Tamu McPherson | Saturday September 23rd 2017
Hi Pretty Birds,
In case you somehow missed it, the fashion world’s heart collectively stopped for a moment last night when, in a tribute to her late brother Gianni, Donatella Versace closed her SS18 show with a group of the G.O.A.T. supermodels that he loved so much; Carla, Claudia, Naomi, Cindy and Helena. No surnames necessary. The women for whom the word “supermodel” was created. This was inarguably one of the most memorable casting feats achieved this season, this year… potentially since the turn of the century? For a moment everyone in that room remembered why we got into this industry in the first place, and it was electrifying and invigorating.
And afterwards, in the car and still buzzing from the sheer energy of it, I got to thinking. These women, modeling at the begging of the 80s, when pret-a-porter marketing really kicked into overdrive and the fashion industry turned into what we know it to be today (or at least something closer to it), these were the women that led the revolution. Each of them started modeling when they were in their young teens – Naomi Campbell was recruited at age 15 – making most of them in their late forties or (gasp!) early fifties when we saw them last night.
This was such an emotional moment, these five icons to walk the runway together in memory of their friend, an icon himself, but the other dazzling thing about it was: I don’t think we’ve ever seen that many middle-aged women on a designer runway at the same time.
There are some exceptions in the casting world. The New York designers of Tome, for instance, do an amazing job of showing their collection on many different ages of women. J. Crew during Jenna Lyons tenure did an amazing job always casting inspiring-but-relatable women in their presentations and advertising. That said, the vast majority of mainstream and high fashion is shown to us in the context of how it looks on teenage girls.
Perhaps now more than ever, I feel women of all ages have access to fashion that is fun, lively, and ageless. The internet has democratized us to some degree, offering platforms to spokeswomen of all ages, sizes, colors, and those spokeswomen offer exposure and inspiration to women that would otherwise run the risk of feeling left out by the humming pulse of 16 year old waifs on every runway. Women are more empowered than ever before to dress how they feel, and I have to say that empowerment looks good on us.
Surely we have to see the immense power these women carry with their spending alone. Our teens and twenties may be our peak of frivolous spending, but most women are hitting peak Prada Gucci Dior income (the PGD Index) between 35 and 55. Why should they not expect to be acknowledged and represented across advertising and marketing?
This year I’m 41. I feel very young! But lately, as social media changes and our lives become endlessly more fast-paced, I have felt a need to connect with women in my age group that are conscious of the same things I’m conscious of, who are committed to wellness and health, inside and out. And as my body, which I love wholly and endlessly, changes with my age, I appreciate more seeing this sort of diversity in my industry. I appreciate seeing five women a few years older than me, four of whom are also mothers, coming together to be celebrated for their beauty by the entire world for just a moment. Because we really don’t see very much of that, do we?
The community we have built through All The Pretty Birds is a positive and phenomenal one. I so love hearing all of your feedback on our reporting, our edits, our point of view. In the next few months you’ll see more from us – more in-depth stories, more connection, more outreach. It is my hope that as we continue to grow this community, one of all ages and backgrounds from literally all points of the globe, we as a group can make an impact on the world with our positive energy, and that it will trickle outwards to change society’s perspective on what is the norm.
Love from Milan,