Saturday 19 October 2019

Rock on, style queen


Linen-mix blazer, €190, The Kooples. T-shirt, €49; jeans, €104, both Kate Spade. Kitten heels, €95, Dune. Bracelets, €32 each, Fossil. Watch, €190, Links of London
Linen-mix blazer, €190, The Kooples. T-shirt, €49; jeans, €104, both Kate Spade. Kitten heels, €95, Dune. Bracelets, €32 each, Fossil. Watch, €190, Links of London
Jacket, €250, Aquascutum. Pleather trousers, €150, Wolford. Stilettos, €80, Carvela, Kurt Geiger. Earring, €25, Diane Von Furstenberg
Leather biker jacket, €320, All Saints. Silk maxi dress, €387, DVF. Ankle boots, €139, Mint Velvet. Earrings, €69, Kate Spade

Mature woman. Who is she?

If she can't see it, she can't be it, so the feminists proclaim.

So true.

I wrote an angry article over 15 years ago - provoked by the experience of walking a mile of London's Oxford Street noticing that all its huge advertising billboards showed only images of youth. There was not one image of an older person. No wonder women and men had a problem with aging, maturing - they saw no images of themselves, of their lives, anywhere.

Maturity didn't count as far as retail was concerned.

Thankfully, now that the new age of the new millennium is that bit more mature itself, that mono-vision is changing.

People might love to knock millennials, but what I like about them is that they find older people interesting. Older people tell the truth. And they are fearless in their quiet way. They know there is no time to waste on bullsh*t.

And who are the millennials' grandparents? Why, the baby boomers. The rebellious and revolutionary 1960s gen. Lovers of pop music, tv, advertising, sex, contraception, computers, cars, designer clothes, self-expression, palm devices, advancement, more advancement.

Never ones to accept the status quo, the baby boomers are not going to cut off their hair, and their sexuality with it, to conform to what their self-conscious adult children would like, and toddle off towards the afterlife quietly. They are going to fight with their every last breath for more life.

On The Graham Norton Show a few months back, 70-something Diane Keaton stole the sartorial gong - and the whole show - dressed in unrelenting and fantastically mannish black tailoring, with layers of goth jewellery. With her fabulous, free-flowing grey hair framing a face that has never allowed a surgeon to amend its history and glory, Diane took over the couch, charmed and beguiled her fellow A-lister guests, and seduced an audience too young to know her. Diane took no prisoners. She didn't have to. She showed them that mature life force was something to be reckoned with.

I love that Kildare Village is a place that I can send fabulous older women to and know that there they will be able to dress as amazingly as they themselves are.

"Kildare Village has soul and heart, and it has always been about reflecting community," says Valerie Forde, PR and communications director of Kildare Village. "Last year, we used Olivia Tracey in our campaign, and the feedback was tremendous. It showed that older women resonated with people. As a younger woman, a woman in her late 50s resonated with me. Fashion is for everyone. And there is a wisdom and elegance in older women that we all need to learn from and embrace."

Maturity does not benefit from faddish trends with their blunt, crude, un-thought-out style rules. Maturity favours character, personality, lifestyle. Which is why stores that are not focused on 'what's hot this season' but rather on quality and purity of creative integrity and design, are where it is really at.

At Kildare Village, due to its excellent brands, every person's true flavour can be identified, supported, expressed. As evidenced by what our stunning model, Mary Dunne, is wearing on our pages today - wildly diverse labels, such as All Saints, Diane Von Furstenberg, Escada, The Kooples, Gerard Darel, Hobbs, Wolford, LK Bennett, Kate Spade, Holland Cooper, Dune, Nike, and so on.

With personal shoppers on hand, private rooms available for groups of pals to hang out - not to mention luxury dog kennelling for woman's best friend, and car valet and other services for multi-tasking focused customers - at Kildare Village, an in-demand lady can get a lot done in one day.

"The shoot exudes confidence without Mary having to try. Mary is herself. She has that long, flowing hair. She didn't turn 50 and cut it. She loves life," says Valerie. "She is a really important audience, which many forget, as everyone is chasing millennials. This year, we are celebrating women in all her aspects and strengths - young women, older women, women in sport, women entrepreneurship... Women.

"For us, inclusive is the real exclusive," states Valerie. "We want to create imagery with soul behind it. That is how we are speaking to our customer. We are delighted and proud to be doing campaigns like this - that will empower people. Make people think differently about fashion and style. Style is a mindset. It isn't an age bracket."

Photography by Lorna Fitzsimons

Styling by Jan Brierton

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

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