In the modeling world, age is proving to be just a number. When you think model you might picture a fresh-faced twenty-something walking down the runway in one haute-couture outfit or another. Models are oftentimes plucked off the street at ages as young as 11 or 12 years old, and if they’re lucky they stay in the business until they’re 30. But these days, we are seeing an entirely new and refreshing modeling demographic. This new era of modeling consists of the Mature Model. The Mature Model is older, wrinkles frame the face, grey hair pops among unique outfits - the Mature Model is cool, and showing the world that age is something that should be proudly displayed.
Age is in
As our world is diversifying and people are open about wanting to see a wide range of people in the media they ingest, older models are finding their place in the industry. Whether it’s an advertisement for clothing, accessories, or beauty products, people are more likely and more willing to purchase if they feel as though they are represented in the imagery. People are also more willing to accept the utility of the product when they can be confident that it will work for them as an individual. There was notable outrage when Dior selected Cara Delevingne, a 26-year-old model, to be the face of their anti-aging campaign. It made no sense. Why should a 26-year-old with not a wrinkle on her face be the face of an anti-aging product? Where Dior messed up, other companies have acted appropriately. L’Oreal selected Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton and Helen Mirren for the campaign for their anti-aging product line. Using models who actually need and use the product is key, it’s honest and it’s realistic. But that is just one factor in the discussion surrounding ageism. L’Oreal went one step further when they cast Fonda, Keaton, and Mirren to model for other cosmetics as well. Cosmetics that people use at every age, but for some reason are only displayed on the faces of the 20-year-old model.
Age is Just a Number
We know that age is just a number. We know that you don’t just stop wearing lipstick at a certain age. You also don’t stop shopping for new clothes. You don’t stop needing things, but these companies essentially stop marketing to us. But then comes the Mature Model. The Fonda’s, Keaton’s, Mirren’s of the world and more. We are building a foundation of a universal acceptance of older people, and this foundation is expanded upon when we begin to see people who look like us enjoying the material goods in life.
Take Oldushka, for example. Oldushka is a Moscow-based modeling agency breaking the modeling mold and introducing us to the people who are taking the modeling world by storm. The agency exclusively represents models over the age of 45 and its roster currently includes models up to age 85. The agency grew out of Igor Gavar’s passion project, his blog chronicling retiree street style. He was fascinated by the beauty he saw in these faces and he wanted to highlight their value on a larger scale. The youngest model signed to the agency is 60, despite the 45 year old cutoff. The one male model is 45, though, but he was signed because he’s older than he looks with his long grey beard.
As of now the agency represents 18 models in cities across Russia, and these models are seriously hitting the mainstream in Russia. The models are seen all over look books of local designers and brands, as well as magazines, and even in a Saint Laurent Russia campaign, naturally blending in with models of all ages.
Oldushka is unique in the fact that it exclusively signs models older than 45, but like L'Oreal, other companies are certainly starting to see the value in proudly displaying age. For the Fall 2017 fashion season Dries Van Noten cast models well into their 50s, 85-year-old model Carmen Dell’Orefice closed the Guo Pei show and Simone Rocha’s show included 72-year old Jan de Villeneuve and 73-year-old Benedetta Barzini.
We hope to see the Olduskha beauty-defies-age agency expand to the rest of the world. The beauty in old age is well-known to those living in it; it’s time for the world to see the talent that is held in our later years.