The golden years are serving up the latest inspiration du jour as designers look to mature muses for their campaigns and catwalks. The looks, lines and collections may be new, but the women modeling them certainly aren’t. Though we’re only a third into 2014, there’s been a budding trend of swapping fresh-faced teens and twenty-somethings with industry veterans and seasoned style icons.
At age 64, Jessica Lange was named the face of Marc Jacobs beauty (on the same day 68-year-old Charlotte Rampling was dubbed the new face of NARS) and in lieu of wispy PYTs, the star of The Row’s Pre-Fall lookbook was 65-year-old Linda Rodin. The blogosphere is still a-flutter with 62-year-old Jacky O-Shaughnessy’s American Apparel lingerie spreads, Marc Jacobs’ final Louis Vuitton ads starred 70-year-old Catherine Deneuve and 86-year-old Daphne Selfe graced the cover of Condé Nast’s S Moda. Christy Turlington is by no means “of a certain age” (she is a gorgeous 45), but can be seen fronting the SS14 campaign for Missoni. Turlington was also photographed for H&M’s 2013 Holiday ads alongside Liu Wen and Doutzen Kroes. Off the printed page, women of a certain age effortlessly walked Rick Owens’ Paris runway while aging grey hair flowed freely at Jean-Paul Gaultier.
What’s behind this newfound trend? Several things could be at play: the reverberations of Coco Rocha’s model initiative banning underage models, a realization of the spending power of baby boomers who make up a sizeable chunk of the audience, or even recognition of the personality and charm more seasoned models bring to a campaign. And to be honest there is something comforting about this trend. We know how old these women are, we know their skin has wrinkles and their bodies aren’t as tight as they once were – it’s reassuring that the brands we love and trust are using this representation of beauty as their standard and the message to sell products. There is a realist element displayed in the ads that is truly refreshing. The over-airbrushed, youth glorifying ads and magazine covers are not disappearing, but it is nice to see the new-old group of models re-claiming a few of these jobs for now.
Photo credits: Christy Turlington for Missoni shot by Viviane Sassen; H&M Holiday ad shot by Alexi Lubomirski; Linda Rodin for Pre-Fall The Row shot by Arno Frugier; Catherine Deneuve for Louis Vuitton shot by Steven Meisel