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Two generations one choice

photographs by PETER LINDBERGH

An extract from OMEGA Lifetime - The Family Edition

On the morning Peter Lindbergh arrived in Malibu to shoot the ultimate family portrait, the weather was perhaps a little too good. With temperatures predicted to reach the high 30s, California’s legendary sunlight would be fixed on full-beam, all day. But thanks to the world-renowned photographer’s unflappable good humour and a constant flow of bottled water, the photo shoot would progress perfectly, helped in no small measure by the grace and professionalism of the subject matter, who also happen to be one of the most photogenic families in the world.

Cindy Crawford, her husband Rande Gerber and their children Kaia and Presley, call Malibu home, so the commute to work was a breeze. And the shoot will reunite old friends. The man behind the camera is no stranger to Cindy Crawford, who had worked with Peter Lindbergh many times before, most notably on the iconic supermodels photoshoot which also featured Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz and Christy Turlington, and led to one of Vogue magazine’s most famous covers. This shared history gave Cindy Crawford great confidence in Lindbergh’s ability to make everyone on the shoot feel comfortable and relaxed. Describing Lindbergh as a photographer who “captures a natural, timeless beauty”, Cindy Crawford was hugely impressed by his Malibu images, in particular those of Kaia and Presley, which are certain to leave their own enduring mark as iconic fashion shots for the current generation. Though having a famous mother (and exceptional genes) no doubt gave Kaia and Presley special access to the fashion world, their strong work ethic and impeccable manners have made them catwalk favourites in fashion shows across Europe and America. Despite having ‘walked’ for many of the world’s top designers, including Burberry, Chanel and Versace, Kaia appears to take it all in her stride. When asked about the one fashion item she couldn’t live without, she answers “white sneakers” and her attitude to social media is to keep it fun, rather than a modelling career calling-card, despite the obvious professional advantages of having more than two million followers: “I like to show people who I really am through (social media), it’s one of the only unfiltered things in the world.” Her brother Presley shares the same unpretentious approach to the work of modelling and jokes that a young man’s fashion essentials are “a T-shirt, pants and shoes”. A keen surfer, he’s just as interested in keeping an eye on the waves as on the photographer’s lens, but for now he’s where he wants to be, saying “the best career advice I got from my Mom is don’t do it unless you want to.” A passionate photographer himself, Presley’s day observing Lindbergh proved to be a valuable lesson from a true master.

Joining the Omega family

As Peter Lindbergh’s Gerber family portrait was commissioned to commemorate the inclusion of Cindy Crawford’s children Kaia and Presley into the Omega family, the brand’s watches would be a vital part of the models’ wardrobe with Cindy and Kaia opting, not surprisingly, for the dressier and more feminine Constellation models, and Presley and his father choosing the robust and sporty Speedmaster and Seamaster Planet Ocean watches. The welcoming of Kaia and Presley into the Omega family was in many ways a formality, as the young models were literally, in the words of their mother, “born into it”. Cindy Crawford has been with Omega for over twenty years and has joined the Swiss brand at events all over the world, taking her children with her. The popularity of Omega’s Constellation was reinforced in 1995, when it became “Cindy Crawford’s Choice” as part of the watchmaker’s marketing strategy. The association between one of the world’s top supermodels and one of the world’s most popular watches for women went far beyond a mere advertising presence. Cindy Crawford actually provided valuable design input for the next makeover of the Constellation range launched in the same year, and she also helped to present the Quadra – the first-ever Constellation with a square case – at the Louvre in Paris in 1999. With three models under one roof, it goes without saying that the Gerber family is a long way from typical. Husband and father Rande Gerber, highly successful entrepreneur (and reluctant model) is supportive of his talented children’s life in front of the lens, but maintains a balanced view that seems to run in the family: “The fact that they’re having fun with it is really the most important thing.” Of course, Cindy Crawford has already blazed the trail her children are now taking, so the young models will not be short of valuable advice. However, the protective mother of two, who has her own online following of almost three million people, is cautious about the growth of social media and its often-intrusive gaze. “I think it’s such a great tool to have, to help tell people who you are and what you love or what you believe in, but it’s also a big responsibility and as you’re young and figuring out who you are, sometimes it’s easier to make mistakes, so it’s a double-edged sword, like a lot of things. It can be great but you have to think before you push post.” Jetting off on exciting trips to the world’s fashion capitals is no doubt fun, but also involves hard work and long hours, so both Rande Gerber and Cindy Crawford insist that spending time with family is an absolute priority. Busy lives, often spent apart, call for simple shared moments, which in the case of this very public but mindfully private family usually means time at the beach. Only – without somebody pointing a camera.