Fall 2019 Fashion's Shows Thankfully Had Models of All Ages
Several years ago Amedeo Modigliani‘s Portrait de Paulette Jourdain (circa 1919), drew a volley of bids at a Sotheby’s auction of A. Alfred Taubman’s collection, eventually being hammered down for a cool $38 million. The subject of the painting, Paulette Jourdain, was Modigliani‘s favorite muse, she posed for the artist when she was all of 15 years old.
The story of artists from Picasso to Klimt who found ‘inspiration’ in youthful muses plays like a broken record. In many respects fashion too represents just a short segment of the age album, offering up a bevy of models in late teens to early 20s all chosen to reflect the designer’s ideal beauty. All the while showcasing wears that are more than likley purchased by women whose ages aren’t represented on the runway.
That is until this season, when the artist of the fashion medium, designers, came to recognize that muses of all ages have merit. Salvatore Ferragamo, Etro, Proenza Schouler, Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney,Burberry, Simone Rocha, Marc Jacobs and more woke up to the idea that women of a certain age can relate to women near their own age and perhaps more. Granted we all understand that samples are traditionally done in one size for cost savings, and it can be difficult to maintain that size as the benefits of age and good wine take hold. However, it was a welcome sight this season to find designer’s paint portraits with muses of different ages.
Leading the movement this season specifically was Paul Andrew, Creative Director of Salvatore Ferragamo and Veronica Etro of Etro, both of whom fully embraced age diversity beyond one-off models to round out their shows. Casting talents like Alek Wek (41), Liisa Winkler (38), Kristy Hume (42), Tatjana Patiz (52), and Violetta Sanchez (60+) to name a few, both of these creatives aligned their perspective houses with the actual customer. Donatella Versace and Marc Jacobs both embraced the power of ‘Supers’ as Versace opened with Shalom Harlow (45) and closed with Stephanie Seymour (50), while Jacobs brought Christy Turlington Burns (50) back to close his New York collection.
And while a few designers closed with a model other than a 20-year-old, it is obvious the doors of age diversity are opening as the artist come to understand like Salvador Dali, whose muse/wife Gala was ten years his senior, that true beauty often comes with age.