Age has always been a huge issue in the world of fashion, be it prepubescent models on the catwalks at fashion week or the whole mutton dressed as lamb scenario that the unlucky few become victim of. There is an invisible fine line as to what is acceptable and at what age, but I constantly find myself asking… “Who sets these rules and conventions?” Surely (and I whole heartedly believe that) people can choose exactly what they want to wear without fear of criticism from the outside world.
Recently, it appears that the fashion industry is undergoing a revolution with 80 becoming the new 20! This is thanks to a whole new wave of fashion icons who, when grouped together, have the average age of 104. Iris Apfel, 91, has recently released a collection with MAC Cosmetics, whilst Jacquie Murdoch, 82, posed in a campaign for Lanvin. Many older women are now getting the chance to showcase their impeccable sense of style thanks to established brands and fashion houses who are looking at these women for inspiration and wisdom.
This style revolution has been a slow but constant process and has been on our radar for many decades. What has acted as the catalyst however, is the presence of fashion blogs who champion the elegance and style of older, less trend led women. Blogs like Advanced Style, That’s Not My Age and The Woman’s Room all work to promote the beauty, wisdom and sophistication older women possess. The focus is not on the names of designers worn, it is purely on the individual style of each woman and it is this ethos that fits hand in hand with Maggie Semple Ltd.
70-100 is a powerful age group and many inspirational women fall into this group. Women of this age carry the knowledge of the past as well as the knowledge of the present. This makes them a very attractive prospect for retailers who know that these women have worked their entire lives to reach the top of their careers and now, as a result, have a killer spending power, unrivalled by none. It is no surprise that retailers are now targeting and tailoring their campaigns towards this generation of women. Dolce and Gabbana’s family campaign has grown to reach iconic status and brands like Lanvin and Celine are also jumping on the bandwagon with adverts featuring women 80+.
Whilst brands are focussing on the two extremes in age only a few are focussing on the gap in the middle. House of Fraser collaborated with Mary Portas at the beginning of the year to produce a line of clothes strictly for women 40+. The clothes were stylish, elegant and still followed trends with out appearing to be trend led. It seems that finally retailers are realising that they cannot keep aiming their lines at girls because one day these girls grow up to become women and will still want to look attractive and stylish.
We need to take a different outlook towards fashion. No longer are garments to be seen as age specific, the adverts themselves prove that a skirt can look just as glamorous on a twenty year old as it can on someone of 70 years. For this reason, we should step back from the hype surrounding the catwalks and take a look at the world around us; you are bound to see many stylish women on your walk to work in the mornings. These are the women we should be looking up to, not the high street clones who dominate the streets.