In Scanlan with Élise Crombez
The illustrious Élise Crombez was one of the signature faces in fashion from the early 2000s. The Belgian supermodel has featured in campaigns for Prada, Jil Sander, and Valentino, and has walked for Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, and Louis Vuitton.
While on set for Scanlan Theodore Summer 22, Élise shared stories of working with celebrated photographer Steven Meisel, her ever-evolving career, and her passion for not-for-profit initiatives.
Throughout your career as a model, you have been photographed by the pre-eminent Steven Meisel. Tell us about working with the iconic photographer, and your favourite project you’ve collaborated on together.
There are too many shoots with Steven Meisel that are memorable to choose from because they were all so different and creatively surprising. It really shaped me as a model to see how all elements come together to create a (fashion)story. The research, references for hair and make-up, genius styling, and then the pure and creative moments on set. A magical collaboration that started with Steven’s vision. The first time I got to shoot with Steven Meisel was for my first Prada campaign. It felt so different and natural - as if there was another language between the model and the photographer’s eye/lens. I’ve always felt that with Steven, it’s hard to explain.
I remember getting the movie ‘La Notte’ on DVD prior to shooting it for Italian Vogue at Universal Studios in LA. Emerging ourselves in the characters with actors and extras and seeing the results appear on the board as the days went by.
You are passionate about volunteering, and ocean conversation efforts. Please tell us more about the projects you are currently working on.
I am actually volunteering in Indonesia, my trip right after Australia. I’m on an island as a Marine Conservation research assistant combining it with community work with the kids from the island. It’s a great way to learn about something I don’t know anything about in a place I’ve always wanted to experience while meeting motivated people from all walks of life. I love discovering a place that way, which is very different from how I’ve travelled for work.
Your expansive career has allowed you to live and work all over the world. Where is your favourite city to travel to?
Well, I’m spoiled to have several because of the people who live there. Lisbon, NYC, Madrid, Sydney,…Lisbon has my heart because my best friend/sister lives there. We met in a model’s apartment during 9/11. I have 2 more good friends living there now so it’s always a blast. I combine my visits there with a surf trip.
How has your career as a model shaped your sense of style? What are your essential wardrobe pieces?
Living out of a suitcase demands being resourceful and creative with my packing. I also want to feel at 'home’ in my clothes while away. Outfits have to last from morning to evening, I still haven’t nailed it quite honestly though I know that black never fails. A pair of well-fitted jeans, a slightly oversized cashmere sweater, and a silk spaghetti top have been my go-to for a while. And a comfortable heel I would adventure on a flight with if necessary.