By Gwyneth Holland
A cult of youth has long held sway in the marketing world. But European brands are starting to break away, raising the profile of women with beauty and substance. French fashion brand Lanvin’s autumn advertising campaign features a range of women, drawing special attention to 82-year-old former dancer Jacquie Tajah Murdock and 63-year-old Tziporah Salamon. Meanwhile, despite decrying the ailing power of her beauty in the documentary About Face: The Supermodels, Then and Now, Italian actress Isabella Rossellini is front and center in Bulgari’s latest campaign.
These events mark shifting attitudes toward age. Recent scandals over airbrushed ads have led many to seek more “real” beauty icons, and celebrity role models are helping the cause. British actresses, including Kate Winslet and Rachel Weisz, have declared their aversion to surgical intervention, dubbing their movement the “British Anti-Cosmetic Surgery League.”
While some European women still go under the knife, many others are seeking ways to make the best of their aging visages. British beauty brand Illamasqua hopes to address this need by offering Maturing Beauty makeup courses, which will help women understand how to work with their aging skin in terms of textures, colors and application. But there’s still a long way to go. British women still feel insecure about aging because of marketing pressure to stay young.
For many industries, images of youth are the default option, but an aging and affluent consumer base is looking for inspiration from people who are more like them. This may mean that beauty ads need to feature a few more facial lines, as well as emphasize the life experience that has helped create those lines. Solutions that offer enlightenment, not damnation, about aging help consumers Get Real about the skin they live in. Products and services that help them make the best of their looks help consumers gain priceless confidence.