ursula wallis

It’s Not Betty White?

I have to confess. As a blogger, I’m an absolutely terrible news outlet. When I come across a new, exciting piece of information, ripe for posting, I immediately make sure to do nothing about it. I nod to myself, “Wow, that’s great. People need to know about this.” I spend a week thinking about it, arguing that I’m trying to organize the information, and wade through all my homework before I take the time to blog. For these reasons, it may come as no surprise to some of you that a few weeks ago, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s fashion line, The Row, published their Fall 2014 lookbook. Ordinarily at this time of year, that would be no surprise and merely signal that the company hadn’t gone under in the past three months. However, this time, making a statement beyond its delicious fabrics and utilitarian designs, The Row stunned fashion followers when they employed the modeling talents a famous 60-something: Linda Rodin. Ursula Wallis, 39, and Esther de Jong (whose agency wouldn’t release her age) also modeled for the collection. None of these ladies are strangers to the fashion scene, let alone the runway (Wallis was in Prada’s 2013 Fall show). Linda Rodin, in particular, has a resume that begins with her modeling alongside Twiggy in the 1960s, going on to edit Harper’s Bazaar, and spans to her skincare and perfume line, Rodin Olio Lusso, today.

Ursula Wallis:

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Esther de Jong Comparison:

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Now, I don’t know about you, but however fabulous each of these ladies may be, until seeing The Row’s lookbook, I had never heard of any of them. Maybe I’m just too young, but I don’t think that’s the answer. To be honest, when it comes to older women in the limelight, few come to mind. Except one. How could anyone overlook Betty White?

Betty White Visits Fuse's "No. 1 Countdown"

Admittedly, I am also partial to the Dames Julie and Maggie.

But for whatever reason in my mind, Betty White seems like the sole vocal representative of older women in entertainment (yes, I know she’s not in fashion). While I know this is an exaggeration, I would be interested to see what others think of when they think of older women in entertainment/ fashion. I’m fascinated by The Row’s step in this direction, and only want to know why aren’t others already diversifying the ages of their models? I can think of three reasons (let me know your thoughts!):

1. I would think that the main concern of using older models is that you might lose a younger consumer audience (do they even have money anyway?).

Graduate-Holding-Empty-Piggy-Bank

2. Advertising 101: Sex sells. While we aren’t selling sex to women per se when they are looking at others, the people we see modeling on any other runway are what we WANT to look like. There’s the lust to look sexy like them and so we buy the product. While I am not proposing that 60-year-olds are not or cannot be sexy, I just think that fewer 20-year-olds think “sexy” when they see an older woman.

Whether or not those are apt reasons, I’ll be interested to see how The Row does financially this Fall. Furthermore, I think it’s refreshing to see a high fashion line channel a look other than an exotic infanta, rolling in newfound libido (which explains why none of them have grown breasts yet — now I’m just ranting irrationally). The point is, old women are fabulous, and I think that we forget that because we don’t see them in that station. Men get their leather libraries and persian slippers, but where are our grandmothers? I only see Betty.

Quite Right.

Quite Right.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love Ari Seth Cohen’s blog, Advanced Style because he photos breathtaking women who aren’t juggling college, a fixie, and a skinny vanilla latte. I like women with businesses, grandchildren, and the perm you never thought to try. It’s not that I don’t like the first group, rather, it’s like someone’s put too much water in my apple juice, the media has diluted their poignance. Why does high fashion, the most creative industry in the market, pander to the same tired age group? I love Karlie Kloss just as much as the next girl, but I’d like to see more marketing where in this direction.

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I’ll help the practice along with one of the most beautiful women I know.

For more information on other older models still working out there, check out this Huffington Post article.