Out of all the girls on the scene, and not just London, Amber Le Bon must be the sweetest and the most quiet. At 22, she lives with her parents in Putney, never goes out the night before a job, loves being at home with her family, cats and dogs and has been graciously safe from any Page Six slander. She says she’s quite shy and a home bunny so the need and opportunity to party or get into trouble is naturally slim. She plays the piano for fun. And she draws. And she takes photographs. “But my current obsession is guitar; it’s completely addictive,” she confides. So is she a “good girl”? She’s determined to keep you guessing: “Generally yes, but we all have a bit of the devil in us sometimes. I’m just good at hiding mine…”.
Amber and I meet up outside the Camden Town tube station a couple of days after London Fashion Week. Just a short week earlier she was standing in my line-up backstage at Mark Fast, in a skimpy canary yellow ruffle skirt and bikini top, ready to strut down the runway. By now the 5-foot-10 stunner is a Mark Fast veteran. She’s walked three seasons so far. But she still gets excited when the booking comes in. “This season I got to do shows for my three favorite designers in London!” she cheers. “I was so happy!” Amber started modeling when she was 18 after she finished school and an internship at Models1, the agency that represents her mom, Yasmin Le Bon, who after 27 years in the business is still in high demand! And it’s great to have someone for support and to talk shop with. “We have our little inside jokes,” she giggles. “We generally just laugh a lot about things together and she tells me all the stories of when she was younger, so I learn a lot from that I guess.”
I hadn’t been to Camden Market in 14 years but nothing had changed. It is still the crowded, crammed, ambiguously smelly place I remember from my student years. The maze of little streets, overpasses, basement corridors and cobbled alleys are packed with hundreds of tiny clothing stalls and souvenir shops. Some of the stuff they sell here is really over the top. I thought the raver goth scene had died but when you come to The Stables you will find more parachute, neon and cargo than your senses can handle. Luckily Amber and I had our mind set on slightly less offensive gear. There’s so many vintage stores here we could have spent a few more hours meandering.
The first place we checked out was Funky Town, a 2-story vintage shop stocked with cheap 60’s thrills. A bit further down, inside the stables, we found a funny thrift store called Vintage Planet where Amber bought a fedora, which she says gets highjacked by her younger sister on a daily basis. After winding down a few stair cases to the lower level we found a beautiful, designer vintage store that had just opened three days earlier. When we browsed through the racks of clothing – some still hanging in the plastic sleeves – moths had already found their way in. The sales woman was devastated. “We just got everything back from the dry cleaner!” she sighed at the sight of the flurry creatures. “They come from next door vendors..” We also stopped by a place called St Cyr and 631 The Ramp.
Amber confesses she’s “not the world’s best shopper”. She usually looks on-line first and knows what she wants before ventures out. “Otherwise clothes just start to jump out at me and I can’t see anything,” she says. Her usual attire consists of “black tights, a little black dress, a long dark plaid shirt, lace-up boots and a leather jacket.” Her style is all about “comfort, layering and soft fabrics like bamboo and cashmere.” She loves vintage shopping but doesn’t go nearly enough. The best piece she ever got was “an old, black leather, cross body bag. It’s been one of the most useful things I have ever bought and I was only 5 dollars!”
So what’s Amber up to this holiday season? “Christmas for me is all about being around my family, and being at home. It’s one of my favourite times of year as everything seems that little bit more magical and happier. I haven’t started Christmas shopping yet. I alway accidentally leave it to the last minute and then freak out, and tell myself that next year I’m going to do all my Christmas shopping on-line, and in July! That never happens.”