Twiggy, second from left, featured in the Marks and Spencer campaign last September at age 57, and had a positive imact on the company's profits.
It seems that models previously deemed 'too old' for the fickle industry of fashion photography are the new hot item, with demand for middle-aged models far outstripping supply. The demand for mature models has increased 30-40% over the last three years and is continuing to rise. One of the first campaigns notable for it's use of older models was Dove's 'Real Beauty' campaign, using 95-year-old Irene Sinclair and asking the question 'Wrinkled or Wonderful?'. The campaign also featured 45-year-old Merlin Glozier with the accompanying question 'Grey or Gorgeous?'.
Couture fashion houses are also starting to recognise maturity in women as something to be celebrated. With 48-year-old Sharon Stone being unveiled as the new face of Christian Dior, Prada using 52-year-old Kim Basinger to promote her miu miu label, and Versace using Madonna,47, in their campaign last year.
Elaine Dugas, a director at London's Models 1, says the resurgence of mature models is because 'visually people want to see something that is realistic'. And while all the models used are still very aspirational for their age, surely the industry move toward recognising maturity in women is a positive change? It is more likely, that as opposed to being a feel good exercise by the fashion industry it is an economic strategy, as companies acknowledge the realities of an ageing population, and the high levels of disposable income that middle-aged women now have searching the market for luxury goods. Women are sick of seeing 15-year old girls advertising anti-wrinkle creams it seems.
ref:The Independent on Sunday, 15.1.06