Saturday 19 August 2017

Why the supermodel band was banned

Yasmin and old friends are just the latest ladies to prove that age is no barrier to being considered seriously sexy, says Chrissie Russell

Thirty years after Duran Duran caused a furore with their raunchy 'Girls on Film' music video and the band have done it again. Last week both MTV and VH1 refused to play the 1980s icons' nine-minute long 'Girl Panic' video deeming it too 'sexy' for appropriate viewing.

Not a bad badge of honour for a band with a cumulative age of 204 and even better for the stars of the video, most of whom are mums and predominantly over 40.

But while they may not be in the first flush of youth, the women in the video prove that they were 'super' models for a reason.

The troupe -- Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Eva Herzigova and Helena Christensen, brought together by Simon Le Bon's model wife Yasmin -- appear as members of the band in the playful video that sees them in states of undress, swigging champagne and partying with other nubile creatures who kiss and fondle each other.

Looking every bit as stunning as she did 26 years ago, Naomi Campbell pulls back curtains dressed in stockings while Helena Christensen lounges in a bell-hop's trolley clothed in a bustier, swigging champagne. Saucy scenes that music bosses will no doubt say need editing if the video is ever to make it on to TV screens.

In today's youth-obsessed world where endless cycles of America's Next Top Model and The Agency look to launch the next big catwalk name, it's telling that the ladies generating headlines are the ones who were strutting their stuff 20 years ago.

But Crawford and co are far from the only 40-plusses proving that they still have the power to shock and awe.

Just last year, Julianne Moore (51) had her Bulgari ad, in which she posed nude save for a large handbag and two lion cubs, pulled from St Mark's Square in Venice after the town's mayor deemed it 'too risque'.

Italian screen siren Monica Bellucci (46) recently generated all kinds of controversy by appearing nude for a full minute in the opening sequence to That Summer, a decision she says she made as an 'act of generosity' to the director despite feeling vulnerable after the birth of her child.

And, never a stranger to provocative gestures, Sharon Stone (53) drew gasps from onlookers a few years ago when she turned up to Elton John's awards bash in a see-through frock -- sans bra. Just recently she stripped for French magazine Paris Match, declaring: "I'm 50 -- so what?"

So what indeed. Increasingly it's the more mature women that are being held up as icons and applauded for their looks, style and attitude.

Helen Mirren (66) fought off competition from the likes of Pippa Middleton and J-Lo to be named Body of the Year in an LA Fitness poll. Just last year she posed nude for a New York magazine, telling a reporter: "All that getting sanctioned by authority, settling down and doing the right things -- well, I can't say it appeals much. What I really fancy is getting a bit notorious."

Similarly sizzling in her 60s is Susan Sarandon (64). The Thelma and Louise star confessed to taking a pole-dancing lesson with her daughter and, if the snaps of her dressed in fishnets and a feather boa taken recently for an Oxfam project are anything to go by, there would be no shortage of men happy to see her take up pole dancing as a regular profession should she ever turn her back on acting.

The likes of Salma Hayek (45) and Halle Berry (45) continue to get men hot under the collar, not only by looking incredible but, with the latter, her frank approach to sex. Berry told Esquire magazine it is age that makes her more sexually confident, revealing: "I have much better orgasms than when I was 23. . . I know what I like, I do not wait around, I initiate."

It is, of course, this attitude that makes today's 40-plusses so desirable. Not only do Berry, Hayek and Michelle Pfeiffer (to name but a few) have the looks, they also have a certain je ne sais quoi that comes with the self-confidence derived from experience.

They make the likes of Katy Perry with her lesbian ploys, Rihanna's stages of undress and GaGa's laboured shock tactics look vacuous and one dimensional by contrast.

Madonna, the queen of not letting age knock her off her perch, probably puts the sentiments of her sisterhood's success best.

"To have fun, that's the main issue," she told a recent edition of Harper's Bazaar. "To continue to be a provocateur, to do what we perceive as the realm of young people, to provoke, to be rebellious, to start a revolution."

When they say the old ones are the best, it's not just Duran Duran's music they're talking about.

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