Mariacarla Boscono on the Reign of the Supers and Her Comme des Garçons Debut – Vogue.com
In the taxonomy of supermodels, Claudia Schiffer and Mariacarla Boscono sit at opposite poles. If the German blonde epitomized the sun-kissed bombshell in the 1990s, the leonine Italian has a delicate intensity straight out of an Ingres painting—or, as it turns out, this season’s Givenchy campaign. It is against this backdrop that Boscono, nestled on the sofa in a Manhattan hotel room on a recent afternoon, playfully unspools the story of her first Comme des Garçons runway show. The year was 1997, and, at 16, she had never heard of the Japanese label. “They found my Polaroid, booked me as an exclusive, and sent me all the way to Paris,” Boscono recalls. “For me, fashion was Versace, Avedon, Claudia Schiffer—and I said, ‘My god, I don’t know how I’m going to look like her!’ ” The resourceful teenager bought a miniskirt and heels. She caked on foundation in an ill-suited shade; a half-baked blowout left her looking “like Mafalda,” the wild-maned cartoon character. By the time the hair and makeup artists, Julien d’Ys and Pat McGrath, arrived on the scene, Boscono felt herself humming with anticipation: “I’m finally going to look like a model!” Instead, the transformation was classic Comme: pale face, heavy black eyes, a punk feathered Mohawk. It was baptism by creative fire.
Twenty years later, the 36-year-old model and longtime Riccardo Tisci muse is still ablaze. Boscono joined the social media butterflies on the Fall runways for Chaneland Versace; Peter Lindbergh recently photographed her for a black-and-white portfolio in Italian Vogue. And the Rome native has just signed on as the face of Borghese, a local skin-care range undergoing a revitalization. Known for its purifying Fango muds (a new exfoliating polish arrives this spring), the line taps into Boscono’s interest in the city’s ancient bathing culture. The ritual of it all—scrub, mud, steam—is as Italian as cooking, she explains: “It’s part of who we are.” She’s quick to rattle off her pit stops abroad, like New York’s Wall Street Bath & Spa and Le Bristol in Paris, where she gets in a swim.
Boscono’s take on Italian chic (her pale-green dress is by fellow countrywoman Alberta Ferretti) isn’t solely the product of cultural osmosis. Her mother—“a very, very glamorous woman” who never misses a manicure—offered an early introduction to face creams and exquisite fragrance bottles, just as Boscono is setting the tone for her 4-year-old daughter, Marialucas, who already spritzes on her own perfume. Precocious, maybe, but this is a child who starred in a Givenchycampaign at a few months old. “She’s, like, the youngest top model in the world!” Boscono says with a laugh. Historic as it was to shoot the new skin-care campaign inside the Villa Borghese (the late founder Princess Marcella Borghese’s former home), Boscono is happy raising Marialucas in the Roman countryside, where there’s plenty of room for free play—and unintentional cardio. “I run a lot after my baby,” she says of her workouts of late. “I think a lot of moms are very fit. My best friend, [model] Natalia Vodianova, is so toned and strong!” Boscono says. What’s her secret? “Five kids!”