Iman On Her New Platinum Collection for HSN, Why She'll Never Go Back to Modeling, and Her Reaction to Vogue Italia's Racist Gaffe

Iman says her supermodel days are behind her but she's still got the super touch at the Home Shopping Network. Her "Global Chic" collection for HSN became the second best seller in fashion for the network in three years. So when HSN CEO Mindy Grossman asked Iman to add to her best-selling under $100 collection with more luxe and higher priced accessories she embraced the challenge. It's called the Platinum Collection and it launches today. The line is comprised of bags, wallets, gloves and coats all done in real leather, suede and pony hair for under $300. I got a chance to see the collection and chat with Iman about expanding her line at a higher price point when the economy is taking a nosedive, why HSN will be her only foray into the fashion world (read: no more fashion shows or editorial for this supermodel) and her reaction to Vogue Italia's now infamous "Slave Earrings" feature.
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Leah Chernikoff
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Iman says her supermodel days are behind her but she's still got the super touch at the Home Shopping Network. Her "Global Chic" collection for HSN became the second best seller in fashion for the network in three years. So when HSN CEO Mindy Grossman asked Iman to add to her best-selling under $100 collection with more luxe and higher priced accessories she embraced the challenge. It's called the Platinum Collection and it launches today. The line is comprised of bags, wallets, gloves and coats all done in real leather, suede and pony hair for under $300. I got a chance to see the collection and chat with Iman about expanding her line at a higher price point when the economy is taking a nosedive, why HSN will be her only foray into the fashion world (read: no more fashion shows or editorial for this supermodel) and her reaction to Vogue Italia's now infamous "Slave Earrings" feature.
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Iman says her supermodel days are behind her but she's still got the super touch at the Home Shopping Network. Her "Global Chic" collection for HSN became the second best seller in fashion for the network in three years. So when HSN CEO Mindy Grossman asked Iman to add to her best-selling under $100 collection with more luxe and higher priced accessories she embraced the challenge. It's called the Platinum Collection and it launches today. The line is comprised of bags, wallets, gloves and coats all done in real leather, suede and pony hair for under $300.

I got a chance to see the collection and chat with Iman about expanding her line at a higher price point when the economy is taking a nosedive, why HSN will be her only foray into the fashion world (read: no more fashion shows or editorial for this supermodel) and her reaction to Vogue Italia's now infamous "Slave Earrings" feature.

Fashionista: So how did this relationship with HSN come about? When i came to HSN three years ago I only wanted to do accessories because that's my love. I picked up my baby blue Hermes bag today and that's how I put this outfit together. I'm an accessories girl. So when I came in I created bags and accessories, it became a huge success, and then Mindy asked me to create some fashion things and I told her, 'I'm not a fashion designer.' I've been around fashion designers and it's not an easy thing. So I created a couple of things and before I knew it the line was the second best seller in fashion on HSN in three years.

Were you apprehensive about creating a line at a higher price point when Global Chic was initially all under $100? I was very worried with the economy how it is. A customer for three year who has been shopping at a price point of under $100 and then all of a sudden it's higher? But this is about pulling in a new customer. People will look at these pieces and say, "That's HSN?" It's still mass and it's still affordable.

When I present the collection [today] it will be like a fashion show--there will be lighting like on a runway, all the models for the first time ever will have the same hair and makeup like a proper show. And i'll be on my feet in heels for two hours and I haven't done that since I was a model. We're talking about 1989. I don't stand in high heels for two hours. Who does that?

You're launching your newest collection for HSN right before fashion week--will you be involved in anyway or going to any shows? I've said it but no one ever believes me. I stopped modeling in 1989 and I've never been to a fashion show since then. I was at the tents at Lincoln Center as an interior decorator--I did the Mercedes lounge--and when they saw me everyone was like, 'Come to a show!' But I'm done.

Why do you say that with such finality? Because I worked with literally every designer. So when I stopped I was invited and there was no way I could do one and not do the other and if I did everybody, and I know my industry very well, they will say, 'Oh poor her, she wants to come back.' Come on, I know fashion people. The reason I lasted this long is because I'm not around them all the time!

You were one of the pioneering women of color in this industry. What's your reaction to Vogue Italia running a feature titled "Slave Earrings"? I'm a huge fan of Franca Sozzani and Vogue Italia's website because they have a whole section on black models. Is it controversial? Yes. The naming of it, I don't get it. I sometimes wonder in this age of reality shows has it become part of the language--the more controversy the more [buzz] it creates. But yeah, I didn't like it. Slave does not make it ethnic. Mind you, it's not lost in translation--the word slave, we know what it is. They might as well have called them "n***** earrings." For somebody like Franca Sozzani, who did that whole black issue for Vogue, somebody should have said something.

Take a look at Iman's Platinum Collection for HSN.