Naomi Campbell Does Not Belong on the NYC Subway

“Do I take it often? No, I don’t. But I have taken it!”

Nina Ricci jacket and skirt; Cornelia James gloves (throughout); Hermès bag.
Willy Vanderperre

Naomi Campbell was interviewed for Elle’s July issue, with the piece specifically focusing on Campbell’s charity work with organizations like Fashion for Relief, which the supermodel founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The conversation soon turned to sustainability, and Campbell said that during her childhood it was “always drilled into” her to conserve natural resources—“turn off the lights, don’t run water, be mindful”—and that she prefers to keep clothing rather than wastefully stockpiling new garments.

“I don’t care how old [a garment] is,” she said. “If I have a connection or an affiliation or a love of the creativity of the person who made it and the design, I’m wearing it.”

Campbell recently appeared in the Valentino prefall 2019 campaign, for which Inez and Vinoodh photographed her riding the subway in an emerald sequined cape. And so she was asked if she rides the train, a choice obviously far more sustainable than traveling by car. “Of course I’ve taken it,” she said. “And am I recognized? Yes, but if they say hi, I say hi. Do I take it often? No, I don’t. But I have taken it!”

Thank you Elle, for delivering this instant-classic Naomi bon mot.

Sure, riding the subway remains the one great equalizer in New York City, an activity that connects you with everyone who lives here. It is perhaps the city’s beating heart! It is also run down and full of rats and delays and mysterious puddles and occasionally human refuse. Certain people just do not belong down there. Naomi Campbell, surely one of the most glamorous specimens to ever walk the earth, is one of those people.

Ride on, Naomi. If we see you on the 6 train, we cannot guarantee that we won’t say hello.