ISLAND LIFE – An interview with Ibiza icon Willy Van Rooy

In this month’s big interview, The Island Villas talks to supermodel, muse and designer Willy Van Rooy about her model life in the seventies and eighties including her magical time in Ibiza, travels around the world and her inspirations.

"Nothing is worth doing if you don’t follow your heart"

Profound, funny, smart and kind, Willy Van Rooy is an inspiration. A fashion and style icon in the true meaning of the word, Willy’s time in Ibiza has been documented and immortalised in photographs. Here in The Island Villas office, we often romanticise over them. A picture paints a thousand words and the images of Willy and her family in Ibiza, whisper tales of an idyllic time on the island. Not only are they of a strikingly beautiful woman and her equally beautiful family but a glimpse into the real lives of a very special tribe of people. Artists such as Joni Mitchel and Taj Mahal appear among others. These were the real soul rebels that ran wild and free, courageously living lives that didn’t always adhere to the rules of mainstream society.

Following her heart is the path that Willy would always take. From her humble beginnings in Holland (Willy was raised in an orphanage) she went on to study at the Academy of Fine Arts Fashion.  Destined for greater things, she was discovered by a model agent on the streets. It was her work however, with the acclaimed photographer Helmut Newton that propelled her firmly onto an international stage. Incidentally it was at a Helmet Newton shoot that she met her husband, the artist Salvador. The chemistry was instant and the two began a love story that transcended continents and saw them travelling around the world before finally settling in LA.

Forever the free and determined spirit, Willy went on to design accessories for YSL and Karl Lagerfeld, launched a shoe collection, much coveted by clients such as Cher and Madonna, as well as design bespoke jewellery.

For us at The Island Villas, what started as a fascination with this statuesque stylish woman, the personification of all things Bohemian and Ibiza, developed into something deeper. Willy Van Rooy is a fearless woman who has dared to challenge the conventions of society, raise a family and live without limits. You are all heart Willy, and we thank you for sharing it with us.