Hanging Out In London With Lili Sumner…
Ever wondered what would happen if Browns collaborated with Semaine to hang out with Lili Sumner in London, inspired by a tale as old as time with a rickshaw full of shoes? Wonder no more…
We all know the Cinderella glass slipper story? Well you don’t need a Prince Charming or a fairy godmother, you need Lili Sumner – and her footman Jerry – to make your shoe dreams come true and live happily ever after.
Swimsuit by ZIMMERMANN, earrings by ESTABLISHED
You’ve lived in New Zealand, London, Japan, and NYC. Where is home today?
New York, and it’s the best city I’ve ever lived in! I moved from London just over a year ago, and I feel like I’ve grown a lot in myself since then. This city pushes people from different circles together, and there’s this expansive energy to it that I love. At the same time, Trump is terrible, and we’re in the belly of the beast.
Did you always want to be a model?
I wasn’t a kid with a dream of being a model or a rock star. For me, it was less about a particular career and more about the kind of person that I wanted to be. I’ve always read a lot, so different characters from novels grew my perspective of what was possible. Today, I look up to the kind of woman who’s around 35, has her shit together, is super chic, but can also get down in the mud. Maybe she has kids, maybe she doesn’t—but she certainly reads a lot of great books.
Can you name some of these badass women IRL?
There’s a lot to pick from: Dorothy Parker was a cool woman; Holly Golightly is my New York dream. Then also Simone De Beauvoir, Eve Babitz, Nina Simone, Betty Smith, Penelope Spheeris, Maxine Waters, Lena Dunham, Miranda July, Janet Frame, and Jane Campion.
What’s been the most magical moment of your career so far?
Closing Hedi Slimane’s last-ever Saint Laurent show. I wore a beautiful red dress in the shape of a heart. There was no music, so all you could hear was people gasping in delight as the looks came out and the click of cameras. It was sad because it was the end of an era, but I also think it was extra special because his run at the house wasn’t super long. He created a whole culture at Saint Laurent; it became our world. The people I met there are still my close friends today.
We heard you’re writing a screenplay. Please tell us more!
It’s something I’ve had in mind for a year or so. Right now, I’m about halfway through writing it. Storytelling and developing the characters is the most interesting thing about filmmaking to me. Directors get all the glory, but screenwriting is difficult!
If you could wave a wand over the modelling industry, what would you change?
Diversity is becoming a lot better, but it still has a long way to go. This last Fashion Week, I noticed that a lot of the big shows still only cast three or four black girls or women of other ethnicities. I think social media is helping to accelerate change, though. People are calling out the lack of diversity, and brands are reacting. The change is good, but it’s not enough.
Do you believe in fairytales?
I’ve never been much of a fairytale girl. Travelling at a young age has shown me that there are so many different kinds of lives you can live and that it’s up to you which one you choose. You have to keep things exciting though. Life’s a big movie, and it’s possible that we’re all on The Truman Show.
What’s your nickname?
Liliana Banana, Bunny—and some people call me Lil.
If you could have one wish, what would it be?
For every person in the world to have a little more empathy— especially Republicans—and for my wisdom tooth to stop hurting
Who is your real life fairy godmother?
There’s a guy in my local bookshop and I think he might be an actual angel. Every time I talk to him I leave with a whole new perspective on the world.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A badass woman who doesn’t take any shit.
What is your weirdest habit?
I can’t tell you, because it’s too weird.
What needs to be retired?
Candy Crush. What is it and why do people play it?
What shoes could you wear for the rest of your life?
“Something really comfy, like Tevas. It would be horrible, but I couldn’t live in a pair of Louboutins.”