Elle (France) January 2003

Milla Jovovich Finds Her Style
By Stéphanie Chayet, Photos by Peter Lindbergh

Time to run off to the island of Pantelleria, off Sicily, Luc Besson’s actress-muse rediscovers her first profession: modelling. Charmed by her allure and her energy, Giorgio Armani has proposed that she incarnate the image for his Emporio line. An incorrigible fashionista, Milla Jovovich has committed herself to the game with skill.

Milla Jovovich descends from her room at the Mercer hotel in New York, and orders a cheese omelet. As the advertising campaign binds her, she is dressed in an Armani outfit: a beige shirt, worn out embroidered jeans, as well as a black leather hooded jacket discovered from the men’s collection. “That’s what Little Red Riding Hood would have worn had he been a biker,”, she says, laughing, in a slightly low voice. “Mr Armani has plenty of splendid outfits to offer”. Photographed by Peter Lindbergh on the volcanic island of Pantelleria, off Sicily, this angular and androgynous Slavic beauty has reincarnated the poses of a famous Italian actress for the new Emporio Armani campaign, whose face she shall be during at least two seasons. For this occasion, she has rediscovered the Milanese couturier, whom she thought to be “classical, conservative, reserved for billionaires”. “I was mistaken,” she says, lighting a cigarette. “In fact, he has a thousand strings in his bow. It’s a man who’s not afraid of taking a risk. I didn’t have any trouble integrating him into my wardrobe.”

Milla and fashion, that’s a long story, sometimes a turbulent one. At the beginning there was the mother. “A crazy experience. All my girlfriends were jealous of her clothes. But I loved to watch her dress up”. During the 1970s in the Soviet Union, Galina Loginova, Jovovich’s mother, is a renowned actress. But when the family secretly crosses the Iron Curtain in order to settle in California in 1981, she is compelled to give up her career. Being the only child, Milla is taken upon to satisfy her ambitions. “I became her creation, her master project,” she explains. “She had a very clear idea, as to what she wanted me to become.” First, acting courses at the age of nine, then the first magazine cover in front of Richard Avedon’s lens at 11: during all these years, Milla is shaped by this mother-Pygmalion, who teaches her how to take a stand and clothes her at Gaultier’s .

Results? When she leaves the family home at the age of sixteen, Milla does anything she wishes. “Because my Mum had always chosen my clothes, I had absolutely no style, no idea as to what suited me,” she remembers. “I dressed disastrously for several years”. At the time, she favors shiny silky blazers, amongst other “items for mature women, ridiculous at my age.” She wears red, gold, shoulder pads. It’s her “Ivana Trump” period. She needed time-“a lot of time”-in order to define her own style. “The trick is to find your silhouette,” she says. “That’s the starting point. Once you have the outlines in your head, it’s much easier to spot the items that will suit you.” In her case: “Never too much fabric at the waist level, that’s my golden rule”.

An assiduous fashion follower, from now on Milla Jovovich is among the first in the classy circles. She knows it: in an interview granted to ELLE USA, she has recently boasted of not having “a need for a stylist, in contrast to most Hollywood actresses”. Subscribed to “the best-dressed” lists, this record of achievement very much valued by the American press, she displays and inexhaustible wardrobe where second-hand outfits coexist with the ready-to-wear, according to the laws of art. “I love adding my own personal touch, to wear Armani items with Chanel ankle boots with a sharp toe, and bright pink socks,” she says. Miuccia Prada’s muse, who posts Milla her creations in cardboard boxes, Jovovich also knows how to cultivate an underground image by posing on the cover of “Dazed and Confused” magazine with hair under the arms. Her wardrobe, a jumble of finds, of hand-sewn outfits, of jeans bought in Tokyo, as well as scratched dresses, seems like the ideal cloak-room. She leaves nothing to chance: when Madness, her miniscule pet Maltese, appears scampering about in the hotel, it is in a coat with little flower patterns bought in Japan.

Sometimes though, it’s a bit too much. “I’ve so many outfits that sometimes I can’t help feeling overwhelmed. There are times when I have an allergy to fashion. I avoid my wardrobe and live in my tracksuit for days and days.” And then the confidence, the inspiration, the desire, return. “During these times, I feel like the world belongs to me and I can wear everything: Armani, Donna Karan, Prada, Chloé, Ballenciaga!” Hallelujah.

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