January 12, 2015

thoughts on: fashion and women of a certain age.

on a personal note

last week, when céline released an image from their spring campaign featuring joan didion, the fashion world it seems nearly lost its mind. then, saint laurent added joni mitchell to the list of celebs fronting its music project ads and again, internet implosion. it’s as though seeing a model over the age of 25 (kate moss, gisele, et. al. not included) fronting a brand is the equivalent of a solar eclipse. but if you’ve been paying attention to fashion recently, you’d see that fashion is in an ongoing love affair with women of a certain age. how many it-girls cite iris apfel as a style icon (also, she’s starring with tavi gevinson in alexis bittar’s spring ads), marc jacobs beauty cast jessica lange and nars has worked with charlotte rampling and tilda swinton. mary-kate and ashley olsen, long known for idolizing women like lauren hutton, used linda rodin in a lookbook for their pre-fall 2014 collection.

it’s even more interesting to me, as a woman who loves fashion and blogs, and is not the age of most models, and is not the age that most think of when you think of a “fashion blogger.” i am also someone who has the means to be able to treat herself (every once in a while) to something by said designers, like céline, saint laurent, and the row. fashion designers and editors seems to love more accomplished women, yet when you flip through magazines and look at the clothes, and sometimes the models, what i see is physical youth. as vanessa friedman wrote in her piece last week in the new york times, “it’s one thing to pay lip service to the mature market…it’s another thing to design for it.” runways and magazines typically cater to physical youth, although i think of brands like the row, bottega veneta, céline, jason wu, and narciso rodriguez making and showing clothing for women of varying ages. i’m not at the age of didion or apfel where this becomes more of a concern, but i will be, and i’d like to know that i’ll still be inspired by and want to wear the designers i love and not be relegated to the shapeless and frumpy.

to me, this dalliance with the mature ties in a bit what is considered “classically beautiful,” as defined by another new york times writer. youth, it seems, is typically classically beautiful, but the look that comes from having lives a life—a full life—is not, at least not enough to be put in an ad to sell clothes. linda rodin was briefly a model in the sixties and was a fashion stylist before starting her eponymous skincare line. but, she says “why didn’t anyone want to take it (her picture) when i had no wrinkles?” we should all see ourselves as beautiful, no matter if we tall, thin, heavier, darker, or older. but that can be a challenge when the face staring back at you in a magazine isn’t that.

as i’ve gotten older and seen the changes in fashion and blogging, sometimes i wonder what i’m still doing here. in blogging, it seems success favors youth. but then i start to think about what’s so great about fashion and blogging, and it’s individuality. it’s about having your own voice and your own style, marching to the beat of your own drummer whether you’re 25 or 45 or 65. it also served as a good reminder to not get caught up in the comparison game and to keep doing me. i’m proud to see the joan didions, linda rodins, and viola davises of the world still doing—and loving what they do. in this new year, i’ll try to take a page from their book and keep on rocking it.

tildon swinton via nars; céline ad via vogue.com; the row pre-fall 2014 via style.com; jessica lange via marc jacobs