Why it's a golden age for beautiful older women
The fashion industry is embracing mature models, and there's good reason for it, says Deirdre Reynolds
Sizzling on the cover of Esquire this month, Cameron Diaz reveals how she feels hotter than ever at 40. Bombshell Diaz shot to fame as the fresh-faced star of The Mask in 1994.
But almost 20 years and several laughter lines later, the actress says she's never been happier.
"There's no such thing as anti-ageing," says Diaz. "It's all a crock of sh*t -- you can't go back in time.
"Getting older is the best part of life. I know myself better. As far as the physicality of it -- I feel better at 40 than I did at 25."
But Cameron isn't the only one getting better with age.
More than six decades after first gracing the cover of Vogue, Carmen Dell'Orefice (81) left models a quarter of her age in the shade at New York Fashion Week last month.
Meanwhile, after being dumped as the face of Lancome for reportedly being 'too old' at 43, Italian star Isabella Rossellini has just been snapped up by Bulgari at 60.
And the latest Lanvin campaign stars 82-year-old grandmother-of-10, Jacquie Tajah Murdock.
"There's no such thing as a shelf life for models any more," says Derek Daniels of Assets Model Agency in Dublin.
"Models don't get old -- they just change category.
"We represent almost 20 models in our 'Classics Fashion' category -- all of whom are a great representation of today's glamorous older women."
"The way the economy has gone, it's people who've raised their family and repaid the mortgage that have money to spend -- and I think retailers have copped on to that."
In Ireland, there are more than 1.2 million people over 50 and over-50s account for 54pc of consumer spending here.
Yet more than 90pc of advertising is still aimed at under-50s.
"There's a market for older models that wasn't there 15 years ago and it's getting bigger," says Elaine Dugas, director of the older models division at Models 1, one of Europe's top agencies.
'Visually, people want something that is more realistic. There's a generation of older women with great buying power who don't want to be in blue rinses and long skirts.
"They want to see women who inspire them."
And few are more inspiring than one of Dugas's own models, Daphne Selfe.
At 83, the British beauty puts her 60-year catwalk career down to good genes -- not Botox.
"I've never had anything done to my face," says Selfe, who's the world's oldest supermodel.
"Not that poison, not a facelift. I think it's a waste of money.
"It's going to happen," she adds of the ageing process, "so why worry?"