The biggest trend so far this year hasn’t been the return of the 70s (though expect a whole lot more bell-bottom in your wardrobes this year), but older women fronting luxury fashion campaigns.
Earlier this year Celine sent the internet into a frenzy by unveiling the new face of its spring 2015 collection, 80 year-old author and memoirist Joan Didion.
Didion, with her much imitated style, spare prose and effortless (and endlessly re-blogged) coolness is actually the perfect fit for the brand. Saint Laurent have collaborated with Joni Mitchell, 71, who alongside Bob Dylan is the ultimate representation of counter culture in the 1960s (and the best music to listen to when you feel sad). Karen Walker recruited the (80 years plus) and thoroughly excellent ladies of Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style blog for a recent eyewear campaign, and Julia Roberts, 47, has posed for Givenchy. Beauty campaigns have also joined in, with Nars hiring 68 year-old Charlotte Rampling and Marc Jacobs signing on American Horror actress Jessica Lange, 65.
This week Salma Hayak was announced as the new face of Pomellato, a Milanese jewellery company (once also fronted by Sofia Loren), which was acquired by the luxury-holding group run by her husband, Francois-Henri Pinault.
The celebration of older women is important, especially in a culture that so celebrates youth, rendering older women invisible. We need to see older women, we need diversity and beauty that is not a one size fits all. The problem with the ‘trend’ of using older women is that can be a novelty, or used for shock value, which then leads us back to where we started. What’s more, the women featured are still beautiful and famous women, but still, it is a start.
Besides, a brand would ignore older women at its peril.
As Salma Hayak said of her (beautiful, sexy) campaign for Pomellato, women – and older women in particular – are a force, and a purse, to be reckoned with.
“Women working and being independent are now a financial force and this has given us a voice,” Hayek said at the launch of her campaign in Milan. “The fact is that now we are earning a place in society where we are not only decoration.”
And Hayak is adamant about this.
The rise of the older woman in fashion complements another trend in very famous women, speaking out for feminism.
In a recent interview with The Guardian Hayak had this to say in response to question of whether she was a feminist,
“I am a feminist because I love women and I am ready to fight for women. I am a feminist because I am proud to be a woman, and I am passionate about making the world a better place for women. I am a feminist because a lot of amazing women have made me the woman I am today. I am inspired by women every day, as friends and as colleagues.”
Fashion campaigns that make older women visible and celebrated do make the world better – and more stylish – for all women.