Meet our campaign girl: Camilla Deterre
The phrase “effortlessly cool” is well-worn – particularly within the realms of fashion – but model, restaurateur and interior designer Camilla Deterre really is that.
Born and raised in downtown Manhattan, with the kind of laissez-faire attitude you don’t expect from native New Yorkers, Camilla has a strong, abstract beauty that sets her apart from her model counterparts. She’s pretty fun to hang out with too, I find out, as our freezing hands pick from a bowl of crisps in a South London car park. Swaddled in puffer coats, the irony that we are shooting a Spring-Summer campaign on a rooftop in winter hasn’t escaped us, but Deterre is undeterred (sorry) as she appears on set in a chiffon slip dress, complete with a stoicism that most would struggle to muster in the midst of November.
We chat more over lunch about London, New York, secret projects and exploring new territory…
Camilla, would you like to introduce yourself...
Hi, I’m Camilla and I’m from New York. What do I do? I do all kinds of stuff really. I guess I model, I also design interiors for restaurants and bars.
Did you grow up in New York?
I grew up in Soho, where I still live actually. Although it’s changed a lot…
It’s unusual to be a native New Yorker these days…
We’re definitely hard to come by. There’s a crew of people who I’m friends with who are all originally from New York, whose families stretch back here for generations. But it’s rare. I guess people weren’t really having kids in the city back then? Or maybe that makes sense actually…
What are your favourite places in New York?
It really depends. I like going uptown, because it just feels like you’re in a different world altogether. So different from Chinatown/ Soho where I live. The Whitney I really like – there are lots of galleries in Chelsea that I go to. I don’t really drink too much, but if I am drinking I go to Lucien and order a Dirty Martini. To eat… well I’m vegan so it’s a little more difficult but still pretty easy in New York actually. There’s a great place called Dimes that I eat at almost every day.
It’s in Chinatown near my studio. On the corner of Essex and Canal I think?
How long are you in London for? Anything you plan to check out while you’re here?
Ha, I wish… I think I have work in New York on Friday, so I’m flying home early tomorrow. So I’m only here for maybe 56 hours?
Any favourite spots in London?
I don’t know if I’m familiar enough to have favourites yet. I always go to the Tate Modern, or I go east a lot – I really like walking around Whitechapel. I haven’t found my spot though yet… I need a spot.
What do you do in your spare time?
I guess it depends on what mood I’m in, but I’ll probably go look at art. Sometimes I just go for a walk over the bridge to Brooklyn. I read a lot. I don’t really have like a hobby – does anyone anymore? Or I’ll be in the studio f*cking around trying to make something.
What kind of things do you make?
Sculpture-furniture things. But they’re secretive… I’m not ready to show the world, yet.
Or maybe it’s the world that’s not ready...?
You’ve spent time assisting some pretty mega photographers like Mario Sorrenti and Annie Leibovitz, do you think your experience ‘behind-the-camera’ helps you when you’re in front of it?
It’s definitely interesting to see how it flows, and the perspective that they’re taking versus the one that you have as the model. At that point in my life I really wanted to be a photographer, so it was super helpful. Now I’ve come full circle again and have brands asking me to shoot portraits for them, which is cool so I’ll see where that goes.
Tell me about the restaurant you just designed? How did that come about?
Two friends of mine wanted to open a restaurant, but they didn’t have any money at first so they offered me equity in exchange for doing the interior. That’s led to people approaching me about designing their bars, restaurants or whatever – which is pretty cool.
Describe your sense of style...
I think you have to be comfortable, and I mean like physically comfortable, and be able to do anything in what you’re wearing. Sometimes I see people and I’m like – you can’t even hail a cab in that – do you know what I mean? But I’d probably describe it as classic, simple, and maybe a little boyish.
How does the way girls dress in New York and London compare? How does it differ?
I think London is maybe more like LA, in that way that girls are more put-together. I feel like girls in London are more done-up. In New York the style is very functional – the extreme weather plays a part in that. Girls over here identify much more with how they dress. It feels like there are a lot more mini subcultures in London.
What is your favourite city and why?
Other than New York? [laughs] London! No, just kidding… That’s a really hard question. I just went to Mexico City and that was pretty amazing. You can really feel the rhythm there, and I could just imagine myself living there. Tokyo is great too.
Which piece from this shoot do you most want to take with you?
Those orange pants with the flat pockets on them. I’m not into sexy dressing, so all of the relaxed pieces are much more my vibe. I’d wear them with a big sweater, or a t-shirt.
What are you reading at the moment?
One is called “How To See” by David Salle, it’s about how different artists view art and it’s really interesting. I’m also reading “The Botany of Desire” by Michael Pollan, which is all about his garden – his trouble starting a garden, specifically. And how he’s like [sic], fighting with a mole. It’s pretty cute.
What is your favourite book of all time?
That’s too hard. I really like [Raymond] Carver’s short stories but I don’t think I can pick a favourite book of all time.
What matters to you most?
In life? Probably exploring new territory, or expanding – it doesn’t have to be like, physically – but just gaining understanding of something completely new. I feel like whenever I’m not growing in that way I get a little depressed.
What are you exploring at the moment?
Right now I’m looking at different materials for molding, different types of plastic that you can use for art and furniture. I don’t know really, I just have to keep learning.
Tell me where you're off to next...
I’m going to India next. Not sure exactly where yet but I just bought a ticket, so now I’ve got to figure that out. I’ll probably go south for a little bit, then just journey around. I chose India because I’m kind of over the western thing, it has all started to look the same and feel the same. It’s so saturated that now I try to always go to more far-off places with interesting cultures. I’m excited.
Interview by Charlotte Lauren Wood