Tuesday night, one of my lifelong supermodel dreams came true as I stood face to face — or more like face (mine) to shoulders (hers) — with Christy Turlington at the new Toms store in Nolita.
The legendary supe — who, yes, looks perfect in person — joined Toms founder Blake Mycoskie to celebrate a bag collaboration between the philanthropic shoe brand and Every Mother Counts, her non-profit dedicated to maternal health around the world. Turns out, the two go way back. "I met Christy five or six years ago at the Clinton Global Initiative as Every Mother Counts was getting going," said Mycoskie, as he explained how their own humanitarian interests came together in this collab.
Turlington has been quite busy. The last time we saw her, she brought a dose of high fashion to one of the biggest, most-hyped tech events of the millennium: the launch of the Apple Watch. "Yeah, that little thing?" she joked. That Apple brought one-third of The Trinity to the high profile wearable tech announcement was surprising for a few reasons — one being that Silicon Valley sartorial leanings bring hoodies, turtlenecks and flip flops to mind.
Though, Turlington feels that it's not just the Bay Area that's been embracing a more relaxed approach to style. "I feel like, generally, fashion is much more relaxed — and I'm a very relaxed person when it comes to fashion style — so I appreciate working environments and companies and organizations that have that philosophy," she told me. "It's interesting, you can't tell who has what when you look out at an audience, and I think that's nice. It's sort of a democratization of people and what they do."
Hence the rise of athleisure, a category in which Turlington was actually a pioneer. Inspired by her dedication to yoga, she partnered with Puma in the late '90s for a high-end line called Nuala before the term "athleisure" even existed. The collection was sold in stores like Barneys Co-Op and Harvey Nichols. "I don't want to market it as athletic clothing; it really is lifestyle," she told Time back in 2001. That sentiment sounds quite relevant for 2015, as the athletic leisure-wear market has begun to tip from burgeoning to oversaturated.
In fact, her label was even sold at Lululemon, one of the first purveyors of yoga pants acceptable for everyday wear. "Lululemon was a boutique in Canada when I had my line, and they sold both my skincare line [Sundãri] and Nuala, and then they started to do a private label and then it was like huge growth," Turlington recalled. "So yeah, timing is everything. But if that had hit, I probably wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now. So, you know, it all works out." Yes, it does.
For each purchase of the Toms x Every Mother Counts tote and bag, $5 will benefit Every Mother Counts and TOMS will help provide a safe birth for a mother and baby in need.