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A Breath of Fresh Air

Linda Marx

Photography by NAVID
 

Shot by Palm Beach Illustrated on location at the Clark residence, Palm Beach

 

   On a cool Palm Beach morning, Kristy Hinze Clark arose earlier than usual to care for Dylan, her one-year-old daughter. While the nanny was off, Hinze Clark was happy feeding, changing and playing with the beloved little girl who has changed her busy life from an international supermodel to a doting supermom.

Kristy Hinze Clark on the lawn of the Il Palmetto cabana with her lovingly restored 1959 Mercedes 560SL.  Lela Rose dress, Neiman Marcus, Palm Beach

Kristy Hinze Clark on the lawn of the Il Palmetto cabana with her lovingly restored 1959 Mercedes 560SL.


Lela Rose dress, Neiman Marcus, Palm Beach

   “I am so happy being a mother,” says Hinze Clark, 33, who married Jim Clark, co-founder of Netscape, nearly four years ago. “Jim and I are completely overjoyed. Every day, our baby grows more and more beautiful; she looks like Jim. My life is so great.”
   And, now, so different.
   The gorgeous, humble and down-to-earth Hinze Clark was discovered at age 14 in her native Australia. She became one of the most famous models in the business after being the youngest Australian to land a one-year exclusive contract with Vogue. Later, as a Ford Model, Hinze Clark was a cover girl for Sports Illustrated, GQ and dozens of other publications as well as a runway model and the face of many international fashion advertising campaigns.
   More recently, she has appeared on the tenth season of the CW Network’s America’s Next Top Model, was the host and head judge for Project Runway Australia and starred in several music videos for Latin crooner Marc Anthony. She remains the face of Australia’s Sportscraft, a luxury clothing and accessories brand, a gig that regularly takes her home to Sydney.
But marrying Clark in 2009, and becoming a mother two years later, has given Hinze Clark the stability and flexibility to pursue other areas of interest.

   She adopted three miniature schnauzers—Brando and Ava, both 3, and Elwood, nearly 2—and supports two dogs from Fur Angels Rescues in Miami: Suzi, nearly 2, a Chihuahua mix, and Runner, 3, a schnauzer mix. Inspired by her four-legged family members and love of fashion, Hinze Clark launched Legitimutt, a line of winter coats, puffer jackets, warm-weather polos, custom collars and raincoats for dogs.
  “I could think of nothing more creative than working with three of my best friends as models,” she quips. “The idea actually came to me while I was looking for something to do while pregnant with Dylan. I was studying online for a degree in environmental biology, but I had baby [on the] brain and found it hard to concentrate on college work. Designing dogwear seemed like the perfect solution.”

Clark with her four-legged “babies,” Brando, Ava and Elwood.   Stella McCartney blouse, Neiman Marcus, Palm Beach

Clark with her four-legged “babies,” Brando, Ava and Elwood.


Stella McCartney blouse, Neiman Marcus, Palm Beach

   Because she couldn’t find quality petwear that wasn’t kitsch, Hinze Clark created fashionable, functional outerwear for Legitimutt, like raincoats that also keep dogs’ undersides dry and pants that can act as an incontinence aid. The collection is available at Woof Gang Bakery in Palm Beach, online and at a recently opened retail store and showroom in Miami’s Design District.
   Through the company, Hinze Clark has been able to further support animal rights causes. She donates some Legitimutt proceeds to animal shelters around the world and has purchased spots on local TV news to raise awareness for Fur Angels. She also hosted a photo shoot for the shelter in her store, which led to the adoption of five little dogs.
   “The love from my dogs has opened my heart as never before to the importance of the animal world,” she says. “I have developed an almost irrational devotion to animals and their protection and humane treatment. Dogs everywhere are supremely important to me as beautiful, loving, loyal and cognitive beings. I am doing everything I can to make their lives better.”
   Being around dogs is nothing new to Hinze Clark. Born in the coastal city of Gold Coast, Queensland, she and her three siblings grew up on a dairy farm in the company of corgis, schnauzers, boxers and Rottweilers. Also a devoted horse lover, the Australian tomboy spent her days riding, running and participating in other sports activities.
   “When I got to be a teen, friends of my parents suggested I be sent to a deportment school near our farm to learn how to act more feminine and ladylike,” she laughs.
She did enroll in the school, a move that launched her career when the head of school asked a local modeling agency to attend Hinze Clark’s graduation to see the beautiful girl with the sparkling smile and engaging personality.
   Her career exploded from there. In 1994, Hinze Clark posed for her first photo shoot, an Australian Vogue cover that ran the following year. Soon after, she caught the attention of Neal Hamil, then the business partner of New York modeling powerhouse Eileen Ford. He flew to Australia to meet with Hinze Clark and was blown away by her charm and beauty.

