Model, stylist and muse Suzanne Von Aichinger talks to JOYCE about her extraordinary journey in fashion.
Suzanne Von Aichinger is a truly worldly character imbued with an otherworldly beauty. Her style has inspired many famous designers including Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano, while renowned photographers like Paolo Roversi, Mario Testino and Ali Madhavi have captured her beauty for editorial shoots and advertising campaigns.
Raised in Canada and of German descent, Von Aichinger has graced countless catwalks and magazine covers throughout her modelling career, and now she continues her journey through fashion as a stylist and muse. In our latest fashion video feature, we caught a glimpse of how this modern goddess works her magic with Madhavi during a magazine cover shoot, featuring Hollywood film star Naomi Watts.
"There’s something nice about the (fashion) world being inaccessible -
it was very mysterious..."
“I think it (styling) just makes sense really, it’s just an extension of what I was doing as a model. It’s not art - fashion is a thing of the instant, of the moment, a few months later, what you’ve just designed… not exactly irrelevant because good design always stays, good design can wear forever, but it’s just the nature of the business, it keeps moving forward,” she says.
Today the word “muse” is overused in the fashion industry, but Von Aichinger was one of the first and original muses in Paris in late 90s to early 2000s. What made her different was her interests outside of the fashion realm, which added depth and complexity to her beauty, making her even more inspiring. Apart from being a prominent figure both in front and behind the fashion lens, she also likes to perform on stage once in a while.
“When I started to sing I was really goofing around. I’m still goofing around. I like a lot of different things, I love music, painting and art but music is probably the art form that I relate to the most,” she says.
Although Von Aichinger occasionally makes appearances on the catwalk and poses for cameras, it was the late 1990s and early 2000s that she remembers most fondly.
“You know what’s great, like in John’s [Galliano] show, Mugler, Montana… I’m always bringing them up because they’re so amazing. 15, 20 models were sent out to the catwalk in one shot. Each girl was different looking. Each girl had something specific to her, so you recognized each one. Oh that’s Simonetta, that’s Pat, that’s this girl and that’s that girl… Everyone was working the runway without any rehearsal. Somehow just work so beautifully.”
Admittedly much has changed since Von Aichinger first took to the runway all those years ago, including the rise of the internet which has made fashion accessible to almost everyone.
“There’s something nice about the world being inaccessible - it was very mysterious. I don’t know how people feel about it now because I was around way before the internet. I think people still dream about fashion. Everyone wants to be a fashion designer, a photographer a model … I guess it’s still making people dream,” she says.
Photos by Filep Motwary, Ali Mahdavi and Rene Habermacher