Patti Hansen has worn many hats since being discovered by a modeling agent at a Staten Island hot dog stand when she was just sixteen. She's been a cover girl (on Vogue (15 times!), Glamour, Seventeen, Harper's Bazaar and Esquire, among others), a spokesmodel (for Calvin Klein and Revlon), an actress (They All Laughed), a rock star's wife (Keef!), a devoted mother (to Theodora and Alexandra Richards, themselves multi-hyphenate models) and a cancer survivor (Hansen beat both breast and bladder cancer).
Now, with the launch of Hung On U , she's adding handbag designer to her resumé. Hung on U is based on a satchel Hansen carried in the Eighties. "A few years ago, my girls pulled them out of my closet," Hansen told us. "They are timeless. My partner in HOU [longtime friend, Molly Madden] saw the bag on me and suggested we do our own version. We took the idea to another friend who is a manufacturer. We started with an HOU website and now it’s in Barneys and Liberty in London."
"The bags are really for all ages and all occasions—relaxed or fancy attire," adds the willowy blonde. "Especially now that we have incorporated the strap which can be used as a wrist clutch (for evening) or a cross over bag (for the day time)." Not one to rest on her laurels, Hansen got some of her celebrity pals—including Johnny Depp, Selma Blair, Debra Messing, Joe Zee, Gavin Rossdale, Christian Louboutin, Rashida Jones, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Kiedis and Zach Galifianakis—to lend their artistic talent to one-of-a-kind HOU bags, which were auctioned off through Barneys New York and Charity Buzz to benefit the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation for children's EB. Along with her ongoing EB fundraising, Hansen is also working with Patricia Arquette and Donna Karan on the Hope Help & Rebuild Haiti Initiative.
The Fashion Informer's Lauren David Peden caught up with the 55-year-old model citizen-slash-Energizer Bunny just after the debut of Hung On U to talk nicknames, rom coms and can't-miss Thanksgiving treats (turnips, anyone?).
What's in current rotation on your iPod?
I Shazam all the time. However, I just bought 10 Tony Bennett duet CDs. Obsessed.
What's your favorite time of day?
The morning—a new start.
I know you recently attended the one-night-only Studio 54 party. What's your favorite memory from the original Studio 54?
The mindless bliss of it all. When I was at Studio 54 I would completely zone out on the dance floor. I would lose myself in the music. There is no place to dance like that anymore.
Coffee or tea?
Tea with honey and milk. But when I am feeling my Norwegian roots, I do straight coffee.
Tell me about your pet(s).
I have five pets. Four dogs and one cat. My Labrador, Pumpkin, is actually in the middle of acupuncture because she's having trouble with bone density and it is actually working! She is getting better.
What's your favorite item of clothing/jewelry and why is it so special to you?
For almost 30 years I've worn a red ruby that Keith bought for me that was designed by David Court (Keith gave David his ideas for the design and what he wanted, and David made it). I cherish it.
What's the biggest/best lesson your parents taught you?
What did you do last weekend and what are your plans for this weekend?
Last weekend I threw a birthday party for my friend. We spent the day eating, relaxing and played pétanque, a French game. It was very lovely. This weekend my daughter, Theodora, is moving so we are packing her up.
What is your favorite movie of all time?
I love rom coms. However, my two favorite movies that I have watched over and over again are The Man Who Would Be King and Amadeus.
What was your nickname as a kid and what's your nickname now?
When I was younger, my brothers used to call me Maggie, and now? Still Maggie.
What's the last book you read?
Life by Keith Richards.
What's your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner?
Cranberry sauce, gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, and turnips.
Do you have a favorite photograph from your modeling heyday?
My first session being photographed for Glamour magazine by Rico Puhlmann, because I was so innocent and you can see it in the picture. But then my second favorite is my first Vogue cover because I went from ingenue to sophisticate—and they hid my freckles.
What freaks you out?
Horror movie commercials. Terrible.
When are you happiest?
When my girls are home.