When I started this project, ‘Models From Elsewhere’, I pictured model apartments decorated with family mementos. Maybe knick-knacks on mantlepieces or photos tacked to a wall. But no, the reality is that models, by their nomadic nature, don’t have lots of possessions, they keep their photos as most Gen Y-ers do – inside their phones and laptops. Instead they have wearable keepsakes; in the case of Andrea Lindstrom from Union Models, jewellery, perfume, and her brothers’ sweatshirts.
19-year-old Andrea was born in Geneva but grew up in Stockholm with two older brothers. “My mother thought she was having a boy so I was meant to be ‘Andreas’. As kids we were always called ‘the boys’!” Growing up admiring the pictures in her mother’s French Vogue, the typical tomboy never related the images to herself. But at 14 she was scouted by a Swedish agency. “I loved Vogue but for me it was just pictures. I didn’t have any concept of what was involved. I never felt like the pretty girl – everyone else was more pretty and girly. The first time I was scouted, I laughed for three hours!”
This gregarious, charming chatterbox arrived in London in January (“It’s my favourite city”) where she hangs out in pubs, museums or friends’ houses when not negotiating the casting circuit. On arrival at her Holloway Road flat on a Saturday afternoon, there are sleepy bodies on the couch and a constant flow of tea-and-toast-makers passing through the kitchen where I set up camp. Through the chintz-framed bedroom window we can’t ignore the relentless drip-drip-drip of British ‘springtime’, but Andrea’s sunny spirit is unbroken. She talks us through her travelling wardrobe, revealing a model-off-duty uniform of sorts. Acne boots, graphic streetwear tees, skinny jeans. lots of skinny jeans. “I love jeans, I have 21 pairs. But then Sweden is the place for jeans. I wear Cheap Mondays, Acne, WhyRed. And I love socks too – I think that must be my brothers’ influence!” The ideal casting outfit “has to be simple and show off my features,” so black jeans and a top are standard, plus the highest pair of Topshop heels I’ve ever seen. “Yeah those are my casting shoes. But if I go out I wear Acne boots or Dr Martens. I have one black dress – I wore it for my graduation!”
I jumble up the monochrome, tomboy influences, putting her in a black, voluminous Willow top and Aries’ graphic polka dot tee. Antipodium’s boy-cut blouse is tempered with kitsch, cartoony eyes – a collaboration with Jaime Perlman. A jazzy embroidered sweatshirt by Three Floor mixes sportswear with sweet florals and a leather collar. And everyone falls in love with Topshop’s banana-print skater skirt. (Except Andrea: “Er, actually I hate bananas!”)
Added to the mix are the personal mementoes, a treasured Kenzo cap (“I’m obsessed with skater caps”), a Comme des Garcons PLAY T-shirt, a chunky bracelet belonging to her mother and as a prop, a teeny tiny Steiff teddy. “He doesn’t have a name, he’s just called ‘Teddy’, everyone in my family has one. He’s my travelling teddy, my good luck charm.” Also very personal is Andrea’s relationship with fragrance. Her parents are chemists and her father’s work with a fragrance company developed her early interest for perfume – in particular, Dior. “I would love to create a fragrance for Dior. My favourite is Addict 2 – my brother bought it for me when I was 17,” says Andrea laying out her beauty booty on pink floral bedding. “I also love Forever and Ever Dior; I bought it in an airport but now it’s not so easy to find. I like fresh, light fragrances, it’s very me. See, I’m not a complete tomboy… I used to dance ballet!”