Style Knows No Age

Style Knows No Age | Joni Mitchel for Saint Laurent

I am certainly not alone in my espousal of the belief that style knows no age. And it seems lately that the fashion world agrees. Phoebe Philo’s enlightened choice of Joan Didion as the official muse for her spring campaign set off unprecedented online fervor.

Style Knows No Age | Joan Didion for Céline

After all, it isn’t often that an intellectual octogenarian has a starring fashion role (her short stint at Vogue notwithstanding). But it was perhaps the spot-on synergy with a label long associated with the understated sartorial cool of the thinking woman that gave rise to such buzz.

Style Knows No Age | Joni Mitchel for Saint LaurentAnd right on the heels of Céline’s news, Hedi Slimane announced that Joni Mitchell is the latest in the Saint Laurent Music Project, a black and white portrait series building on the relationship between music icons and the fashion house. With the continuing 70’s love on the runways, Joni’s iconic free spirit seems just right for the spring folk-inspired collection.

Style Knows No Age | Alexis Bitter campaign with Iris ApfelThese are hardly the only collaborations lately between older women of style and major brands.  Iris Apfel, at a spry 93, alongside fashion blogging ingenue Tavi Gevinson, is the latest face for jewelry label Alexis Bitter. Anjelica Huston, at what seems a downright youthful 63, did a stint for the Gap in the fall and 69 year old Helen Mirren is l’Oreal Paris’ new UK ambassador, admirably insisting that her images not be retouched.

Style Knows No Age | Helen Mirren for l'Oreal

While I applaud all these choices, I also think a word of warning may be justified. In the best of all possible worlds, admiring and celebrating older women of style should be a normal part of our culture.When a sudden flurry of ad campaigns flaunts a certain segment, it can feel forced and part of a fad and actually be counterproductive to the original sentiment. How wonderful that we honor women of accomplishment, whose contributions have lasting meaning in a culture that is often focused on less noble success. So let’s keep it on the high road, mix it up, recognize women of all ages, the precocious talents of the young as well as the continued productivity of those further along. Because each can inspire the other and prove that style and substance don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

17 thoughts on “Style Knows No Age

  1. I can’t agree more. If it is in a fashion magazine there is an agenda behind it. They do not do it every year. Thus, it is just “cool” & “the thing to do” at this moment. Not a true belief. However, it is better than “never” or “no way.” When I grow up I want to look like Jane Fonda!!!

  2. Great post! Love seeing the image of music icon Joni Mitchell. Acknowledgment to extraordinary women for inspiring our culture is what I find so wonderful. As you mention, let’s hope this continues and is not just a momentary thing or “fad”. It will be all the more surprising when we start to see un-retouched ads pop up on billboards in Times Square.

  3. Stacey I do agree with you. There is a celebration of older women because, well frankly older women are looking better than ever and taking good care of themselves. I will say there are some retailers who have had mature models for some time like Nordstom.

    The Arts by Karena

  4. It is a breath of fresh air that we women of a ‘certain age’ are not completely forgotten in the fashion world thanks to these (and many more) incredibly fashion-forward ladies.

    Terrific post Stacey, thank you! x

  5. The best post I’ve seen today!!! Stunning example of ageless beauty!
    xo. Leslie
    Segreto Finishes

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