With a Playboy Playmate for a mother, a smoking-hot rock star for a husband, and a fashion photographer for a brother, Lily Aldridge is basically supermodel royalty. (Oh, did we mention her two sisters are also models?) Now, this natural beauty is turning her hand to design, with a laid-back, luxe collection for Velvet that has everything we want to wear this spring.
We spent the day with the down-to-earth mom in Soho — surrounded by paparazzi, naturally — to get the inside scoop on her effortless style. In between turning heads and cameras on Mercer Street, the VS angel dished her workout tips, makeup secrets, and go-to jams. All in a day’s work, guys.
“Velvet’s my longest client, and last year, they approached me and asked if I wanted to do a collaboration with them. I’ve been asked by other companies to do collaborations, and it just never felt natural or right — but the team at Velvet is like family to me so it was an ‘of course!'”
How much input did you have in designing the clothes — were you super hands-on?
“I’m super hands-on with everything I do. I was going through pictures, and looked at other models and other people’s fashion that I loved and picked pieces that I love and basically asked, ‘What do I want to wear this spring?’ I love the Ruby army jacket; I think it’s such a good spring staple…I just think it’s a mix of all my different styles in one collection.”
Aldridge wears a Lily Aldridge for Velvet leopard dress (named after her BFF and fellow angel Erin Heatherton), a Céline crossbody, and a Balenciaga jacket.
Speaking of spring staples, what is the one thing that every girl should have in their closet this season?
“I think an army jacket — it’s the perfect thing to throw over any dress, any outfit — it’s great for festivals; it looks chic with heels. It’s kind of the perfect transition between a coat for winter and a dress.”
And, what’s one thing you would never wear?
“So many things. Uggs….well, no I can’t say that. When I was walking outside just now I was like ‘I wish I had some Uggs.'”
A rock, from a rock star, paired with a vintage cuff.
Are there trends you’re not into?
“I’ve never been into the ’80s comeback vibe. There are so many things I wouldn’t wear — I’m pretty simple.”
Aldridge’s shoes are from Givenchy.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
“I think I’m pretty laid-back chic.”
Balenciaga wedges paired with a Lily Aldridge for Velvet floral maxi.
Clearly, you have amazing genes — everyone in your family is a model. Your mom was actually a Playboy model! What was that like?
“It was so cool. I’m so proud of my mom. She was a Playmate at the pinnacle of Playboy — such beautiful women, and it was shot so beautifully.”
Love that side braid, Lily!
But, was that weird growing up?
“Well, I didn’t find out until I was 12. I actually was in my dad’s art studio and I saw a Playboy and I ran upstairs and was like ‘Oh my god! Mom, Dad is having an affair!’ My mom was like…ohhhh…She tried to tell me she was in one of the mag’s party pictures. Finally, it came out that she was a Playmate because I wouldn’t let it up!”
Aldridge dresses up her look with a vintage belt and a vintage cuff.
Would you ever model for Playboy?
“No, I don’t think I would do it. It’s changed. But, the time she did it was beautiful. I wish there was a magazine like that out that had those beautiful portraits of women shot so artistically.”
And, it’s not just your mom — a lot of your family is in the industry. That had to be incredible when you were young.
“My brother is a photographer so I grew up on sets, and my sister [Ruby Aldridge] would always take me to her sets, too. The photographers would test shoot on me when I was four, and I would be hamming it up. I always loved being a part of this world — I didn’t think I would be a model when I grew up but I’m so happy that I am. It’s a great career.”
That army jacket’s another LIly Aldridge for Velvet design named the Ruby, after her lil’ sis, Ruby Aldridge.
How did you meet your husband [Kings of Leon’s front man Caleb Followill]?
“I met him at Coachella through a friend, and it was love at first sight.”
The white shirt Aldridge is wearing is called the Caleb, named after her husband, Caleb Followill.
So, what’s it like being married to a rock star? Surreal?
