Exclusive Q&A: NZ's first model to close for Chanel

By Zoe Walker

Ashleigh Good (right) is the first NZ model to close for Chanel. The brides walked in the Spring Summer 2013 Haute Couture collection in Paris this month. Photo / AP
Ashleigh Good (right) is the first NZ model to close for Chanel. The brides walked in the Spring Summer 2013 Haute Couture collection in Paris this month. Photo / AP

Ashleigh Good closed the Chanel Haute Couture show last week, in what we believe is a first for a New Zealand model. Walking as the traditional couture bride, the 1.8m-tall Good was one of two - designer Karl Lagerfeld's way of showing his support for gay marriage. "Couture is the pinnacle of all fashion shows and closing for Chanel is like a rite of passage," explains Good's agent Rose Packard-Dube, "It is an awesome achievement for a model who has only been modelling a year."

The England-born, NZ-raised model was "discovered" by Packard-Dube last year while waiting at a North Shore bus stop, and has since become a go-to for Givenchy: her first modelling job was walking for the brand in March last year, and she recently featured in its menswear show and its pre-fall 2013 lookbook. That's on top of appearing in shoots for Dazed and Confused and Style.com, and in shows for Balenciaga (who cut her hair just for the show), Alexander Wang, Missoni - and now closing Chanel. The 20-year-old talks to us exclusively about her Chanel coup.

Closing the Chanel Couture show, wow! How does it feel?

It was amazing! I almost cried afterwards because it was so emotional, it was a big thing for a lot of people. I just remember being so happy, I was smiling like a child on the runway. I feel so lucky to have played such a role in fashion while I'm still so new. I'm honoured those at Chanel wanted me to walk the aisle, or runway, wearing such an anticipated dress, and to walk with Kati was great, she is a wonderful woman and a great model, I really look up to her. I'm forever grateful to the whole team at Chanel for the wonderful experience.

What was it like working with Karl?

Karl is great! To be honest he is such a funny, down to earth, normal man, plus he works so hard. I was so nervous when I first met him, being such a huge part of fashion and a major icon. I really enjoyed working with him and the whole team at Chanel, he is the face but there are a lot of people behind the scenes that bring it all together.

Tell us about being in the Chanel atelier, for fittings and so on?

It's a wonderful house to work with. Everyone is so polite and kind and caring, you feel like part of a huge family. It's busy close to a show as there is a lot to do, but everyone plays their part and it all runs smoothly.

The two brides concept was Karl's way of supporting gay marriage. How does it feel to be a part of that?

I'm honoured to play a role in supporting gay marriage. I have so many friends and colleagues who are of homosexual orientation and I support them all. Hudson (Karl's godson) walked with us - he is so cute - to support the adoption and/or conception of children by same sex couples, although for me it would be sad to grow up without a mother or father, I think if you are gifted into a home where your parents want you and love and cherish you then what better gift to have.

What was it like walking with Hudson?

He is adorable! What a lucky kid huh? He was very cute and well behaved. I think he was less nervous then I was. It's always great to have him backstage. It brightens everyone's mood.

Tell us about the gown you wore?

It was beautiful, it was so light, it felt as if I was floating. With such intricate detail and made to fit me, it was really something special. I loved every minute I was in it.

What do your parents think of your success?

They are super-supportive. Their Facebook profiles are full of photos of me, it's a little embarrassing! But I know they are proud. I've come a long way and worked hard but couldn't have done it without them. Best parents ever!

Your first ever show was Givenchy, which they booked you for exclusively. What was that like?

It seems like forever ago that first trip to Paris. I'm still as nervous every time I go down the runway as I was that day. I still work with Givenchy and I really admire designer Riccardo Tisci. He is a dark and somewhat romantic designer and I love to work with him. As my first job as a model I would have to say it was an amazing experience and really started the ball rolling with my career.

You also walked in the Givenchy menswear show recently. Are menswear shows different to the womenswear?

Less stress, definitely. The boys are really cool and more down to earth then what I would of thought. I enjoyed the show and hope I can do more men's shows in the future. I think it gives us girls a sense of empowerment.

You've walked Balenciaga, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, but what has been your highlight?

Chanel Haute Couture. I've never felt so proud of myself. It was truly a magical show and the whole experience is something I will never forget.

You walked Balenciaga last year, and they cut your hair for the show. How do you deal with things like that - do you mind?

I'd be lying if I said no. I miss my long hair but I have learnt to let go. Hair is hair it will grow back. Now I'm glad they cut it. It has helped my career so much. And I see my hair on a lot of mood boards and in editorial. It's become quite a do.

What brands and designers do you like yourself - is your wardrobe full of Givenchy now?

My wardrobe is minimal. I have a few things from Givenchy, Alexander Wang, Acne, Proenza Schouler. One designer I like is Christopher Kane, his stuff is really cool, but I like so many designers, too many to list, so many creative people.

What next for you?

Everything! I have a busy Fall/Winter show season coming up and I expect to be flat out. I want to focus on editorial this year; it's something I really enjoy. I also hope to further the work I do with my current clients and hopefully get some more. Basically, I'm going to work really hard to further my career as best I can and hopefully I'll have some time to spend at home and relax.

- VIVA

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