Inguna Butane: exclusive interview

07/07/2015

Exclusive interview with fashion model Inguna Butane for Fashioned by Love Blog / www.fashionedbylove.co.uk / Inguna Butane for Stella magazine June 2016 (photography: Bruno Barbazan) via D Management
"I never thought I was that special..." confessed Inguna Butane. Quite a statement considering that her career included work with Valentino, Chanel, Dior, Galliano, Bottega Veneta,  Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Carolina Herrera, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace... Perhaps if she did, then I wouldn't be so lucky to interview her - it would be literally trying to reach for the star(s).

Inguna Butane, the beautiful darling Inguna... The Latvian superstar and top model, she's been one of my favourite faces of fashion for years. I dabbed her "my Bottega Veneta Girl" and my "girl in that Michael Kors dress", treasured the editorials and simply loved her face so very much. 

Inguna Butane photographed by John Akehurst for Oggi Sensualita / Velvet April 2007 / exclusive interview / via fashioned by love british fashion blog
Inguna was the one who made me think of harmony, not beauty, for beauty alone just didn't explain the magnetism, the warmth and kindness she shared with me and the luminescent glow she had about her - it wasn't just about the perfect skin, blue eyes, or perfect features, but the synergy - and the end result is simply stunning.
It's been a dream to mine to talk to her - to begin, I reached out to people who knew Inguna, alas it wasn't meant to be. Eventually having nothing to lose, but my hopes, I contacted her directly... The day she replied and agreed to an interview, without a hint of hesitation, was one of the happiest moment of my life...

Inguna Butane for Yves Saint Laurent Beauty 2006 campaign / exclusive interview / via fashioned by love british fashion blog
Lets start from the very beginning... What was your childhood like?
Ok (smiles)... I was born in Riga and spent all my childhood there. Living outside the "big" city, enjoying nature, lakes and rivers, woods and fields, claiming the trees, ice-skating in winter - all I can say, it was wonderful! Really simple, but so close to nature! Still the best memories of my life!

You know, I live my second life at night, in my dreams, and most of the time I go back to those days of me growing up there, walking the same streets, seeing my friends, sitting in the grass in front of my house...

Did those memories make any impact on your style and the way it developed?
When I was a little girl, it wasn't my priority at all... I was wearing whatever my mum would get for me, also the times were not so easy... not much choice to go for and not much income in my family either. At the end, it didn't matter! I was a happy little girl who played violin since the age of 4, went to art school and was always busy creating things - paintings, decorating.

Inguna Butane in Elle Czech Republic / exclusive interview / via fashioned by love british fashion blog
You still play?
Yes, violin was a big part of my life, and I still play sometimes, when I have some free time and in a mood for it.

Ironically, I visited the Baltics with my parents the year you were born, so I can remember, even from a child's point of view, how different Riga, Vilnus and Tallin were compared to the rest of the USSR... The style was very European, Mikhail Baryshnikov was born there, you had Dzintars and Laima Vaikule... The atmosphere felt more style-forward and creative. What was it like for you? 
My dad is a painter, he is Latvian, and I spent a lot of time going with him on art getaways, exhibitions, artists meetings and dinners. As a result I was surrounded by beautiful things and interesting people most of the time.

And my mum comes from Siberia, Ural mountains... She taught me a lot of Russian culture. I think it was a beautiful and very special mix, they both gave me. I grew up as such a patriot of my country that I love so much and try to go there as much as I can, bring my son there, to his roots, too.

Inguna Butane on covers of Vogue Germany July 2006 (photography: Mark Abrahams), Stiletto magazine #6 Spring/Summer 2005 (photography: Anthony Ward), Vogue Joyas November 2013 (photography: Alvaro Beanud Cortes), Vogue Joyas June 2009, Vogue Italia / Beauty June 2005 (photography: Greg Kadel), Harper's Bazaar UK September 2011 (photography: Liz Collins)
How did you get into the fashion industry? You once mentioned that you were more interested in being an interior designer, not modelling...
I did and still am interested in interior design, I did studies for that, too... And I love going it daily at home! But I never thought of being a model when I was young, you are right! A family friend convinced me to go and take part in an international beauty competition in Latvia called Baltic Beauty, it was back in 2001... I so didn't want to... But went with a push from my friends and to my surprise, won it! I was so shocked! It was so unexpected! I was still a school and didn't travel straight away after taking part in this new experience.

