Cardigan by Vivienne Westwood Anglomania; chemise by La Perla;
boots by Miu Miu
“I feel so blessed” could be Lily Aldridge's catchphrase. It punctuates most of her sentences and peppers her conversations. Coming from anyone else it would jar, but with Aldridge it is reassuring – thankfully, she knows how lucky she is. “Blessed” with a wonderful upbringing; “blessed” with a rock-star husband, Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill; “blessed” with a one-year-old daughter, Dixie; “blessed” with a successful career; blessed, we might add, with such fine-boned beauty.
Sitting across from her in a London hotel on a wet afternoon, Aldridge's beauty isn't the kind that is miscommunicated in the flesh, as is often the case with models. It is the kind that has men quietly whispering about it at the next table, but also has women at the bar smiling at her as we leave.
“Victoria’s Secret is a part of AMERICAN culture. The Angels are strong, ICONIC women”
In one glance she is the girl next door; in a blink she turns vixen. Men want to sleep with her, women want to be friends with her – it is a universal allure that makes her an ideal Victoria's Secret "Angel".
“I think of it as being super-girlie, not sexy,” Aldridge says of the underwear label. “It's a huge part of American culture. The Angels, to me, are strong, iconic women who I have grown up watching.” ‘VS’ is now a rite of passage for the current generation of top models: Gisele Bündchen, Karlie Kloss, Miranda Kerr and Joan Smalls have all proudly worn the famous wings. They aren't doing it for any man, this is strictly about female empowerment. “Becoming an Angel was a huge achievement, the turning point of my career,” says Aldridge. “It's made me a household name – very few models get that chance any more.”
She sees it as a fitting reflection of her mother Laura Lyons' history as a Playboy "Playmate" in the '70s. “The Playmates were rock stars,” she enthuses. “Mom was part of a time when Playboy was amazing and the pictures were beautiful.”