“You can be gorgeous at 20, charming at 40, and irresistible for the rest of your life.” Welcome to Generation FAB and their very grown-up sense of chic
BLAME it on Ari Seth Cohen or call it the Advanced Style phenomena, but age is all the rage.
|Iris Apfel, 93, is revered for her sense of style and love of statement accessories.|
Picture: Luis Monteiro for How To Spend It (Financial Times)
Women of a certain age are
having a fashion – and beauty – moment. Thanks to the recent appointments of 61-year-old Christie Brinkley as the new face of Peter Alexander sleepwear, 65-year-old Twiggy
as the latest brand ambassador for L’Oreal, 80-year-old American author Joan
Didion as the face of the Celine spring 2015 campaign, folk music legend
Joni Mitchell, 71, to front the Saint Laurent Music Project, and 87-year-old UK model Daphne Selfe as the face of OPSM Style At Every Age campaign, old is the new black.
However, Brinkley, Twiggy, Didion, Mitchell and Selfe are only the latest in a string of high-profile women over 50 used in
advertising campaigns for industries often accused of ignoring them.
|Brinkley and her 16-year-old daughter Sailor for Peter Alexander. |
|Joan Didion, 80, for Celine S/S 2015|
Last year Kate Spade, H&M’s “young sister” brand & Other Stories and M.A.C cosmetics called on New York
socialite Iris Apfel, 93, revered for her eccentric sense of style and love of
statement accessories, to front campaigns.
|Age is just number: At 84, Carmen Dell’Orefice is the world's |
oldest working model. Picture: Pinterest
And let’s not forget Carmen
Dell’Orefice. At 84, the supermodel recently fronted campaigns for Missoni, Rolex and Gaultier. Lauren Hutton, 70, has been
posing for Lucky Brand denim, Club Monaco and J Crew for the past few years. Catherine Deneuve has been spruiking Louis Vuitton, Anjelica Huston for the Gap, and US clothing giant
American Apparel signed up silver-haired Jackie O’Shaughnessy as their
lingerie model, then aged 62, back in 2011.
Meanwhile the recent castings
of Dame Helen Mirren, 69, and Jane Fonda, 75, for L’Oreal; Jessica Lange, 64,
for Marc Jacobs Beauty; Charlotte Rampling, 68, for NARS and Marc Jacobs; and Jacqueline Bisset, 70, for Avon, proves
that cosmetic and beauty brands also believe that style is indeed truly
|Age before beauty? Twiggy for L'Oreal, Charlotte Rampling for NARS and Helen Mirren for L'Oreal. |
“Companies ... are turning to older models to give their brands a more authentic feel.”
This is fashion – and beauty – advertising de-fashioned. But more importantly, it’s
the tacit recognition of a new demographic of women – Generation FAB (Fifty And
Beyond) – who are independent, intelligent and happy just the way they are.
Francois Nars, the former
make-up artist behind the NARS brand recently told the Financial Times that “I
don’t put an age limit on beauty. I don’t care if they are 20 or 68.”
So are these new campaigns “just catching up” with the opportunities provided by the world’s ageing population?
Are they finally realising the buying power of older customers? Is it really common sense
or more a matter of dollars and cents?
For decades, we have been exposed
to images of lithe young things with their smooth unlined faces, pert breasts, legs
up to their armpits and a derriere that defies gravity. Or airbrushed images of
age-defying celebrities. In other words, young and beautiful equals the fashion
and beauty ideal. Unrealistic, yes. Smart, no.
Granted that while these images
might be beautiful – aspirational even – they aren’t truly reflective of global
|Age is a only number: Style stars Linda Rodin, Lauren Hutton and Iris Apfel. Pictures: Pinterest|
Editor of British Harper’s
Bazaar Justine Picardie was recently quoted as saying: “This is not a passing
trend; brands have done detailed research, and realised their key consumers who
are over the age of 40 – in many cases over the age of 50 – are affluent,
financially independent, sophisticated and don’t want to be patronised with
inappropriate advertising campaigns.”
L’Oreal CEO Jean-Paul Agon told the Financial Times last year that he sees mature women as a “new and gigantic opportunity for our company”.
So why this change of
A recent report by the Bank
of America and reported in AdWeek stated that consumers worldwide aged over 50 spent more than $8 trillion in 2010 and are expected to spend $15 trillion by 2020. Thanks to improved health practices and advances in science and
medicine, we are living healthier longer. The longer we live, the more we’ll
continue to spend.
And according to a report in the Telegraph.co.uk, 47 per cent of the adult female population in Britain is over 50. By 202o that’s expected to increase by 20 per cent to 13.4 million. And the 50-pluses account for 80 per cent of the UK’s wealth.
This new cashed-up “silver
economy” has a higher net worth in comparison to the shrinking spending power
of the employment-challenged younger generations. They are a tremendously powerful demographic that
can no longer be overlooked or ignored by ad agencies.
“Real women want to ... celebrate who they are now and what they have achieved.”
Real women of a certain age
don’t want to be reminded of what they once were. They want to celebrate who
they are now and what they have achieved.
“We have to be able to grow up,” Lauren Hutton says. “Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life. They are what we have been through and who we want to be.”
These women are confident in
who they are, what works for them and what they want. And they are voting with
their credit cards. They want brands to talk to them (or at least use images
that relate to them) not the lives of their daughter, granddaughter, niece or
god daughter. So it makes sense that their role models are also women of a
If society is finally ready
to accept that these women are simply inspiring, no matter their age, it’s time
that retailers realise who their customers are so we can all aspire to look
just as fashionable as Didion, Mitchell and Apfel … no matter what age.
There is something really
attractive about a woman who is confident – and comfortable – with her age and
style. As Oscar Wilde once said “youth is wasted on the young”, maybe we could say that “fashion is wasted on the young”.
And who can forget Coco Chanel’s famous last words: “You can be gorgeous at 20, charming at 40, and irresistible for the rest of your life”.
Here’s to growing old!
|Dame Helen Mirren has also signed to L'Oreal. |
What are your thoughts? Do you prefer to see more realistic images of older women used in advertising campaigns? Is it really common sense or more a matter of dollars and cents? Would love to hear from you.
Labels: Generation FAB, grown-up chic, old is the new black, style matters, what every woman needs