Is it me, or is everyone talking about AGE these days? At first I thought it was me because I’m in the process of writing a post for another blog about vintage for the over 40 set. I’m been giving the issue a lot of thought, but you’ll have to wait a few weeks for that one.
But while pondering the question of how wearing vintage clothing might be different for a person in their teens and one in their 50s, I keep stumbling over articles that deal with the issue of aging, and in particular, aging and fashion.
First up, the fall 2012 Lanvin ad campaign. For this campaign, the people at Lanvin decided to use “real” people, including Advanced Style blog regulars 62-year-old Tziporah Salamon and 82-year-old Tajah Murdock. According to Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz, “The phenomenon I see today of women erasing their age – nobody is allowed to have an age anymore, nobody is allowed to have wrinkles or imperfections. I thought, let’s change that, let’s show that fashion can be amazing on 81-year-olds and 17-year-olds, on Tziporah, who is not size 36, and she looks gorgeous.”
Okay, I can relate to that, being 57 and not size 36 myself. (A European size 36 is like a US 4, and a UK and Australian 8)
Even more interesting is American Apparel’s use of 60-year-old Jacky O’Shaughnessy as the model in a recent campaign, Advanced Basics. She was spotted while having dinner in a restaurant. You’ve got to wonder if the ad people were told to “get out there and find us a stunning old lady.” Not that 60 is THAT old.
I think is is a sad commentary on our society that this is even news. Everyone wears clothes, so why aren’t clothes marketed toward everyone? I really started thinking about that this week when Jody posted on her blog about how companies, even those that have been known for their quality products, have started skimping in order to save a buck on construction costs. As an example, she posted a tee shirt from Eileen Fisher.
If you aren’t familiar with Eileen Fisher, you should know that the line is pretty much targeted toward the 40+ set. The shapes are simple and forgiving, the colors neutral, and they make their products up to a size XL. So why are all the models on the site a size 0 with an average age of 22? Whether we like it or not, the simple truth is that as we age, our body shape changes. Very few women have the same shape at 55 that they had at 25, even women who watch their weight and have remained slim. With so much of our clothing purchases being made on-line with just the aid of a few photographs, it would be helpful if the photos featured women of the target purchasing group.
(Not to bash Eileen Fisher, as this is a problem industry wide. And there is a nifty feature on their site where the Eileen Fisher employees get to play dress-up with the goods. I got a much better sense of how the clothing actually would look on different body types from that slide show than I got from any of the sales pages.)
So two ad campaigns do not a trend make, but it is a step in the right direction. Maybe we’ll even see a model who is 60, 5’2″ and weighs 130! Don’t hold your breath.