The rise of model personalities who are as thoughtful, eloquent and impassioned as they are beautiful has transformed the face of fashion over the past few years. I'm referring, of course, to the new reign of supers such as Adwoa Aboah, Leomie Anderson and Edie Campbell, who are recognised for talking about feminism, diversity in fashion (or rather the lack thereof) and the mistreatment of models as well as for appearing on the cover of magazines and fronting the biggest campaigns. Leading the charge of this new generation of models is 25-year-old Cara Delevingne who has garnered a huge following (almost 41 million on Instagram, to be exact) thanks to her accessibility, sense of humour, charity and work ethic.
Despite working non-stop straddling both the fashion and film industries (as well as publishing her first novel this year), Cara still knows how to have a bloody good time. On Saturday night, Burberry invited Cara to throw a big Christmas bash at The Glory pub in Dalston to celebrate the end of the year with a stylish bang. Having first started working with Burberry in 2010, Cara most recently appeared alongside Matt Smith in the Burberry holiday campaign, captured by British photographer Alasdair McLellan, so who better to host the brand's Xmas party? Attended by Christopher Bailey, Suki Waterhouse, Rita Ora, Nick Grimshaw and Neelam Gill, among lots of other familiar and fashionable faces, the Burberry bash was the perfect way for Cara to round off a hugely successful year, surrounded by her closest friends.
Before the party kicked off, I sat down with Cara in her hotel room as she got ready to discuss working with Burberry, her perfect night out, the pressure of being in the public eye and what she'd like to achieve in 2018.
You're a big part of the Burberry family and have been working with the brand for years. What does Burberry mean to you and what do you love about the brand?
Such a lucky girl! Burberry to me represents British fashion in such a wonderful way, I think the way that they can bring together so many different fashions through the ages and still manage to bring youthfulness to this very, very dapper and sophisticated, but very cool and fun brand. And Christopher [Bailey] is incredible at bringing actors and musicians together. He really gave me my first leg up into the fashion industry and also from there, he's always supported whatever I've done, and everyone at Burberry is a friend of mine, I have their numbers, and it's a wonderful brand to be a part of.
You've just hosted a Christmas party for Burberry, and your job as an actress and model obviously requires you to go to endless events. What sets an unforgettable party apart from a mediocre party?
I think music is always very important, the people who are there, like friends, although you can go to a party and not know anybody but still have a great time. Also, just being in a very good mood. But definitely music, especially round Christmas, is always fun. I like going to parties where you can just sing really cheesy songs and all join together arm-in-arm, wishing the year well.
When you're getting ready, what are the songs that get you in the mood?
At the moment, I feel like I should be listening to more Christmas songs, but I've been listening a lot to Pharrell and Rihanna "Lemon" getting ready, I listen to that over and over again. Yesterday, we were listening to The Pogues. You've got to start playing all the Christmas songs. Something nice and light until later, when we'd have a bit of karaoke.
Which songs are guaranteed to get you dancing?
Old school hip-hop, '90s hip-hop, that would be my favourite. Or just some Spice Girls, good old '90s songs.
As you travel so much, you don't get to see your friends all the time so when you're all reunited, what would your big night out involve?
For a nice night together, I just like to get them all together and go to a house and sit and chat, because if you go out, you can't really talk.
But you like to dance though!
I do love to dance, but you can do that anywhere. You can dance in the street, in your bedroom, anywhere. But I like just sitting down, having dinner, chatting one on one with people and catching up. And I get texting is great, but when you actually get to see someone face to face and really check in with what's going on, that's the best.
Do you think your style has evolved since you first started modelling?
It's definitely changed, but it's also stayed quite the same. Comfort is very important to me, not only because I travel so much and work so much, but also because my skin is so sensitive. I just like to be comfortable and cosy, but also I'm a full believer in androgyny and wearing gorgeous dresses but also rocking a suit or wearing tracksuits.
I have a particular dress, which I have really fond memories of good times I've worn it and every time I put it on, I feel like a superwoman. Is there any outfit that instantly makes you feel empowered and super confident in?
I think when something is really well fitted to your body and you feel comfortable in it. Also I think pockets are really important because I don't like wearing a handbag. I like to be able to have my stuff on me, if it's a jacket, I can just have my wallet and phone on me. So something that's fitted and something that you can stand tall in, whether it's heels or flats, something that's comfortable and you can feel sexy but not too exposed, obviously depending on how good or bad you feel in the month!
And is there a certain person who, when you want to go out and have some fun, you call immediately?
All my best girlfriends, everyone who came to Mexico with me, all my London girls: Suki Waterhouse, Jaime Winston, Niamh [Watmore], Clara [Paget], Mary [Charteris].
That sounds like a good crowd! Obviously this year has been very busy for you, you released your first book as well as a couple of films. What is in store for 2018?
I'm filming at the moment, I'm doing a TV show called Carnival Row, I'm shooting in Prague, but that won't come out until 2019, but I'm filming that until next year. Life In A Year will come out, the film I did with Jaden Smith, I play a teenage cancer patient, he's amazing, I think it's a really brilliant film, it's deeply, deeply sad but also so uplifting. It's just a very, very important film to show and to understand how hard it is for people who not only have cancer of course, but the people around them and how it affects them. And there's a few other things that I can't tell you...
When I was speaking to Adwoa Aboah recently, we were discussing the pressures of being a public figure and being a spokesperson for various issues, from feminism to depression. Do you feel that pressure as someone who speaks openly too?
I miss Adwoa so much and she's definitely somebody I'd call if I wanted to have a good time! She is one of the most inspirational women in the world to me, I think the fact that she speaks so freely about everything is so wonderful and yeah I feel the same. I do think it's an important thing to talk about, very honestly, the ups and downs of growing up and being in the world that we live in, and not just our own problems but other people's. It's very important to give other people a voice and a platform and not only that, but just talk about the issues in the world that aren't being talked about, whatever they may be. Especially for women at the moment, women are going through so much and there's wonderful change happening, even though it's painful and raw talking about those things, even though it makes you feel uncomfortable, it's important to talk about those things, because the amount of strength it's given so many people is incredible.
Absolutely, and I think it's really refreshing to have people who are in the public eye, who seem kind of fallible or at least human, because it makes you believe far more in everything they're saying and I think that's why you and Adwoa are such great inspirations for young people.
Thank you, that really means a lot.
On a lighter note, what are you up to for New Year's Eve, what would be your ultimate New Year’s Eve celebration?
New Year’s Eve, I'm going to the Maldives. I'm so happy I'm going away on holiday, I finally get to just go on a beach and just do nothing. Unfortunately I cannot get a tan in any way, shape or form, which is sad because I just love to lie in the sun. But just swimming, scuba diving and reading and doing sport, yoga, meditation, reading my books, catching up on work and that kind of stuff.
You've spoken a bit about the projects that are coming up for 2018, but is there anything else you'd like to tick off in the coming year?
Just to continue writing and to continue with my music and acting and still trying to develop stories for women, about women, made by women, and to get women's voices heard as much as possible. And I'm setting up a charity foundation that I can link all my brands to, which can give back and hopefully I can go back to Uganda as well at some point. What else? I want to direct someday too, there's so many things, so we'll see!
Follow Cara Delevingne on Instagram @caradelevingne