20 February, 2015

Is 'old' the new black?

Courtesy images
Courtesy images
Lauren Woltman
Kudos columnist

Great news ladies! Did you know that ageless beauty is really an attitude? Did you also know that with age comes a special kind of timeless beauty? The kind of beauty that emerges from within and shines brightly outward ... if-you-want-it-to!

The fashion world is taking notice! It began last fall, when Lanvin featured models in their late 30s and early 40s - Violetta Sanchez, Kirsten Owen, Esther de Jong, Amber Valletta, and more - reflecting both the idea that women are more refined with time and possibly recognizing that you basically have to be in that age bracket or above to be able to afford their wares. Earlier this year, luxury brand CĂ©line debuted an ad from its upcoming Spring 2015 campaign with literary giant Joan Didion at its center. "She is an American icon; a fashion icon," famed photographer Juergen Teller said. He snapped the chic 80-year-old.

The shot falls squarely into a mature movement that's currently sweeping advertising and social media. It's amazing and it's risen to a whole new level! I believe a thank you belongs to Ari Seth Cohen and the beautiful ladies of Advanced Style! Older women are no longer giving up and giving in. They are experiencing new inspiration for living longer, younger, healthier, happier, choosing to express themselves uniquely, tastefully and timelessly styled. Not competing stylistically with their daughters, but guiding them.

"It's really grabbing so much attention," Grey Advertising executive creative director Alice Ericsson said. Attention further grew in January when Saint Laurent released ads featuring folk rock icon, 71-year-old Joni Mitchell strumming a tune on her guitar at the center of their newest ad campaign.

Iris Apfel, 93, is as busy as ever, modeling for both Kate Spade and Alexis Bittar this season. L'Oreal has added Twiggy and Helen Mirren to their already-stacked roster of mature spokeswomen, including Jane Fonda and Diane Keaton.

"They're all icons. They're amazing," Ericsson said. "They have substance. They also have wrinkles."

In its newly released spring 2015 campaign called "Better than Ever," Barneys is celebrating the allure of the older woman. The message behind the campaign is that a woman can command a room, more effectively and more powerfully when she's in her 40s or 50s or 60s than a young girl in her 20s.

Barneys has used older faces before, but this time the heat is rising. "What we're trying to say is this: 'You have a long life and this life is a rich life, and this life doesn't end at 25,'" says Dennis Freedman creative director at Barneys. "That's a very, very important message to send to millennials."

Although advertisers are chasing millennials, hoping to build loyalty with a group on their way in, not out, it's estimated that consumers older than 60 spend more than $8 trillion a year on fashion, beauty and basic luxury items.

"This is a really important demographic and these women have all the money and all the buying power," Ericsson said.

The ads showcase faces lined with wisdom and humor, grey hair lending gravitas and life experience making a woman more desirable. "I think it's a fad that will continue," Ericsson said. "At one point, at the Tom Ford Modeling Agency, everyone was naked. Maybe old is the new naked." 

Are you ready to grow ageless? At 53, I'm certainly game!

Lauren Woltman is the owner of Hop Sing Trading Co. in the Bashford Courts, 130 W. Gurley St.

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