Inguna Butane in Michael Kors for American Classics / Harper's Bazaar US January 2005 (photography: Alexi Lubomirski) / exclusive interview / via fashioned by love brutish fashion blog
How did you career as a model evolved after that?
I took time, finished school, took care of my mum and grandparents, and only when I turned 18, I went to New York for the first time, with Women Management. That's where it all started, where my career took off, where my life took a new turn.  I have to say it was challenging, new, exciting, sometimes scary, but wonderful!

Inguna Butane, Doutzen Kroes & Snejana Onopka for Dolce&Gabbana Fall/Winter 2005 campaign (photography: Steven Meisel) / exlcusive interview / via fashioned by love british fashion blog
It took you just a couple of years from your debut at Fendi to being chosen as one of the top models of 2005, appearing on a cover of Italian Vogue and becoming the face of Dolce&Gabbana... You were one of those few very special girls from Eastern Europe back then - Vanity Fair even dedicated an editorial to you... Did you feel special? Famous?
It all happened in such a natural way I didn't realise people got to know my name... We all worked together all the time, we became one big family - I didn't need to feel more special or famous! It was beautiful, fun! And I am so thankful to all those people out there who helped me become who I am today!

Talking of that Vanity Fair shoot... Have you stayed in touch with any of the girls?
Yes! We all stay in touch, through all those years, we still try to see each other as much as we can, even now we all have families, kids, live all around the world... And yes, of course, I have a few true friends who I really love and can always rely on...

Inguna Butane at Bottega Veneta Spring/Sumemr 2007 and 2008 shows / exclusive interview / via fashioned by love british fashion blog
You are the model I strongly associate with Michael Kors (and his SS 2006 collection) and Bottega Veneta and the brands campaign, which you made absolutely unforgettable... I always wanted to ask what those Bottega campaigns meant for you and what was it like to be a part of those shows?
That's so sweet of you! Thank you! Relationship between Bottega Veneta and me turned into something more through all these years working together... We became like a family. I truly adore and am so thankful to Tomas Maier for believing in me and making me the face of Bottega for many years. It was magic, so unforgettable, so special! All the legendary photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists... What an experience and pleasure to work with!

What about your work with late Alexander McQueen? You were a part of his "Widows of Culloden" show...
Of course I remember everything! It was amazing. Even that the shows are quite a stressful moment for everyone involved in them, these moments are magical! Alexander McQueen was one of the sweetest, shy, nice people out there... I loved working with him, seeing in in the process of creating all his master pieces... I really miss him...

Are there any other shows or collections you will always remember as highlights?
It is so hard to mention one... They were all so special to me... Now, when I look back... different moments, different feelings, different phases of my life... They all have a special place in my heart and memories.

And of course, lets now forget the Victoria's Secret...
VS was huge! I never thought or imagined I could take part in such a show one day! I am so touched and, again, so thankful to all the VS team for believing and trusting in me!

What was your family reaction to your incredible success?
They were happy, I guess, but me being happy and healthy has always been most important for them. That's what matters for my family the most.

What and who kept you grounded? And how have you managed to combine your personal life and work - and most importantly succeed at both?
My mum, my husband, my son (who is 5 now) and all my close family and friends... And by nature I am really down to earth, too... Even that I love to daydream and fly away in my thoughts, I also love to come down and feel the calmness of the Earth.

Being a model it's not always easy, and even today I have to make choices and choose the jobs I do... But for me these days it is my family that counts the most! To be here for my growing son, take care of him, my house, my life... and still manage to work and travel. It's all about making the right choices, I guess.

Inguna Butane photographed by Tina Barney for Bottega Veneta Spring/Summer 2007 campaign / exclusive interview / via fashioned by love british fashion blog
What does family mean to you?
Everything! Literally - everything! All I do and who I am - it's all for them.

You got married in 2009 after having modelled so many beautiful wedding dresses during your career... How did you choose the one for your own special day?
My gorgeous wedding dress was made by my darling friend, Liborio Capizzi, he has his own clothing line now, but I met him when he was the right arm of Mr Gianfranco Ferre. It was a surprise for me from Liborio.... I didn't see the dress, didn't try it on until the day of the ceremony! And it was just perfect! Beyond beautiful!

