We all saw this fantastic reunion of the original supermodels of all time; dressed in gold, floor-length gowns Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, and Carla Bruni donned the Versace runway with Donatella to the late George Michael’s Freedom. A voice announced “Gianni, this is for you,” as a curtain was drawn back to reveal the supermodels. This was to commemorate Gianni Versace’s death 20 years ago.
It was great to see these iconic women rule the runway yet again. So why isn’t it the norm to see more mature (and may I add; absolutely stunning) women on the runway or gracing the pages of fashion magazines? There has been much debate recently about the poor treatment of models, underweight and under age models are now being banned by large groups such as Kering Group and now all over France, as well as a push for more diversity and an inclusion of ethnicity and age. Protests about model diversity, including one last Saturday outside a Balenciaga show in Paris and also in London last March have been taking headlines and shaking up the industry, for the good.
Although it is still not where it needs to be, the positive news is there were over four times as many models over age 50 in the Fall 2017 fashion shows as there were employed for Spring 2016, according to the Fashion Spot’s newest diversity report.
Carmen Dell’Orefice, who is now 86 years old is one of the oldest working models and has more recently graced the runway of Guo Pei’s couture show (the couturier behind Rihanna’s iconic 2015 Met Gala look), who ended the show covered in blood-red crystals and completely stole the moment.
Being a mature model can only happen if you look after your body and mind. The next generation are already eating better, staying healthier and thus defying age, so the expiry date for modelling will hopefully increase, or no longer exist. However, I wonder if the fantasy roles and lifestyles we have created in fashion, allows us to forgo the world of youth and nubile bodies?
Images: Versace AW 2017 / Carmen Dell’Orefice / Carmen Dell’Orefice @ Guo Pei, Haute Couture Show SS 2017 / Gianni Versace and the Super Models 1991