Luxury meets sustainability: an interview with Luna de Casanova
Christmas is known for being the season of excess: indulgent meals, decadent gifts and lavish parties. All good fun, but none of it screams sustainability.
If you’re someone who’s concerned about consumerism (as most of us increasingly are) Christmas can be a conflicting time. We can’t ignore the fact that Christmas sees us reversing several of the beliefs and habits we stand by for the rest of the year - yet nobody wants to be a scrooge!
Balancing sustainability with luxury is something that Luna de Casanova, a former model who The Times called ‘one of couture’s most devoted clients’, knows only too well. Luna is someone whose sense of fun - in fashion and life - is irrepressible, but in recent years she’s learned to marry it with a more considered outlook on her health, wellbeing and impact on the world around her. We sat down with Luna to find out how she does it and pick up some advice for enjoying the festive season responsibly.
You are a former fashion model and couture enthusiast. How would you describe your personal style?
For me, the most important objective is to be elegant. I like outfits to have strong lines and a distinct silhouette. I’m not afraid to combine colours and/or patterns and I spend a lot of time trying to find the correct accessories to match the outfit. I don’t always get everything right first time – or even second or third time – but by the time I walk out of my front door, I’m confident that the outfit works.
In recent years, the fashion industry has come under heavy scrutiny for relying on unsustainable/unethical manufacturing processes and encouraging consumerism. You are an avid collector of couture; the opposite of fast fashion. What do you think consumers need to prioritise when purchasing clothes?
If you love clothes, it is easy to buy on impulse only to regret it later. I have a few rules I try to follow which I think help me to spend wisely. First, you need to have a clear idea of what you already have in your wardrobe and where you have gaps. Second, when you see a piece that you like, you need to determine its utility. Is it so fashionable today that you are unlikely to be able to wear it next year or is it the type of outfit that you will be able to wear for years to come? I tend to buy more of the latter, which I call ‘forever pieces’ because I think they offer better value even if they are initially more expensive. Also, I tend to stretch financially for very good quality accessories because I know that I will use them for years to come, and that I can use them to change the look of many different outfits.
For me, whatever your views on sustainability, it makes sense to ensure that you buy clothes that you will be wearing for many years. Natural textiles not only feel good on your skin, they can last a lifetime and by investing in quality, we shop less and stop supporting over-production and waste.
Are there any brands or designers that you think are doing a good job of building sustainability into their businesses?
I think all fashion brands now understand that consumers expect them to take an ethical approach to all aspects of their businesses. The difficulty is that sustainability means different things to different people which makes it hard for the brands to prioritise conflicting consumer demands. That is why I prefer to assess whether a practice is ethical rather than sustainable. For example, re-using cashmere may be a worthwhile sustainable practice which reduces the risk of over-grazing. However, if it is implemented to such an extent that it puts cashmere farmers out of business, it would be unethical. We need to improve where we are at present but we need to find a balance that doesn’t harm others.
You take your health and wellbeing very seriously, making the time to exercise and look after your body. Have you always been like this?
Yes, I always have been into health and wellness. Who doesn’t want to feel good? There are great benefits from exercise and looking after one’s body, not least that it brings balance to your everyday life. I am a huge advocate of exercise and watching what you eat and drink and the sooner you start, the better.
Your Instagram videos of your yoga practice are particularly impressive! When did you get into yoga and how has it changed you?
I first started doing Ashtanga, a very hard type of yoga, in my early 30s. I’ve had a few injuries and aches and pains along the way but yoga bring wonderful benefits, such as flexibility and balance, muscular strength, improved breathing, stress reduction and a better posture - always good for Instagram!
What are your top tips for looking after yourself - physically, mentally and emotionally?
You need to be disciplined about exercising daily. If you know you have to get up to train the following morning, it encourages you to watch what you eat and drink the night before. I also try to eat at regular times and avoid eating between meals. You probably heard that from your mother. Well, she was right about that – even if she was wrong about the other stuff!
We hear you’ve made some big changes to your skincare routine, switching from mainstream luxury brands to smaller brands that prioritise natural ingredients and sustainable packaging. What prompted this transition?
Mauro Durant [Creative Director at Dr Jackson’s] and his devotion to Dr. Jackson’s. Thanks to his insistence that I research the ingredients of the skin care products I was using every day, I began to realise that there must be a better way to care for my skin. Now, I only use products that are natural, clean and safe on my skin - no parabens, no sulphates, no carcinogens, synthetic ingredients or anything that wouldn’t be kind to my skin. As a consequence, I have dropped the mainstream brands and focused on natural products which are also kinder to the environment.
What is your current skincare regime? Do you have a favourite Dr Jackson’s product?
My skincare regime is simple.
I remove my makeup before bedtime with the 04 Coconut Melt and a cotton pad. Its organic and doesn’t irritate my eyes.
Then I use the 07 Face Wash, add a small pump of this gel on my hand, and massage it all over my wet face, before rinsing it off. It feels like I took a layer of clay off my face and leaves the skin feeling new, fresh and clean.
Finally, I apply the 02 Night Cream over my face, neck and around the eyes, and go to sleep after sipping a cup of Relax Tea.
This is all I need.
What do you think is the secret to ageing gracefully?
There is no secret or magic formula, you just need to accept that you are not going to be twenty forever, no matter what you do. Once you accept this and can cope with it without resorting to plastic surgery or fillers, it is all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and feeling good about yourself.
A positive attitude, a healthy lifestyle, and commitment to the people and projects most dear to you, will ensure that you age gracefully.
Where will you spend this Christmas?
In the frozen North, surrounded by family, friends, and dogs!
What's the best Christmas gift you've ever received?
An annual subscription to Vogue when I was thirteen.
Where is your favourite place to spend Christmas?
What would you like to find underneath your Christmas tree this year?
He can bring me anything he likes, as long as it's from Gaultier Couture...
How do you keep your skin looking healthy during party season?
I drink more water than champagne, I put on a lot of moisturiser day and night, and stay far away from smokers!
What's your advice for giving people Christmas gifts they actually like?
Never buy last minute stuff just for the sake of having to give something to someone. No matter your budget, try to give something that is meaningful, that people will use or treasure or enjoy in that moment. Think about what the recipient values as well as the environment. Don’t give junk. If you don’t have much to spend or have no time, chocolates, a bottle of wine, or a good book will always be appreciated.
What should Dr Jackson's customers have on their Christmas wish list this year?
My favourite, of course, the 02 Night Cream! This is best moisturiser I have ever tried - and I have tried many. It has changed my skin, it feels hydrated, smooth and I wake up glowing. I love it so much, I use it during the day too.
I also love the Detox or Relax Sets - these are wonderful gifts for everyone and very welcome at this time of the year.