Yigal Azrouel dress, Saks Fifth Avenue, Palm Beach
Yigal Azrouël dress, Saks Fifth Avenue, Palm Beach

   “Kristy was, from the moment I first met her, so very special—not only as a rare, true and undeniable beauty, but this huge radiant light beamed from within her,” says Hamil, who has represented her ever since and now runs Legitimutt. “I instantly saw her destiny and knew she was bound for greatness. After that first meeting, I tagged her ‘the Thunder from Down Under.’”
   At 16, Hinze Clark moved to New York and went on to work with every important fashion photographer, stylist, editor and designer in the industry. She traveled all over Europe and the Far East, always chaperoned by her grandmother, mother or older brother.
   “It was exciting and daunting because I wasn’t aware of the power of Vogue,” says Hinze Clark, who had to quit high school and study by correspondence. “It was a great adventure, but I found it hard to stay thin. Starving myself is not natural for me, so I had to work out a lot.”
   Commuting around the world from New York became her way of life until September 11, 2001 destroyed her sense of place. She relocated to Paris for two years, then returned to New York as an Elite Model after Hamil changed companies.
   In 2005, friends introduced her to Clark at the New York restaurant Cipriani Downtown. She was immediately smitten with the handsome computer genius and sailing enthusiast. “I liked his amazing sense of humor,” she remembers. “He also had the most amazing voice. I was mesmerized.”
   They dated for four years, during which he brought her to Palm Beach to enjoy Il Palmetto, the oceanfront mansion he bought in 1999 and restored. She adored it, as well as the beauty and tranquility of the whole area. “I loved Palm Beach right away because the weather is like Queensland, so I felt very much at home,” she says.
   In addition to their homes in Palm Beach and Southampton, the Clarks spend time on their sailing yachts, the 295-foot Athena—the fourth-largest sailing vessel in the world—and the 136-foot Hanuman (both are on the market for a combined $113 million). Their wedding was a four-day affair onboard the Athena at Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island and Virgin Gorda. The bride wore an Oscar de la Renta gown with her hair pulled back for what she describes as a relaxed celebration. “Jim and I are both calm and enjoying each other—and being with our close friends and family.”
   Life in Palm Beach is much the same. She works on dog fashions from her office, continues to study for her college degree, rides and jumps horses, plays golf at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach and Old Palm Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, practices yoga and, most importantly, walks Dylan along Lake Trail.
   At night, the couple favors the Palm Beach Grill, Buccan and Chez Jean-Pierre. Yet their ideal evening is spent dining at friends’ homes or hosting a barbecue for close friends like Bill and Bridget Koch.

Hinze Clark with Runner and Suzi, the mixed breeds she supports at Fur Angels Rescues in Miami.

Hinze Clark with Runner and Suzi, the mixed breeds she supports at Fur Angels Rescues in Miami.

* Photograh by Fred Love Photography

   “Kristy never ceases to amaze me,” Bridget Koch says. “She is a great mother, daughter, wife and animal rights supporter. Whatever she does, she seems to excel at it with an incredible sense of ease. I consider her a very close friend.”
   For charity, the Clarks put their resources where their interests lie. In addition to animal rights groups, they support the Perlman Music Program, a training program for gifted classical musicians headquartered on Shelter Island near their Southampton residence. They are also active in various environmental organizations, including the World Wide Fund for Nature.
   Their love for travel may eventually take them to the exotic marine life and coral reefs of the South Pacific for diving, a passion they share. And they haven’t ruled out the possibility of giving Dylan a sibling.
   “I really would like to have another child,” Hinze Clark says. “We are homey. We love to entertain. And we are both happy to be with our baby and our pets. A brother or sister for Dylan and the brood would be wonderful.”


 

Fashion Editor: Katherine Lande
Design Director: Olga Gustine
Makeup: Tim Quinn, Giorgio Armani Beauty, New York
Hair: Gina Simone, Cielo Blue Pro, Miami
 

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