Late 2014 and 2015 so far has shown us a huge shift in the image of a role model.
“A role model is a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.”
People have gotten tired of conventional and often unnattainable beauty, of the chase for the perfect body and the eternal youth.
I remember how just few years ago, my mother was saying that all she sees in magazines and advertising are the young, slim girls promoting everything from yogurts to anti-aging creams. It definetely did not reflect what she, as a 40+ successful woman, wanted to identify with.
Finally these complains were heard, almost a decade later and 10000+ advertising campaigns with young girls after, we can see a shift in who and what can be emulated.
This season we can witness a huge industry trend for older women modelling in luxury ad campaigns.
But why did this happen you might ask?
Obviously the shift is focused on the financial success of the beauty business industry. These women represent the 50+ confident female consumers that know what they want BUT also have money to spend on their beauty and wellbeing. According to KPMG, two-thirds of all retail spending growth in the next 10 years will come from those aged 55 and over. This shows how important it is for brands to support these women in their journey for beauty, success and inner confidence.
The celebration of beauty and elegance of age, are represented by the new, mature, role models like Daphne Selfe, Iris Apfel, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Linda Rodin, Jessica Lange and more.
Linda Rodin for The Row
In 2015 the 93-year-old Iris Apfel has not only rocked few fashion campaigns starring alongside 22-year-old Karlie Kloss for Kate Spade and 18-year-old Tavi Gevinson for Alexis Bittar, but has also become the star of Albert Maysles last documentary “Iris”.
Iris Apfel in “Iris”. Iris Apfel and Karlie Kloss for Kate Spade
Younger niche brands have also picked up on this trend, like the Berlin based brand UY whose last campaign was built on the idea of timeless, ageless, seasonless garments both for him and her, represented by the goregeous older models.
Rag and Bone has also pleasantly surprised us by replacing the usual runway show for their fall 2015 collection with a short film starring a 67-year-old Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov alongside with the 26-year-old contemporary dancer Lil Buck. According to the Rag & Bone designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright “runway shows don’t resonate with the regular guy.”
In the film industry this trend can be seen in the success of Tilda Swinton, Helen Mirren, Charlotte Rampling, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep and many more women whose confidence, graceful aging and maturity has proven to be extremely seductive even for the industry where women still lie about their age in order to get the roles.
These are just few examples of this new and exciting trend that I believe is here to stay.
As an afterword I would like to mention that in many Eastern countries aging has never been shameful, on the contrary it gave older people respect as they were perceived as bearers of knowledge and experience. And now for the first time Western culture is finally going the same direction.