Agé models uplift brand back to luxury

Text by: Costanza Nardini

After the era of supermodels, goddesses with sculptural bodies, the world has begun a slow but radical process of revaluation of beauty. The triumph came along the curvy appreciation and the charm for what is regarded as androgynous and imperfect; today we are finally witnessing the latest revolution, the one of the Age Equality.

Those who work in the fashion system, generally, spend a few years of glory before falling into a battle with obsessive implications: the one against time and, consequently, against the most immaculate and sexy colleagues. Beauty creams, aesthetic retouches and targeted diets can help, but no one has yet found the way to stop the clock hands. But now we are witnessing a real re-temperance of the fashion industry among the grey beauty, which since forever has been cut out from a younger, and in a way, more appealing target.

Versace, Fall 1991, ready to wear show, Guy Marineau
Kate Moss, Vivienne Westwood, 90s, runway
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For years, the circle of the cruel targeting and irrepressible process has settled the agé world aside, focusing only on the most vicious generations. But today finally, “Old but Gold” motto has never been so true: the enchanting story between the wrinkles grew as the more alluring one opposing mainstream and stereotyped aesthetics.

Mass market companies, bridge brands and luxury houses used to embrace all the same aesthetic and emotional target, as long as the products were cool and transmit certain values. But this was pure utopia. They realized in fact that doing this they were ignoring a huge market’s slice… Grey models are not only a major re-consideration of beauty, but also a smart strategy to gain back a valuable target clientele: the one able to truly appreciate luxury meant as materials, labor and preciousness, where monetary price remains secondary in front of quality and uniqueness. More mature women, indeed, are usually more loyal in buying luxury fashion items, compared maybe to an occasional teen customer who receives the Prada bag of her dreams for Christmas by her mom.

The agé trend is hold by giants like Max Mara, who developed an iconic and effective mother-and-daughter campaign which doesn’t have an end. The brand’s choice aims to give relevance and re-styling to the iconic camel coat through a more genuine and direct communication. The epic success reached by the fashion house is the cast of models representing the real story behind the coat itself. As visible from the editorial, the elder women is always the protagonist and the one who gives attitude to the iconic piece: she is not letting the coat dress her, she dresses the coat. This shows how at our eyes grey models are much more relevant and innovative in comparison with the oversaturated young ideals: mature models enriching social diversity are a way to positively evolve the fashion system.

The new sensuality, elegance and strength we perceive is their unsellable secret.

A very interesting point of view is also the one of the artist Patrick Church, who showed his latest collection on models ranging from 65 to 99 years old. “When we were casting the models, we fell in love with one of them and their stories. We found them more confident and beautiful than the normative models”, Church said.

Dolce and Gabbana is also pioneer in this revaluation of beauty. The maison had the privilege to have the living example of “life going wild” after the 70th birthday: the captivating and maternal face that teaches determination and timeless elegance, the 70-year-old model and dietician Maye Musk was rocking one of the latest Italian maison’s runway with the most stunning attitude.

Along with her, walked the runway timeless divas such as Carla Bruni, Eva Herzigova, and 54-year-old Marpessa Hennink, not having anything to envy to their catwalk colleagues Emily Ratajkowski and Ashley Graham. Clothes never gained more significance worn by such personalities.

Dolce and Gabbana runway, SS 19, ready to wear, Carla Bruni, Getty Images
Dolce and Gabbana runway, SS 19, ready to wear, Eva Herzigová
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Since few seasons, straightaway from the 90’s the queen of black panthers and fashion muse Naomi Campbell, is walking the runways again. Aiming the agé renaissance, Naomi just closed the haute couture Valentino show, dressing an amazing semi-transparent black dress, exalting her beauty again and again.

Now that both the no-more-teen models’ trend and the 90s nostalgia are so strong, we have back on the stage the supermodels of that time and their daughters too. The DNA continues to walk the same runways. From mother to daughter, beauty reshapes itself: Kristen McMenamy iconic attitude is been carefully followed by her daughter Lily McMenamy, then Ambra Le Bon, the eldest of the three daughters of the British singer Simon Le Bon and model Yasmin Le Bon, taking steps forward into the fashion system. Among the others, also the immutable charm of Cindy Crawford has been passed down to her daughter Kaia, who is one of the most requested and paid models of the past year.

Certainly, the age revaluation trend didn’t came for chance. The process began just in the 90s, when the brands’ agenda was based on establishing themselves within a younger and more daring generation, leaving elder ladies in the background… As by that time getting old seemed a shame and something to fight fiercely against, no one was considering or being interested in the real needs and wants of such loyal customers. This brought to the highest peak of brands’ stagnation among the same common target, and therefore the step back on the reconsideration of the agé world has been taken properly today. Now more than ever, the authenticity long desired, is no longer searchable in progress, but is sought in the lives of people, those who really appreciate a good not for whim but for passion.