Thursday, 15 April 2010
Fashion beyond forty
Oh I'm more than happy to blather on for days on end about my favourite topic - style at any age - even happier when someone else does it for me! Especially when it's a proper fashion expert. This week, fabulous fashion writer and all-round lovely person, Iain R Webb talks to That's Not My Age about fashion beyond forty:
Having worked as fashion director of Harper's & Queen and The Times my readers were looking for fashion that was wider reaching than simply catwalk driven trends.
My best advice would be to take a look at what's going on at the collections but essentially do your own thing, pick and choose what suits you. Stylish women and designers with any kind of personality and longevity (from Coco Chanel to Dries Van Noten) are the ones who established their look early on and have developed it regardless of fashion's comings and goings. Sometimes they collide with fashion but more often than not they remain quite sensibly aloof from the madness.
The great thing about being over 40 (ahem!) is that you're pretty sure of your own style and shouldn't be too bothered with the need to jump on every trend being pushed by an industry hungry for new, new, new. Let the teen queens, pop princesses and their stylists tear each others hair extensions out over who was first off the mark with 'nude' or 'tribal'!
During my time in the industry I have been lucky to work with many amazingly stylish women. One of the highlights: At Harper's & Queen I got to style Honor Blackman (the original Avengers action girl) for a 1960s inspired fashion shoot. It was a thrill to work with someone who was so self-assured and down right sexy! I dressed her in leather trousers (I think they were classic Agnes B) and unfussy Chanel-type jackets that reflected her Avengers look. Timeless fashion.
Indulge in those coveted investment pieces. Although you might automatically think investment pieces need to be classic and perhaps a tad boring I actually feel that they should be anything that you REALLY love. Something that you will take delight in forever, regardless of fashions whims. Something that is special. That might be that perfect plain cashmere sweater (if you find one that suits I would recommend the old trick of buying two) or an original 1920s Fortuny evening cape, 1970s Bill Gibb knit kimono coat or a 1980s Vivienne Westwood Nostalgia of Mud sheepskin (check out Kerry Taylor Auctions or any local vintage fashion fairs) - a one-off that will garner you compliments and a little envy whenever you wear it! Enjoy!
For more fashion beyond forty check out 'In your forties and nothing to wear?' An interview with J.Crew, creative director, Jenna Lyons, 41, by Lisa Armstrong at timesonline.
Actually, I can't let this go without sticking my oar in...That's Not My Age has had a J. Crew preview (the collection is set to launch in the UK, in May at Net-a-Porter) and here are my favourite pieces:
And in true Dries Van Noten-style, I will be wearing the boyfriend fatigue jacket and stripe boat neck dress together. Thank you Iain R Webb!
Iain R Webb's latest book, Postcards From The Edge Of The Catwalk (ACC Publishing) - a personal photographic portfolio with over 500 images, spanning three decades, 'I took them all from my front row seat or at parties/events surrounding the international collections brouhaha!' - is out September/October.
Dries Van Noten catwalk shots: style.com
Polaroid: Cindy Palmano courtesy of the lovely Iain R Webb
Portrait 1: honorblackman.co.uk
Portrait 2: The Independent
Fortuny dress: 20th Century Fashion. Valerie Mendes/Amy de la Haye
PS How gorgeous is Honor Blackman?