SINCE RETIRING FROM SKI RACING, LINDSEY VONN HAS BEEN BUSY, INCLUDING A STARRING ROLE IN A SHORT FILM BY DESIGNER THOM BROWNE.
Olympic ski racer Lindsey Vonn starred in Thom Browne’s couture week digital runway film. PHOTO COURTESY OF THOM BROWNE
LAST SPRING, DESIGNER THOM BROWNE released a 10-minute film highlighting his collection of gender-neutral black-tie looks. The film was an unlikely collaboration with Olympic ski racer Lindsey Vonn. Filmed at Utah’s Solitude Mountain, Vonn arcs turns past models dressed in intricately pleated wool skirts, sculptural gowns and black-tie jackets with corsets. “The dream was to have Lindsey Vonn jumping out of a helicopter and skiing in one of my tuxedos,” Browne told Vogue. “And here we have it!” The showstopper: Vonn in a voluminous gold lamé dress draped over a black jacket.
In the film, Vonn skis by models bedecked in black tie. PHOTO COURTESY OF THOM BROWNE
Since retiring from the World Cup in 2019, she’s been busy. Lindsey Vonn: The Final Season, a TGR documentary, was released, offering an unfiltered glimpse at her upbringing and a heartbreaking behind-the-scenes look at her final season. Just three days into shooting, Vonn tore ligaments in her knee in a training crash. Alongside director Frank Marshall (of Jason Bourne fame), the former ski racer has been working on a documentary on Olympian Picabo Street. The film, slated for release in 2022, will explore Street’s difficult road to fame and her enduring legacy. For Vonn, the project is personal. When she was a junior ski racer, meeting Street during a poster signing at a Minnesota ski shop was a formative moment.
Last winter, in collaboration with Yniq,Vonn launched the LV82, a limited-edition goggle with 82 numbered pieces representing her World Cup victories. It sold out on Instagram in three hours—at $700 apiece. And she continues to work on the Lindsey Vonn Foundation, a nonprofit committed to helping the next generation gain confidence and follow their passions.
Part fantasy, part noir, Browne’s film was loosely inspired by The Wizard of Oz. PHOTO COURTESY OF THOM BROWNE
We caught up with Vonn from her home in Los Angeles to find out more.
How did the collaboration with Thom Browne come about? I was on the chairlift at Deer Valley skiing with friends, and he called me on my cell. I don’t normally answer calls [on powder days], but when Thom calls, you answer. He knows that I love fashion. I’ve seen his runway collection, and I think he’s a genius. And he has such a passion for the Olympics. I’ve never done anything like it before. The film was so magical.
What was it like to ski by high fashion models instead of gates? It was just me skiing on the mountain! [Laughs] They directed my eyeline to where they would superimpose the models [in postproduction]. Thom was there the whole time. He wasn’t on skis, but he was involved at every step.
Formalwear was not designed for the slopes. Were you cold? It was cold. I wrapped myself in those ThermaCare back heaters under layers of Under Armour. I didn’t have gloves on in most of the shots, so my hands were definitely cold.
Tell us about that amazing gold dress. It was so stunning, a work of art. I guess it was made with the last bit of that fabric in the world. And the silhouette... it was just beautiful. Honestly, though, it was really heavy.
Browne’s dachshund Hector played Toto. Did you lobby to have your dog Lucy play the role? Hector is pretty special to Thom; I definitely didn’t want to have any competition there.
What’s happening with the Picabo Street documentary? This is a dream project for me: to do a documentary on the person who inspired me to be an Olympian. I idolized her. We shot the scenes where Picabo and I ski together. Soon we’ll shoot the sit-down interviews. It’s really easy talking to her because we’re so similar. I’m honored to tell her story.
Vonn retired from ski racing, but she hasn’t slowed down. PHOTO COURTESY OF APRÈS PRODUCTIONS
The TGR documentary took a serious plot twist when you got injured. How was that? It definitely wasn’t the storyline I’d hoped for. But I feel like people could relate to it more. I’ve gone through so many injuries in my career. No one’s ever told that side of the story. It gave a more in-depth look at who I am and what drives me.
What was it like to have camera crews around 24/7? I’m pretty open in general. In those very emotional moments, it was mostly Claire [Brown] filming. We’ve been friends since I was 8, so I didn’t even notice. I was able to be 100% myself. But there were times I shut myself in the room and didn’t want to talk to anybody.
Tell us about filming the career day videos where you connected Lindsey Vonn Foundation scholarship winners with celebrities like snowboarder Chloe Kim and gymnast Shawn Johnson. I tried to do something positive with my time [during the pandemic]. I couldn’t do my empowerment camps, so it was a way to connect with kids and inspire them to work hard to a goal. To connect with a role model in their sport can be so empowering. For more info, go to lindseyvonnfoundation.org.