A charismatic supermodel shifts gears toward wellness with a passion project that promotes a healthy lifestyle regimen for kids.
Karolina Kurkova is a talker. An infectious one at that. With years of experience that took the willowy supermodel from a small, red-roof-covered town in the Czech Republic to the fashion world’s most coveted runways to the kitchen of her Fisher Island home she shares with her husband and two sons, where she cooks healthy meals that occasionally appear on her IG account, the girl’s got stories. She evokes them in such enthusiastic and acute detail you might find yourself feeling as if you were there walking with her in all those Chanel and Victoria’s Secret shows; or felt cramped in her New York City apartment back when her first son was born, which prompted the family’s move to Miami’s greener pastures. You can almost taste the homemade pickles Kurkova tells you she used to make as a child with her grandmother. “We would make homemade jams, too, and if we were sick, my grandma would go to the garden and take herbs and flowers and she’d boil and make a tea out [of them] or some sort of potion,” she says in sentences often punctuated by a hearty laugh. “That’s how I grew up.” With such wholesome upbringing, one could surmise Kurkova’s entrance into the holistic realm with the launch of Gryph & IvyRose, a line of herbal wellness products for children, is no accident, one that no doubt she’ll ace like all other accomplishments already under her belt. But more on that later.
Top photo: Dress, $3,000, and sunglasses, $460, both at Valentino, Design District; vintage belt and earrings, price upon request, both at Pinkgun Gallery, 786.542.5386; vinyl-effect stilettos, $695, at Gianvito Rossi, Bal Harbour Shops. Bottom photo: Lace-trim leather dress, price upon request, Alexander McQueen, Design District
First, Kurkova’s fashion career has been paved with remarkable successes. She became one of the youngest models to ever appear on the cover of Vogue. At the time she was only 16 years old and a novice in the business. Astonishingly her ascent to modeling stardom was almost a fluke. Kurkova’s photographer friend shot and sent some images of her to an agency in Prague without letting the sports-loving, self-professed insecure teen with a toothy grin in on the plan. The scheme worked. Kurkova was immediately shipped off to Milan, where her runway debut at the tender age of 15 was with none other than Prada. In the 20 years since her inauguration as one of fashion’s most recognizable faces, Kurkova starred in campaigns for brands ranging from Louis Vuitton to H&M, appeared on more than 40 covers of Vogue, and walked for Chanel, Valentino, Dior, Givenchy and Versace, among many others. She was also one of the longest- featured Victoria’s Secret Angels, often a lone European with a tamer, less obvious sensuality among a bevy of va-va-voom Brazilians. Off the runway, Kurkova acted in My Sexiest Year and G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and tried her hand at a reality TV show as a mentor on The Face. Let’s not forget her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
But her latest endeavor, which touches on the life-changing experience of motherhood, may be Kurkova’s most personal yet. “Everything somehow leads you to a right place,” she muses. “Like the universe has its way to connect things. You meet people, you see certain things that inspire you, and you make your move.”
Cotton twill dress, $1,150, and socks, $70, both at Max Mara, Design District; vintage earrings, price upon request, at Pinkgun Gallery, 786.542.5386; vinyl-effect stilettos, $695, at Gianvito Rossi, Bal Harbour Shops.
Gryph & IvyRose, a natural upmarket herbal-based wellness product line, is a brainchild of Kurkova and her co-partners Orion Nevel and Rachel Finger, who experienced life-changing results with herbal applications. Their research led to a discovery that most natural and healthy offerings on the market came up short in one department or the other. That’s when the trio decided to craft a line of herbal elixirs, probiotic powders and bath and body products that supports and addresses challenges faced by children. “I’ve always been very drawn to all these natural, preventative remedies rather than just going to doctors to get fixed,” Kurkova adds. “It’s really kind of going back to the garden or the nature of food. This philosophy I remembered from growing up really stayed with me.”
Tailcoat, $5,200, shirt, $425, bow tie, $232, and trousers, $1,260, all at Thom Browne, Design District.