“No — I don’t think either of us see each other as a rock star and a model. We just are a normal couple that happen to do what we do. But, it is cool going to concerts and seeing him on stage. It’s like he’s a different person. Seeing him with the girls screaming is fun.”
It’s a whole different lifestyle…you’re on the road…girls…is it a lot to handle?
“There are not really girls…but no, I’m very confident and comfortable…he loves me. It’s so fun being on tour and getting to live that rock-and-roll lifestyle and then to come home to Nashville and be normal and go to Whole Foods.”
Céline black leather shopper.
How do you and Caleb make time to be romantic? What is romantic for you?
“My daughter is amazing and goes to bed at 7 p.m. When she goes down, he’ll cook dinner. Just being at home and having dinner together is my perfect night.”
You’re a Victoria’s Secret angel — what’s it like preparing for the show?
“It’s crazy. It’s such a huge production, and we all want to look phenomenal and we’re going to be in our lingerie in front of millions of viewers. You just work out like that extra…100 hours.”
Lily’s necklace is vintage.
What kind of workouts do you do to prepare?
“Ballet Beautiful with Mary Helen Bowers. She’s incredible; she’s changed my body in a really healthy way. It’s just amazing.”
In the days leading up to the show, what do you eat?
“A lot of salmon and just grilled vegetables with olive oil.”
A pair of red Gianvito Rossi heels and Citizens of Humanity jeans complete the look.
And, what’s your diet regularly?
“It changes. Last night we had a spaghetti bolognese and a chocolate pudding. Today, I’m going for sushi. Everything in moderation — I don’t eat hamburgers every day, but if I want a hamburger, I’ll have a hamburger. I eat really clean and healthy most of the time but I think you need to indulge a little.”
Do you have any supermodel beauty tricks or tips you can share?
“I have so many. To get that tousled look, I wrap my hair around a curling iron and then pull it out so it doesn’t look so glamorous. It looks a little more casual. I add a little hairspray and then I like to sleep on it.”
Aldridge looks almost unrecognizable in a Stella McCartney shirt, a Lily Aldridge for Velvet striped top, and a Burberry hat.
Doing that tonight! Now, what about makeup?
“I love anything that will make your skin luminous. Rosemary Swift’s line, RMS Beauty, has this amazing product, Living Luminizer, and I just put it on my cheeks and the bridge of my nose and it just makes you look healthy and glowy.”
Do you moisturize every day?
“Yes, I actually use Miranda Kerr’s KORA. It’s the best. It’s amazing. I have the hand cream and the lotion — it makes your skin feel so good. It’s organic so when I was pregnant, I was using it all the time because I wanted to use nice clean products. And, I still use them…I even use them on my baby.”
There’s that Céline crossbody again!
Do you love being a mom?
“It’s the greatest thing in the world. Being a mom is the most amazing love I’ve ever known.”
Do you have any parenting tips?
“Just give them lots of love and kisses. Every parent is different; I think it just comes naturally when you have a baby.”
You have a house in Nashville — that must be great city to raise children.
“It’s such a nice place. There are so many kids, and it’s so beautiful. We have a nice farmhouse with lots of land and animals. It’s really sweet.”
3.1 Phillip Lim shorts and Louboutins complete the look.
How did you decide to move to Nashville?
“Caleb is from there, so he brought me over. We also have a place in NYC.”
Speaking of Caleb, does he like watching you in the Victoria’s Secret show?
“Of course, he loves it! The Victoria’s Secret show for me is the one time of year that I can be a rock star. I watch him play these incredible shows in front of hundreds of thousands of people, and finally I have this show that I do that he can come and be so proud.”
Do the models get competitive with each other?
“We’re all really good friends, especially the angels, because we see each other all the time…I’m not competitive at all; you just be the best you can be.”
We’re getting a strong Audrey vibe off this photo! In case you were wondering, Aldridge’s wearing a NARS lipstick in Red Lizard.
Photographed by Justin Chung
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