Inguna Butane at Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Chanel Resort 2010, Chanel Couture Fall/Winter 2009, Chanel Pre-Fall 2009, Behnaz Sarapfour Fall/Winter 2008, Blumarine Fall/Winter 2008, Valentino Couture Spring/Summer 2007, Bottega Veneta Spring/Summer 2008, Christian Dior Couture Spring/Sumemr 2007, Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2006
Was it difficult for you to leave the catwalk and focus mostly on editorial/campaign work?
It wasn't too difficult... Even though I know for some of my friends it is... I was never really too crazy about the shows, it was fun, exciting, really important for a while, but I've always loved the creative part of the photography and film... It is another sort of engagement.

What is your life like these days? What keeps you busy? And makes you happy?
Now I live in my lovely family in Ibiza, it is our dream came true life! We absolutely love it here and try to enjoy every minute of it! I travel for work, so does my husband. I take care of my little boy, his school, his education and activities. I do lots of yoga, swimming and mediation and my biggest passion now is nutrition. I would love to do it once day on a professional levels.

What's the first thought that goes through your mind when you wake up these days?
I run to give a morning kiss to my loved ones and thank God and life for bringing us to a new day!

Inguna Butane / exclusive interview for fashioned by love british fashion blog / photo via Boden
Photo source: Inguna Butane for Stella magazine June 2016 (photography: Bruno Barbazan) via D Management, Inguna Butane photographed by John Akehurst for Oggi Sensualita / Velvet April 2007, Inguna Butane for Yves Saint Laurent Beauty 2006 campaign, Inguna Butane in Elle Czech Republic, Inguna Butane on covers of Vogue Germany July 2006 (photography: Mark Abrahams), Stiletto magazine #6 Spring/Summer 2005 (photography: Anthony Ward), Vogue Joyas November 2013 (photography: Alvaro Beanud Cortes), Vogue Joyas June 2009, Vogue Italia / Beauty June 2005 (photography: Greg Kadel), Harper's Bazaar UK September 2011 (photography: Liz Collins), Inguna Butane in Michael Kors for American Classics / Harper's Bazaar US January 2005 (photography: Alexi Lubomirski), Inguna Butane, Doutzen Kroes & Snejana Onopka for Dolce&Gabbana Fall/Winter 2005 campaign (photography: Steven Meisel), Vanity Fair April 2005, Inguna Butane at Bottega Veneta Spring/Sumemr 2007 and 2008 shows, Inguna Butane photographed by Tina Barney for Bottega Veneta Spring/Summer 2007 campaign, Inguna Butane at Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Chanel Resort 2010, Chanel Couture Fall/Winter 2009, Chanel Pre-Fall 2009, Behnaz Sarapfour Fall/Winter 2008, Blumarine Fall/Winter 2008, Valentino Couture Spring/Summer 2007, Bottega Veneta Spring/Summer 2008, Christian Dior Couture Spring/Sumemr 2007, Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2006, Inguna Butane for Boden

9 comments:

  1. This was really inspiring to read. Inguana is utterly beautiful and she is also a very interesting person....and so down to earth.

    wonderful interview!

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  2. Wow, such a fascinating interview! Inguna's so beautiful, humble and grounded.

    Tara x

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  3. This was certainly a wonderful interview. And I am so happy she agreed and allowed you to interview her. I really loved reading this. Then again, I always love your blog :).

    Kia / The House of KTS
    www.houseofkts.com

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  4. She's such a beauty! Thank you for sharing this interview. It was lovely getting to know her on a personal level!

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  5. "I never thought I was that special..." I think now we know for sure that she is. A wonderful interview, Natalia - I love Inguna and getting this inside look at her life was just fabulous.
    xox,
    Cee

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  6. Wonderful interview! I have that Michael Kors picture in one of my lookbooks :)

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  7. What a great interview! she seems to be so nice and gosh, that beauty!!!!

    xxx from Paris
    www.once-in-paris.com

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  8. Наташенька,дорогая!
    Какое полное,хорошее,интересное и "живое"интервью!:)
    Как хорошо на душе после прочтения Вашего разговора с Ингуана....
    Такая она прелесть,с горячим,любящим сердцем и топ модель!

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  9. Какая она нежная и красивая, невероятная женственность! Снимки ее поистине впечатляют, а интервью с такой выразительной и яркой личностью - чрезвычайно интересное. Спасибо, Наташа!

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