Fashion Industry Makes Strides Towards Starring Senior Icons

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Recently, there has been an increase in older women gracing the ad campaigns of top labels and designers — golden girl crushes, if you will. Joan Didion, famed American novelist and literary journalist, was recently featured in a Celine ad. She sits on couch in an all black ensemble with a large pair of black sunglasses perched on her nose. She looks fabulous.

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Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell was featured in Yves Saint Laurent’s campaign, gracing the glossy pages of many magazines. It doesn’t stop there, and it shouldn’t; Twiggy, iconic English model, is the face of L’Oreal Paris for 2015. Iris Apfel, an American business woman, interior designer, and fashion icon is 93. She was photographed with model Karlie Kloss for a Kate Spade campaign.

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Each woman shines. Many don’t seem to realize the importance of this integration that is occurring. It is beginning to promote diversity in fashion campaigns that is so sorely needed.

“If this become the norm, I would celebrate it more. Why does this have to be front page news? If you use these people all the time, we wouldn’t have such a youth-worshipping culture” said Lisa del Rosso, a writer and professor at NYU.

She poses a fair point. Currently, it seems as if campaigns featuring older women are only a publicity stunt, but it doesn’t need to be this way. The way that Vogue uses plus size models (who, by the way, are a size eight when the average woman is a size fourteen) to shake things up could be seen as similar to the move that the industry is making now. If you feature these people all the time, it wouldn’t be so shocking: it would be a realistic representation of the demographic of trendy consumers.

Others have argued that older women in these campaigns are taking away the opportunities from younger models to break into the business. However, this doesn’t make sense because the entire industry hasn’t made a full shift from younger models and spokespeople to older ones.

What is happening here is the spreading of the message that beauty is not one shape and size, or even two shapes and sizes: it comes in all ages as well. Diversifying advertisements shows us that beauty lives on, and that women are remarkable at every age.

Grace  Halio is a contributing writer. Email her at bstyle@nyunews.com

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