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In August, Tyra Banks celebrated Italian Vogue’s July issue, featuring all black models shot by Steven Meisel. She spent the day compiling a celluloid version for her syndicated talk show, to air the following month, and gathered a Who’s Who of black models in her Chelsea studio, including Pat Cleveland, Beverly Johnson, Noémie Lenoir and Selita Ebanks. Veronica Webb was there, too, in a fluffy Azzedine Alaïa knit dress. But she had more important things on her mind before taping began: Webb spent the time on hands and knees looking for a gray Crayola crayon that her daughter, Leila, desperately needed for her Sea Animal coloring book. Her other daughter, Molly, climbed over the couch, under the table and over chairs, bagel in hand.
That particular tableau is all you need to know about what Webb’s been up to since she ditched New York six years ago with archaeologist hubby George Robb and headed for Key West, Fla. She’s been Suzy Homemaker. Sure, she would write the occasional columns here and there and pop up on TV screens, as in her recent stint as co-host on Bravo’s Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style, but Webb’s been fully entrenched in mom-ness.
This story first appeared in the September 29, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Now she’s back, nestled with her family in a Moroccan-themed and art-strewn apartment in TriBeCa. “New York has always been in my heart,” Webb says. “I’m coming out of being a full-time mom. You want your friends, you want the culture, you want all the things that make you you. I’m ready to be a woman in full again.” She’s also gunning to get back into the fashion game. “I would love to have a consultancy job at a fashion house,” she admits. Webb still keeps in touch with many of her old contacts, most notably Alaïa, whom she dubs her dad. They still talk every Sunday, she says. And she recently had dinner with her former colleague, Carla. As in Bruni-Sarkozy, the first lady of France. “It doesn’t surprise me that Carla [married Sarkozy],” Webb says. “She’s fearless, and holds herself in extremely high esteem.”
Webb plans to keep busy with editorial work, not to mention her recent producer gig on the BBC World show Living Style With Gerry DeVeaux. In addition, she’s tackling the designer role with a line of jewelry called In the Name of Love. It’s a collection of pretty beaded bracelets and necklaces—hand-strung by Webb herself—made from semiprecious stones. The line is sold at En Avance in Miami, but now that she’s entrenched in New York, she’s hoping to hit up local retailers such as Lord & Taylor and Scoop. “Then there are the big boys—HSN and QVC,” she adds. All profits from the line go toward a scholarship fund in her mother’s name in Key West.
But for all this gung-ho enthusiasm to jump back into the industry, Webb’s not letting the fashion and motherhood worlds collide too much. She’s not raising her kids to be fashion babies, exactly. “I mean, they love to get dressed, but they don’t know anything about labels or anything like that,” she says. “They don’t know what that logo is,” she says of their Ralph Lauren shirts. “They’ve never been to a polo game. They think it’s a unicorn.”