Prinsloo, center, laughs with THVM designers Brian
Kim, left, and Olga Nazarova at THVM, Dec. 12,
2013, in Los Angeles.
ANGELES — Fashion model Behati Prinsloo has plopped
down on this particular couch in this particular atelier
in downtown Los Angeles on this particular mid-December
evening to talk about her new creative collaboration
with L.A.-based denim label THVM. Thanks to a rapidly
rising professional profile — not to mention her
engagement to Maroon 5 frontman and "The
Voice" coach Adam Levine — she’s doing more
than introducing a dozen pieces of apparel to the world.
She’s been introducing herself too.
that Behati (pronounced Bee-OTT-ee) Prinsloo is exactly
new to the scene.
started modeling when I was 15 or 16," says
Prinsloo, 25, who was born in Vanderbijlpark, South
Africa, and raised in Grootfontein, Namibia. "I got
scouted in Cape Town, moved to London for a year, and I’ve
been living in New York City for the past eight years
a look that can morph from runway glamazon to Woodstock
ragamuffin in an instant, she’s compiled an impressive
catwalk CV, including runway turns for the likes of
Chanel, Prada and Miu Miu, and ad campaigns for H&M,
the Gap, Tommy Hilfiger and Marc by Marc Jacobs.
also earned her wings, appearing in the high-profile
Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show for the last seven
years, having started out as the face of the label’s
Pink brand in 2007 before making "Angel"
status in 2008. For the 2013 show, which aired Dec. 10
on CBS and was seen by 9.71 million pairs of eyeballs,
she hit the runway in skimpy outfits that included a
bodacious Buckingham Palace guard with gilt-edged wings
and a smoldering bra-and-pantied snow angel.
which keeps track of such things, currently ranks her at
No. 14 on its list of "sexiest models"
(between No. 13 Irina Shayk and Erin Heatherton at 15).
photo shoots and on the runway, Prinsloo comes across as
so flawlessly beautiful it seems time, space and
dimension might well slow in her presence. But in
person, her wide beatific smile and fresh-scrubbed look
are pure girl-next-door, and it’s not her beauty but
her demeanor that stands out — nonchalant, laid-back
and playful. She’s quick to laugh (a real belly laugh
too) and she pretty much gambols into a room she could
just as easily strut through.
doesn’t seem to have the trappings, or sense of
entitlement, that are supermodel standard issue these
days, arriving at this particular interview without an
entourage (though a driver waits in the car outside) and
wearing what she says is pretty much her everyday outfit
when she’s not being paid to wear other people’s
clothes: black jeggings, a baggy black T-shirt, a
vintage denim jacket, black wide-brimmed Rag & Bone
hat — and a good-size diamond engagement ring on her
finger, of course.
just love being comfortable," she says. "I can’t
put my style in one word. I’m drawn to something
different or old, more of a feeling."
notion of dressing with ease and comfort is exactly what
made her a good fit with THVM, says co-founder Brian
Kim. The L.A.-based brand — whose name is an acronym
for "This Here Very Moment" and pronounced
"them" — was launched in 2009 by Kim, his
wife, Olga Nazarova, and their business partner, Nicola
Scagnolari. Kim, who designs THVM along with Nazarova,
says the line was envisioned as a simplified,
stripped-back response to the overwrought,
over-embellished and over-priced denim of the time.
Stores that sell the made-in-L.A. jeans, which range in
price from $110 to $250, include American Rag and Mohawk
really great. She has this really natural
sensibility," says Kim. "She could wear very
flashy things or very sophisticated things and pull them
off with ease."
a kind of humble elegance," Nazarova adds.
kind of had been following her — this was pre-Adam
Levine, by the way — and we wanted to do a
collaboration," says Kim. "And we were
thinking about our usual route of art and music."
then Scagnolari suggested looking for a model instead.
"Today’s models are essentially rock stars for
people who follow fashion. And she was the one who came
to mind," he says.
looked at a lot of punk inspiration," Prinsloo
says, explaining how she began developing the
collection. "And I loved this pair of
black-and-white striped pants. It was very English. And
it all came together from there. We decided to keep it
in black, white and red. Since it was such a small
collection, we wanted to keep it simple and not over the
Behati in This Here Very Moment capsule collection,
which will be rolling out to retail in late January and
early February, consists of just 14 pieces: five jeans
(a skinny jean in two washes, two versions of the
boyfriend jean and a high-waisted skinny jean); a red
tuxedo-striped pair of leggings; the black-and-white
striped trouser; two mid-length, lightweight unlined
coats; a knit tank, a blouse and three screen-printed
T-shirts. Retail prices range from about $105 for a
T-shirt to $462 for a coat.
of the T-shirts is dominated by an outsized silhouette
of a red bat, which also appears in a smaller size on
the leather patches on the back of the jeans.
asked about its significance, the model’s face lighted
just obsessed with bats and always have been," she
says. "As a kid we used to have these huge fruit
bats that would just sort of (wrap themselves) around
the clumps of bananas, and I was just fascinated by
them. ... It was a way of making this something more
pulls another T-shirt off the rolling rack and holds it
out for inspection. The words "deep sea" fill
from a Lykke Li song (‘Follow Rivers’)," she
says. "When something goes wrong or whatever, I’m
like: ‘I’ll follow you deep sea.’ It’s been
something I’ve always said to my friends. It’s kind
of like you’re saying you’d go to the ends of the
Earth with your friend."
though her fiance recently launched a denim-based line
of his own (the exclusive-to-Kmart Adam Levine
collection, which had its debut in the fall), Prinsloo
says it isn’t as if the couple spent countless hours
talking about rivets, denim and trim like a pair of
garmentos. "We’d kind of taken a break when this
(project) came up," she explains before giving
People magazine’s 2013 sexiest man alive a
good-natured ribbing: "Mine is so much better! He
totally knocked me off — I did it first!"