Old Is The New Young

Update: Iris Apfel just joined the party

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A 93-year-old woman is pictured linking arms with a young girl on a park bench. So far so sweet, right? Except the 93-year-old in question is Iris Apfel: interior designer, businesswoman and fashion icon. And the girl she's linking arms with is Karlie Kloss.

This is no family portrait. This is Kate Spade's s/s 2015 global ad camapign.

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In case you missed it, experience - or, let's be frank, older age - is trending.

The just-released Kate Spade ads are the tip of an extraorinary iceberg.

Era-defining singer Joni Mitchell is the latest star of Saint Laurent’s Music Project. She’s 71. Iconic 60s supermodel Twiggy has been unveiled as the new L’Oréal Professionnel UK brand ambassador at 65. And Céline's newest ad campaign stars Joan Didion, the 80-year-old multi-award-winning American journalist and author.

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We might barely be one week into 2015, but we know a trend when we see one.

Older age, which in reality is something to celebrate, has long been pushed off the agenda. Particularly when we talk about women. Older men succeed - see Robert Redford, Harrison Ford - whereas typically, older women simply fade out. 

Occasional headlines about ‘older models’ do crop up, but the ‘older’ to which they habitually refer means the 30 to 45 bracket. It’s like anything beyond that doesn’t exist. What would one even call that: super–old? 

Here, super-old women are front and centre. They are where the smart money is right now.

Selfridges is ahead of the curve, having reimaged its Bright Young Things initiative for 2015 as Bright Old Things - in a bid to ‘help readjust the lens with which we view exciting new creative talent,’ its press office explains. For January, all fourteen of the store’s windows have each been reimagined by one of its chosen talents – a mix of both men and women, all of whom range in age from late-forties to mid-eighties - including Molly Parkin, one-time Fashion Editor at The Sunday Times and now a talented painter at 82, and chef-turned-artist Sue Kreizman (pictured centre, below).

It’s a timely sea change. Earlier this month, Russell Crowe was roundly criticized for commenting to the Australian Woman’s Weekly that it’s a myth that older women can’t find work in acting.

‘To be honest, I think you’ll find that the woman who is saying that (the roles have dried up) is the woman who at 40, 45, 48, still wants to play the ingénue, and can’t understand why she’s not being cast as the 21-year-old,’ he said. 

Really, Russell? We imagine that the opposite is true. See, we just can’t imagine that the kind of smart, ballsy women who make it in Hollywood (see Charlize Theron, 39, who has just demanded that she’s paid equally to co-star Chris Hemsworth for Snow White And The Huntsman 2) would ever want to be teenagers again – and we imagine that’s even more true of their super-old counterparts.

How brilliant that, as well as hearing their voices, we’re now also seeing their faces for the first time in, well, ages.

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