Ageless Beauty: Ad Campaigns & Editorials That Challenge The NormSophia Elias

Who says all fashion ads need to feature young supermodels?

I have always taken interest in things that challenge the norm. So when it comes to fashion campaigns and editorials, nothing is more distinctive and unique than four 65+ year-old women wearing Karen Walker sunglasses. I was so captivated and warmed by this campaign, I couldn’t help but wonder why other designers weren’t doing the same. The campaign is headed by designer Karen Walker and photographer Ari Seth Cohen (creator of Advanced Style). Advanced Style is a blog that features an array of stylish and inspiring women who continue to shine throughout their golden years. Here is more on his collaboration with Karen Walker:

Karen Walker x Ari Seth Cohen [Advanced Style]

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Left: Lynn Dell (Age 78)
Right: Joyce Carpati (Age 80)

 

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Left: Ilona Royce Smithkin (Age 92)
Right: Linda Rodin (Age 65)

Aside from its originality, this campaign silences the complaints about models being too “skinny” or “fat” or too “beautiful” or “plain”.  Truth be told, models of any age, shape, size, race and sex will be scrutinized. But there is a purity to this campaign that is unparalleled. It’s not selling sex or fame; it’s selling sophistication, strength, individuality and old-school glamour. It challenges the notion of beauty being synonymous with youth. Just because you’re over the age of 65 doesn’t mean you’re devoid of all power, spirit and style. It sort of questions the definition of beauty altogether, doesn’t it? Even through photographs, there’s an unspoken dignity that makes these ladies so beautiful. These women make such a grand statement! The sunglasses don’t hurt either.

Check out more photos from the campaign on Trendland.

Iris Apfel for Dazed & Confused - November 2012

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Iris Apfel for Mac Cosmetics – Winter 2011

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“There’s no glamour or mystery any more. Celebrities look like they rolled in the mud” - Iris Apfel

Another poster woman of ageless beauty is fashion icon Iris Apfel. While she’s best known for those round spectacles, America’s presidents and first ladies know her to be an interior designer. At 91 years old, Iris is nothing short of extraordinary. Whether you agree with her outspoken style or not, she possesses an undeniable confidence and whimsicality that is enviable at any age. Even when she is dressed to the nines, she doesn’t leave me feeling ostracized, inadequate or unattractive. Instead, I want to know more about who she is, where she lives, what inspires her and where she likes to shop. If you’re just as intrigued as I am, I recommend you watch this video. Not only does she give insightful and unexpected advice on women’s fashion, but you also get to meet her equally inspirational husband of over 60+ years.

To see more on Iris, check out her photos and videos on Advanced Style.

Lanvin Campaign – Fall 2012

Rather than using supermodels for their Fall 2012 campaign, Lanvin opted to use nine “real” people, two of whom were women age 62 and 82. But long before these stunning ladies were cast as Lanvin models, they were flaunting their personal style around the streets of New York City.

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Tziporah Salamon (Age 62)

“In my early 20s I would have never realized that I could do something like this. It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I began to see my beauty” -Tziporah Salamon

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Jacquie Tajah Murdock (Age 82)

“This campaign is a dream come true. I grew up in Harlem always wanting to be a model, but in my day there were very little opportunities for women of color to work in fashion. At 18 I went from agent to agent looking for jobs, even as a hand model. I have finally made it and I will never give up” – Jacquie Tajah Murdock

Beyond their commanding and dignified presence in the ads, they are living, breathing examples of how dreams can come true – sometimes in the most unexpected ways. Both of these women received genuine recognition and admiration because they remained true to themselves and their personal style. These women have more than a short story to tell; they can teach us a lesson.

Sure, we’re all inundated with monotonous ad campaigns that feature the same girls over and over. But beyond that fact, why is it so refreshing to see older women making their mark in the fashion world? Sometimes we have to look to other people to realize the truth of ourselves. For me, looking at each of these ladies has taught me that we are truly limitless when it comes to what we can accomplish, just by accepting ourselves. And what can be more beautiful than that?

See the Lanvin Fall 2012 campaign in motion on their YouTube channel.

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  1. Great article! I hope I look that great and fit when I’m in my 80s.
    *Jacquie Tajah Murdock is a woman of color: http://bit.ly/YNc4Hf

  2. sizes*

    Sophia Elias | 5/11/2013 01:05 pm
  3. I always love something that breaks the stereotype, and I love the way these companies have chosen to embrace age and sophistication. However, I can’t help but notice how there are no women of color represented, and all the women are extremely thin. Will we ever crush this mindset that the only desirable women (regardless of age) are white and emaciated?

    • Hey Madeline,
      Thanks so much for reading.
      The very last woman featured (Jacquie Tajah Murdock) is a woman of color and mentions her struggle to find opportunities to work in fashion when she was younger. Check out her quote right below the photo.
      Also check out Ari Seth Cohen’s blog Advanced Style. You’ll see he photographs beautiful women of all shapes, sized and backgrounds. Enjoy!

      Sophia Elias | 5/11/2013 01:05 pm
  4. I love it! I remember seeing the Lanvin ad, but I hadn’t seen the MAC ad. Being fabulous doesn’t have an age! Shows that real beauty is in the confidence! Great post Sophia!