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Max Nash/AP
Naomi Campbell, 38

Older Cover Girls Showing Gray Is the New Black

July 15, 2008 07:59 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
“Sophisticated” fashion models well past their 20s are all the rage, as companies cater to baby boomers who want to see themselves reflected in ads.

30-Second Summary

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The more mature faces that will be featured in print ads this fall include Claudia Schiffer, 38, for Chanel and Ferragamo, Christy Turlington, 39, for Escada, and Naomi Campbell, 38, who recently replaced 34-year-old Kate Moss as the face of Yves Saint Laurent.

"The market for older models has exploded," said Ginni Conquest, co-director of the sophisticated women's division at Wilhelmina Models in New York, to the Los Angeles Times. "It's our fastest-growing area, and it's a first for the industry."

The trend, says the Times, is driven by baby boomers, who wield $2 trillion in spending power and make up about one-quarter of the population.

Lara Harris, who in her 40s has recently decided to go back into modeling, tells NPR that the new interest in older models "has to do with women in the workforce, and they have buying power, and they want to see themselves reflected in the ad campaigns and the catalogues and the magazines that they read."

It's not just the high-end designers that are looking to boost their wrinkle quotient. In September, retailer J. Crew plans to feature 58-year-old model Pia Gronning in its Web catalog. And earlier this summer, TV Land ran a reality series called "She's Got the Look" in which women over the age of 35 competed for a modeling contract.

Older models are nothing new to fans of Carmen Dell'Orefice, a runway veteran who at 76 is often called "the world's oldest working model."

Headline Links: Older models back in demand

Key Players: Carmen Dell'Orefice; Naomi Campbell

Related Topic: 'Male Models Shrinking to Fit New Ideal'

Reference: 'She's Got the Look'

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