Controversy! Marc Jacobs, Estee Lauder & NARS Hire Older Women As Models.

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What is going on in the beauty and fashion world these days? Have we really seen the end of homogenization and exclusivity? Is it true that diversity and acceptance are the new “black”? Let’s hope so, because there has certainly been a steady stream of exciting news from these industries which lead us to believe there are many people not happy with the status quo.

Over the last couple of weeks some major brands have made announcements about their new campaigns, and their spokesmodels. The first was Estee Lauder who hired 90s supermodel Stephanie Seymour to star in their new campaign, which will be revealed in the fall of 2014.

What made this kinda cool is that Stephanie is 45, not the average age of a high fashion model these days. At that age many women are already lamenting they have been “passed over” for a younger version, perpetuating the ridiculous notion that youth is beauty. In a statement the beauty company said this about their new ambassador:

“Stephanie represents modern women today in such a beautifully articulated way and she represents modern beauty and luxury to us. This campaign will speak to the beautiful complexity that makes her who she is.”

Isn’t it a juxtaposition to portray a “modern” idea with an older woman, you might be thinking? We see it like this: a modern woman is someone who lives in a modern society which accepts and celebrates that every woman is beautiful, no matter her age.

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Which brings us to the next announcement. English actress Charlotte Rampling has been tapped as the new face of NARS Cosmetics. She is 68. So if you thought Estee Lauder hiring Stephanie was a step in the right direction, this just confirms the traditional beauty boundaries are finally being broken down.

She will star in the brand’s 20th anniversary campaign happening in September 2014. The celluloid goddess was hand picked by brand creator Francois Nars who calls Charlotte his muse.

“She is a natural beauty that feels strong, yet relatable,” Nars told Womens Wear Daily. “Charlotte’s ability of transformation is unparalleled. Whether captured in pieces of artwork, through the lens of a magazine photographer or on film and the big screen, she had an amazing power to encompass a character.”

He goes on to say the combination of her beauty and withering gaze are “what makes her an endlessly watchable mystery.”

Notice there is no classification that she is an older beauty, just beauty. And the latest to be added to this growing list is American Horror Story actress Jessical Lange. She is the face of Marc Jacob’s new beauty campaign, which he announced on twitter.

This is the brand’s first ever beauty campaign, and it certainly is a sign of the times that he is paying homage to a woman with a celebrated career and a few miles under her belt. What a great way to celebrate women of all ages! Jessica is 64 and has never looked better if you ask us!

Aging isn’t about losing anything, it’s about gaining a whole lot more than wasn’t available to us in our youth: perspective, wisdom, confidence, elegance, experience and much more. Beauty isn’t just a number, nor is it a defined matter. It is constantly evolving and the beauty industry is doing well to recognize that women want to feel beautiful at all ages, and want better representation from the campaigns they are seeing.

“The fashion industry is continuing to hire older models,” noted Hoda Kotb on the fourth hour of the ‘Today’ show on NBC. She pointed out that Lauren Hutton, 70, models for Lucky Brand, and Diane Keaton, 68, for L’Oreal.

“You know what they all have? They all have beautiful bone structure,” said Kathie Lee Gifford. “And none of them look like they’ve had tons done to them.” She added, “They still look like themselves.”

Let’s not forget American Apparel who made a huge stir when featuring 62 year old lingerie model Jackie O’Shaughnessy in a campaign. It wasn’t the first time they hired her, and probably won’t be the last.

Three cheers to an industry that is changing to represent the wants and needs of consumers, and listening to the voice of the people as their guide, rather than dictating trends and ideas that aren’t realistic.

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