Fashion world welcomes older models

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 September, 2012, 11:18am

Fashion's obsession with youth might be waning. Could it be losing its love of adolescent waifs? Probably not entirely, judging by the girls on the catwalk and in magazines. But the trend of young teens modelling high fashion clothes bought by women mostly in their 30s and 40s is being challenged.

Some fashion weeks are banning too-thin girls and those under the age of 16. Vogue, led by fashion doyenne Anna Wintour, backed the move with a pledge this year not to use young teen models or those who seem to have an eating disorder.

This season, runways in New York have also taken note, with a rare celebration of beauty at different ages. A glamorous 81-year-old Carmen Dell'Orefice, officially the world's oldest model, set the runway alight in New York, walking for Norisol Ferrari and Finnish brand Marimekko. The silver-haired stunner made her first major splash as a Vogue cover girl at the tender age of 15. In recent years, she has walked for designers such as French couturier Stéphane Rolland.

American actress Carol Alt, at 52, was another surprise in New York. And celebrity favourite Zac Posen enlisted supermodels Naomi Campbell, 42, Erin O'Connor, 34, and Alek Wek, 35, to show off his spring-summer 2013 collection. Some brands, such as Hermès, have been sending women in their 40s down the runway for years.

The cover girl for the latest issue of The Gentlewoman, known for featuring women of substance rather than just style, is 86-year-old Angela Lansbury, star of television series Murder She Wrote. Lansbury was shot by photographer Terry Richardson in a playful photo story.

Perhaps the message is that it's time for fashion to grow up.