Gryph & IvyRose’s mission is twofold. In addition to offering alternative toxin- and cruelty-free products, it hopes to go beyond commerce to make a palpable difference. “I believe in empowerment and education,” Kurkova explains. “That’s what Gryph & IvyRose is also about. It’s a big focus for us. It’s about inspiration for the kids and also for the parents. We want to start this lifestyle for the family, especially early on for the kids by making it cool, fun and engaging.” Joining in this undertaking are two experts in related fields. Dan Atchison-Nevel, the team’s in-house herbal chief, is an innovator in the fields of holistic health and acupuncture, and Stephen Cowan, MD, pediatric medical guide, is known for a unique holistic approach to treating children struggling with chronic disorders by integrating the principles of Chinese medicine and homeopathy.
Dress, price upon request, by Fernando Garcia and vintage earrings, price upon request, both at Pinkgun Gallery, 786.542.5386; black patent sandals, $815, at Gianvito Rossi, Bal Harbour Shops; B: tailcoat, $5,200, shirt, $425, bow tie, $232, trousers, $1,260, socks, $153, and heels $1,250, all at Thom Browne, Design District.
This enterprise has tapped not only into Kurkova’s childhood memories but also a side of the glamazon that’s nurturing and caregiving. This part seems to naturally connect her to Gryph & IvyRose’s ideological lens on betterment that’s trickled down to every aspect of her busy life. Take for instance her spirited get- togethers with friends where the focus is on being present in the mix that includes adults and kids. “When we have people over, we make the meal an experience that people really love and enjoy. I take care of the music and the candles, and everybody just feels good and comfortable and has a great time connecting over food, great conversation and fun games,” she adds. But above all, moderation seems to be the policy at Casa Kurkova, who despite her commitment to mindfulness knows how to let go to have fun. “For Christmas we got this microphone, karaoke thing that lights up in these funky lights when played. For a recent dinner party, I printed lyrics to funny songs, rolled and tied them with a beautiful ribbon, and placed them randomly on my guests’ plates. Everybody had to sing.” The proof on her IG account has garnered thousands of views. Kurkova set the tone with an unabashed and charming rendition of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.” No surprise there; she nailed it.
Top photo: Blazer dress, $2,475, belt, $675, and choker, $825, at Versace, Design District; POIS MOI earrings, bangle and ring, all by Roberto Coin at Kirk Jewelers, Brickell City Centre; Stockholm chain necklace and chain bracelet, both by Rebecca at Kirk Jewelers, Brickell City Centre; vinyl-effect stilettos, $695, at Gianvito Rossi, Bal Harbour Shops. Bottom photo: Swimwuit, $150, at normakamali.com; vintage belts and earrings, price upon request, both at Pinkgun Gallery, 786.542.5386; metal and calfskin cuff bracelet, $2,200, at Chanel, Bal Harbour Shops.
Named after the co-founders’ children—Gryphon, Persephone Rose, Ivy, Della Rose—Gryph & IvyRose was conceived by three parents who each bring a unique perspective to the brand. Here, they share their secrets to better balance.
Fave product from the line: “Seal the Deal moisturizing balm—the literal fix for every skin issue.”
Best place to recharge: “Our farm south of Miami, lots of nature and quiet.”
My secret to stress release: “I was recently gifted a guitar, and learning to play has been an awesome way to unwind at the end of a day.”
Fave product from the line: “Children’s chocolate probiotics.”
Best place to recharge: “The beach at sunset with my kids and family wearing no shoes.”
My secret to stress release: “Singing and dancing.”
Fave product from the line: “Daily Embrace, a shampoo and conditioner in one that really does the job.”
Best place to recharge: “Tuscany really lends itself to quality time with loved ones—great food, great vibe, and kids are welcome.”
My secret to stress release: “I start every work day with at least 15 minutes of mindfulness or breathing exercises to set the tone for the rest of my day.”
Photography by: RIOCAM; Style by Danny Santiago; Shot on location at The Biltmore Hotel