While some of her peers have been busy lately reflecting on their careers in documentaries, exhibitions, and monographs, Helena Christensen is not quite ready to revisit the past. Instead, the supermodel has spent recent years diving head-first into fashion collaborations including limited collections with H&M and Anine Bing. Her latest project, a six-piece collection for the cult-favorite swimsuit brand Hunza G, is particularly dear to the Danish model’s personal interests. “I wear swimsuits more than anyone I know,” she tells W. “Not because of my job, but because I actually swim a lot.”
Christensen, who estimates she spends over a third of the year in a bathing suit, first discovered the London-based label when a friend wore one of its famous one-size-fits-all styles. She was immediately drawn to its distinct crinkle fabric and bright hue. “My mother is Peruvian and there’s a very big celebration of color in that culture,” Christensen explains. “That’s one of those little joys in life. One of the things that make me happy is waking up and putting on different colors and patterns.” Upon securing a Hunza G suit of her own and posting an image of herself wearing it on Instagram, Christensen received a message from the brand’s founder Giorgiana Huddart, and thus the collaborative partnership was born. Here, the Copenhagen-born fashion star discusses her design process, how she defines her personal style, and why you won’t see her starring in a docuseries a la The Super Models anytime soon.
You have probably worn thousands of swimsuits over the years. What made Hunza G stand out?
The fabric, obviously, is very different from other swimsuits. I know there are many other brands now that use a similar structure, but Hunza was really the first one. For me, it’s about the way they feel when you wear them, how they accentuate your body shape but at the same time feel comfortable. I mean, it’s such a small piece of clothing. It’s minuscule really. That little piece of fabric really has to work a lot.
What was important for you to include when designing the collection?
The most important thing for me was the color. This sort of faded lavender is a favorite of mine. My other half is Danish, and it’s a very maritime country in the way that it consists of a lot of islands, so water is everywhere. I have loved and craved being near water since I was very little—sailing, swimming, boats—and that stripe was sort of a nod to that side of me.
Did you choose the styles specifically so they could be worn day-to-day as well?
I have so many fun, cool bathing suits and I double most of them as bodysuits. So I kept that in mind with this collection. You can pair the one-shoulder top with jeans and a shirt on top, a gold necklace, or big earrings. The bandeau top can go underneath a really nice silk shirt with a little skirt and flat sandals. You can wear them in the ocean, but you can also wear them as a cocktail piece.
Switching gears, you mentioned recently that while you of course support your friends in the Apple TV+ series, The Super Models but it’s not something you would have wanted to partake in. Why is that?
It’s only because I would be terrified. I’m very private actually, and I would be sort of stressed out and anxious about being part of something that I know would be so public and having to do press about it afterwards. I am very grateful that the four girls did it. Now, I can sit back and enjoy reminiscing on all the great times we had. But I prefer to stay very low-key. I usually try to avoid any kind of public appearances and press other than what I have to do for work.
So we shouldn’t expect a documentary about your life?
No, not anytime soon. Maybe when I’m 98, I will finally give in and do it. Then, I won’t have to hold anything back because everyone involved probably won’t be around anymore.
Now for some Style Notes questions. When you are not wearing a swimsuit, what is your daily uniform?
All different things, but definitely colors and patterns that don’t usually go together. Vintage and secondhand pieces take up about 80% or more of my wardrobe. My closet is very disorganized, but once in a while, I pull it all out and put aside things to give away, donate, or sell. Then the rest of it I organize and about a week later, it’s all a mess again. So usually what I wear is whatever is nearest and the least wrinkled.
What is your most prized possession in your closet?
I have two pieces. One is a Sybilla dress that I got when I was about 20. It’s a very short dress with a sunset in the front, made out of different colored fabrics. The second piece is a vintage wedding dress. It’s hand embroidered all over in the most incredible stitching I’ve ever seen. The craftsmanship is just so beautiful. It’s very old, so I’m scared to wear it because it might fall apart.
What is the best fashion advice you ever received?
Everything goes and just wear whatever makes you feel happy and confident. But it’s not like anyone ever actually said that to me. I think I just realized that organically while growing up in the business from a very young age. There was so much fashion chaos all around me at all times. Every day I was surrounded by somebody else’s clothes, so I tend to have my own little personal story with my clothes. I think that’s why my Scandinavian and Peruvian heritage plays such a big role in my wardrobe, because it’s really, really me.