Audrey Hepburn once said, “And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows.” While Audrey (like many women around the world) perfectly embodies this viewpoint, society seems to overlook ageing beauties in favour of the latest It Girls. And to begin with, it seemed like this season’s London Fashion Week was going to be no different.
In a sea of slender waists and youthful skin, those over the age of 40 usually have a hard time finding someone to identify with at fashion shows. Anna Wintour aside, older women in the audience seem to be an endangered species, and on the catwalk they’re practically extinct.
It makes no sense for women of a certain age to be so under-represented in the fashion industry when in reality they make up the highest percentage of consumers. Many designers turn a blind eye to the demand, instead choosing to focus their attention on a younger, more hip target audience.
In stark contrast, many labels fuel imperishable traditions: if a vintage Chanel handbag is regarded with such reverence because of its age, why does the same not apply to the casting of models?
Fed up with being ignored by the industry, a group of older models made the bold decision to draw attention to the issue. Waging a war on the industry and London Fashion Week itself, these courageous women stood outside the central venue and called for inclusivity: #GrowUpLFW.
A day after the protest, audiences discovered that Simone Rocha had made a timely decision with casting, and the action on the runway turned heads for all the right reasons. Modelling legends Jan de Villeneuve (72) and Benedetta Barzini (73) graced the catwalk, along with Cecilia Chancellor (50), Audrey Marnay (36), Jaimie Bochert (34).
Given that the majority of runway models are typically aged between 16 and 21, Rocha’s London Fashion Week run list highlighted the incredible diversity in her casting and her extreme contribution to the anti-ageism campaign.
Elegant and effortlessly stylish, these fashion icons serve as a welcome reminder of golden years passed. And for the younger generation, they provide an introduction to a world outside of Instagram, where beauty and age go hand-in-hand.
Feature Image Credit: @simonerocha_, @wmag, @fashioncanada
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