Yes, this rocks.
Not only are these women “grown-up”, but they are also influential female powerhouses.
There’s something in the air, and it feels like a fresh, new version of feminism: Equality among the ages. (feminism is defined as equality between the sexes, but why should age be left out?) Joan Didion for Céline, 2015 and Joni Mitchell for Saint Laurent’s Music Project, 2015.
I don’t mind seeing young, beautiful models in high fashion. Pretty Young Things are, well, pretty and make everything around them sort of glow, it’s true. But when I saw these ads of Joan and Joni I wanted to jump on my chair. It felt like something REAL, and powerful… fashion as represented by women of experience and accomplishment. (I feel it necessary here to make a note about women whose career is/was being a model, and who also do great work–there are many! Liya Kebede, Karolina Kurkova, Natalia Vodianova, Christy Turlington-Burns, Lauren Hutton.. just to name a few).
A young female writer, Elisa Rodriguez-Vila, recently wrote a short piece titled “What if all the major fashion brands ditched supermodels and hired super women instead?“, in which she revealed her own mock-fashion ads featuring brilliant and atypical women of her choice. Clever and pretty profound. I love the image of Laverne Cox in a Versace ad (and somehow I feel like this may well happen!)
I think Tom Ford is owed a shout for opening his namesake collection debut, back in autumn of 2010, with a flock of beautiful, brilliant, talented women–aged 22 to 67 years old– modeling his stunning looks on the catwalk. It was a private show, done in the old-school tradition, very high-glamour and pomp. Some of the amazing ladies who walked for him: Daphne Guinness, Lisa Eisner, Marisa Berenson, Rita Wilson (love her!!!), Julianne Moore, Lauren Hutton, Beyonce Knowles… the whole team was suprême.
I’ve never read a work by Joan Didion, but she has long been on my list of “authors I must read one day”. Now I find myself moving her to the top of that list. I found this Didion interview from the 1970’s, via the Paris Review, and I really enjoyed it. Some highlights that spoke to me:
Regarding her first novel, Run River, and being talked into changing the title (from Harvest Home) “I just wasn’t good enough… I was not very sure of myself then, or I never would have changed the title.” About being “scared” when writing Play it as it Lays…”There’s a point when you go with what you’ve got. Or you don’t go.” And responding to a question about the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman writer:
“…A certain amount of resistance is good for anybody.
It keeps you awake.”
Perhaps my favorite bit is when she references sewing, in such a poetic way, [regarding her book Common Prayer] “So then I had to go back and lay in the preparation for the revolution. Putting in that revolution was like setting in a sleeve. Do you know what I mean? Do you sew? I mean I had to work that revolution in on the bias, had to ease out the wrinkles with my fingers.”
Joni Mitchell photographed by Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent. Joan Didion photographed by Juergen Teller for Céline, photo via Vogue.com. “Laverne for Versace” mock by thisisfusion (link above in article). Images from Tom Ford’s runway show all shot by Terry Richardson, found via awake-smile.