IF SHOULDER PADS can make a major comeback, so can Christie Brinkley. The original ’80s poster girl, former horseback-riding champ and mom of three has returned to fashion as the designer of a colorful, affordable jewelry collection by Ross-Simmons (sold at Christiebrinkleyjewelry.com).
» EXPRESS: Designing seems like an interesting way to experience another side of fashion. Did you enjoy it?
» BRINKLEY: I did! The collection is a reflection of what I love. There are peace and love symbols, but also a lot of items inspired by the outdoors. I’m a big gardener and an environmentalist, and you see that in the floral designs. I also love the wild west and horseback riding — I was a National Cutting Horse Association champion back in 1991! — so, there are elements of Native American jewelry in there as well.
» EXPRESS: As a former model, you’re usually associated with fashion. Is jewelry also a passion of yours?
» BRINKLEY: I’ve always loved jewelry. Having been a model and having traveled around the world, from Kenya to Hong Kong to wherever, I’d always try to extend my trip and stay for a few more days. I’d go to the marketplaces and buy loads of stuff from the indigenous culture — fabrics and furniture and lots of jewelry.
»EXPRESS: How would you describe your style?
»BRINKLEY: I like to have fun with my different moods. I guess you could say I’m very American, especially with the idea of America being a melting pot. If I’m going to one of my daughter’s concerts, I’ll try to be a little more rock ‘n’ roll — maybe one of my vintage 1970s concert tees with a blazer, jeans and funky jewelry. If I’m going to an event out in the Hamptons, where I live, I might wear a beautiful dress from Ralph Lauren or Donna Karan.
»EXPRESS: You sound like a pretty hip mom.
»BRINKLEY: My kids always have an opinion about what I’m wearing. The other day, my son actually said, “Mom, you can’t wear those jeans anymore. They’re so over.” Three kids all with different opinions can be rough.
»EXPRESS: What do you think of the return of ’80s fashions?
»BRINKLEY: It’s crazy! At some of the fall runway shows, the designers said they modeled the girls after Brooke Shields and me, with our hair and makeup from back then. It’s fun, but it’s a reminder that I’m quite the relic.
»EXPRESS: Can you believe big shoulders and zippered jeans are back in style?
»BRINKLEY: My daughter Alexa will say, “I love this! It’s so ’80s!” But I always thought of the ’80s as the least stylish decade that I could possibly think of, and now it’s back. Looking at my old modeling portfolio, I can’t even believe that’s the decade I got.
» EXPRESS: What’s next for you?
» BRINKLEY: I’ve been working on my Web site, Christiebrinkley.com. I even made a Facebook page. I was resistant to all of this at first, but I’m finally joining the electronic age.
» EXPRESS: Do your kids help you out?
» BRINKLEY: They know more than me! If I need any help, I have two experts on call at home.
Photo courtesy Fabrice Trombert