With Cara Delevingne

As the neon lights of another endless New York Saturday night twinkle through the wall-to-wall glass of the studio for today’s exclusive holiday campaign shoot, Cara Delevingne is giving us an enthusiastic re-enactment of her signature dance moves. While she may be dressed like she’s just stepped out of Studio 54 in a foiled halter, you’ll never find Cara taking herself too seriously. However, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t grown into a woman who can be serious when it comes to the things she’s passionate about.

With her now established career as an actress (her most recent credit was a starring role alongside Rihanna in Luc Besson’s adventure fantasy Valerian), a newly published debut novel, Mirror, Mirror, which addresses issues around teenage mental health and the many causes she’s become involved in, her party-girl image has faded into the background. Though, as she’s keen to show us on set, Cara still knows how to light up a dancefloor in her new season crystal encrusted heels. “If you put on a classic tune, I’ll probably dance to it…Actually, even if there’s no music, I’ll probably dance anyway,” she laughs. As for the perfect party outfit, the 25-year old multi-tasker is unequivocal, “I really love to dress up – and I’m not just talking about looking nice. I do like to put on a crazy outfit and be an elf or a reindeer. Or even if I just wear a nice sparkly dress with a red nose, it’s something different and quirky—it’s never just a normal party outfit.”

Unsurprisingly then, she says it’s the MAINE rainbow crystal boots from the new Cruise 2018 collection that have caught her eye. “To me, they really represent New York and the different coloured lights of the city—that flashy outer layer. With New York being the city that never sleeps, they’re perfect and they’re also extremely comfortable,” she confirms. While her sartorial exuberance is still intact, things have shifted a notch. “As I’ve grown up, my style has changed,” she explains, “I wear less statement T-shirts and baseball caps—now it’s more a beret and leather jacket. I think it’s just matured in a way, but I still like to be comfortable in what I wear.”

A fierce proponent of a more gender-neutral approach to identity, Cara has also graduated from those sparkly mini dresses to pulling off androgynous tailoring with aplomb. “Being male or female is less ‘opposite’ now than it ever has been. I don’t think mastering androgyny is necessarily about picking something that a man would wear. I think it’s about feeling relaxed whether it’s masculine or feminine.” Photographed here in Jimmy Choo’s new dual gender, Borrowed From the Boys capsule (three styles, each available from December in both men’s and women’s sizes), you get the sense of a young women liberated from any constraints.

“…with New York being the city that never sleeps, they’re perfect”

Indeed, escaping other people’s presumptions has been a theme of Cara’s life in recent years. Embarking on a cross-creative career wasn’t something she says, that was ever a conscious decision. “The thing about labels is that if you are an actress is doesn’t mean that you can only be an actress. I feel anyone has the right to create whatever they feel.” Transitioning from a career focused only on modeling has, she says, alleviated a lot of pressure. “Now I feel a lot less busy because I’m finally doing all the different things I wanted to do. When I had just one job being a model, it kind of felt quite monotonous—not in a bad way—but it was just a lot more travel and a lot more stress on me,” she admits, “Being able to create and express emotions are the most important things for me, and it now doesn’t feel that I’m that busy at all because I’m doing what I love.”

As many of her peers are going through their ‘quarter-life crisis’, at 25, Cara appears conversely to be clear-headed about her priorities. Though her hands will be full with another film, London Fields in which she stars alongside Amber Heard, set for release later this year, and two more titles slated for cinemas in 2018, she also still has plenty of ambitions to fulfill. “I would love to continue writing whether it’s for a book or to make a film or a TV show and hopefully direct one day to give a voice to women’s stories—there are plenty of them.”

For the end of the year it will be all about Christmas back in England. “Usually, because my family is so big we have a ‘fake’ Christmas where we go to a place in the countryside and have our own little celebration before the day itself all together.” The perfect Christmas, she says, is all about, “Friends, family, food, feast, fiesta and obviously lots of presents. Though my favourite thing about gifting,” she clarifies, “is that it doesn’t matter how much money you spend. I think sentimental presents are really special. I like to do a mixture of fun, crazy, whacky presents and then also give something that really means something to someone.” Full of meaning but also a touch madcap; quite the metaphor for the lady herself.

“I think it’s about feeling relaxed whether it’s masculine or feminine.”