been cast in ads for Burberry and Marc Jacobs, has walked the runway for Chanel, and has been shot by Bruce Weber. And she’s the third generation of her family to work in the industry. Her mother, Sophie Hicks, is a former fashion editor at Tatler and British Vogue who also served as a stylist to Azzedine Alaïa. In 1987 Sophie embarked upon a career in architecture, designing about 100 Chloé boutiques, stores for Paul Smith, and Yohji Yamamoto’s stunning Paris flagship. The matriarch of the clan, Sophie’s mother, Joan Hicks, was a successful model in the Fifties who frequently worked with photographers Norman Parkinson and John French.
“They’re three generations of women who have affected fashion in a memorable way, all really women of their time,” says photographer Tim Walker, who shot these portraits of Joan, Sophie, and Edie—along with Edie’s 15-year-old sister, Olympia, who has just starred in Walker’s short film, “The Lost Explorer.” Afterward, the family gathered at Sophie’s mews house in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood—Olympia with French homework in tow—to swap stories about their lives in fashion.
Joan, how old were you when you started?
Joan Hicks: I was 18, and my father was rather horrified. This was in the days when you were supposed to do nothing but stay at home and help Mother. But some friends suggested I go to the agent Jean Bell, and it went from there. Back then you lugged around a suitcase full of jewelry and had to do your own hair and makeup.
Sophie Hicks: Did you get more for modeling undies?
JH: I never would do undies!
SH: Edie does undies.
JH: Jean Bell would never represent a girl who did that!
Were people better behaved then?
JH: David Bailey and Terence Donovan both worked for John French then, as the boys who put the film in the cameras. And they were extremely well behaved in those days. David Bailey’s later behavior was a new era, but by then I was a mum and stayed at home.