The Fashion eZine - Supermodels
Opened Fashion Café
Campbell's next venture was the restaurant business. In 1995 she, along with fellow models Elle MacPherson, Claudia Schiffer, and Christy Turlington, and Italian restaurateur Tommaso Buti, launched the Fashion Café. The restaurant and coffee house first opened in New York City, and was situated in Rockefeller Center. Patrons entered the restaurant through a door shaped like a giant camera lens and serving staff carried cuisine down a catwalk. The decor included a collection of fashion memorabilia, from Madonna's famous Jean-Paul Gaultier bustier to one of Elizabeth Taylor's wedding gowns. Branches in London, Jakarta, Barcelona, Mexico City, New Orleans, and Manila soon followed.
By 1997, however, Turlington had pulled out of the company, and the next year, investors accused the Fashion Café of mismanagement. The New Orleans and Barcelona franchises were shut down, and Buti resigned after selling his stake in the firm. New management was called in to restore order, however, and the business continued at other locations. The New York branch, however, was later closed and the London restaurant was placed in receivership in 1998. Buti, accused of defrauding investors, was arrested in 2000 and charged with wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering, and transportation of stolen property.
Developed Reputation for Being Difficult
Throughout her career, Campbell has developed a reputation for being notoriously difficult to work with. Her temper reportedly possessed a short and fiery fuse. She has also been known to be perpetually late to assignments or appointments. In addition, she has earned a reputation for making selfish demands, such as insisting on being the first and last to appear on the runway at fashion shows. It was this difficulty which supposedly led to her temporary dismissal from Elite. Other reports, however, indicated that she resigned and was later hired back.
During a film shoot in September of 1998 for Prisoner of Love, according to Joe Warmington in the Toronto Sun, several crew members called Campbell "a 'nightmare' to work with," and one anonymous crewman called her "a spoiled child." In addition Georgiana Galanis, a Canadian assistant who had worked for Campbell for only nine days, claimed the model grabbed her by the throat, assaulted her with a telephone, and punched her in the shoulder twice. Campbell was arrested and charged with assault causing bodily harm.
Campbell did not attend the February of 2000 court hearing, but pleaded guilty in absentia to the lesser charge of assault. The court gave her an absolute discharge, which meant that she did not have to serve jail time and that she would not have criminal record in Canada. Galanis filed a civil suit, and an undisclosed settlement was reached out of court.
Aware of the problems caused by her incendiary temper, Campbell took steps to learn how to control her anger. In 1999 she spent four weeks the Cottonwood Center in Tuscon, Arizona. While at the clinic, Campbell shared a room with three other patients, and learned several anger management techniques. Part of what drove her to seek help was Campbell's fear that her anger was having a damaging effect on her relationship with Flavio Briatore, a businessman from Italy who Campbell began dating in 1999.
Campbell has given much of her time to charitable works. She has worked with the Dalai Lama rasing money to build kindergartens for poor communities. In February of 1998, she was involved with a fund raising event in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. Campbell continued to work with the Children's Fund, developing a close friendship with Mandela.
Launched Signature Fragrance
The next step in Campbell's ever-diversifying career was the development of her own line of fragrances. Produced by Cosmopolitan Cosmetics, her first perfume, Naomi Campbell, hit stores in Japan, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia in the fall of 1999. U.S. stores welcomed the fragrance to their shelves in June of 2000. Campbell was involved in every aspect of the production process. "I didn't want to just put my name on something, like I did with the Fashion Café," she told WWD. "I wanted to be involved with my fragrance every step of the way, and that meant committing myself in every way--to the promotion, to the formulation of the scent, to everything." Not only did Campbell work with Givaudan Roure to create the perfume, but she also worked with Thierry de Baschmakoff to design the bottle and outer packaging.
Naomi Campbell was only the first in a whole line of fragrances. Campbell's second fragrance, Naomagic, was released in the fall of 2000. According to European Cosmetic Markets, this follow-up was "said to free the magical attraction of a woman." Campbell turned to her favorite flower, the lily of the valley, for inspiration in creating this scent. The design for the flacon containing the perfume was also inspired by two stones that she has always carried in her handbag: a rock crystal for energy and a stone talisman for good luck.
With the success of these fragrances, Campbell planned to expand her line to include cosmetics, candles, and perhaps even skin care products. "I'm not doing this because I'm forced to financially," she told WWD. "Instead, I'm doing it because it touches me. It makes a statement about my sense of smell to the world."
In February of 2000 Campbell was still in demand as a model. However, she decided to reduce the number of runway shows she appeared in. "I find it really stressful," she told the South China Morning Post. Besides, there was only so much time in a day for the model/actress/entrepreneur, and she had several goals yet to accomplish. "Oh God, there's a lot more," Campbell said in her book Naomi, as quoted in the African News Service. "I've got motherhood to achieve, marriage and family life. That for me would be a lot more than I've achieved in my career. That's something I would really love to do in my life."
Further Reading - Books
Pictures of Naomi Campbell