Joan Didion Is NOT My Icon For Aging Women!

That’s the famous writer, Joan Didion,
in the Céline ad.

She’s 80, and Céline has lately decided it’s cool to “celebrate” age. So they’ve chosen a “model” who they believe suits their “understated look.” (BTW, those are fashion buzzwords usually synonymous with over-the-top expensive.)

My cool 33-year-old daughter thinks Joan looks “totally chic,” as does FabOverFifty’s cool 25-year-old art director. As a matter of fact, so does my stylish FOFriend, Marla Ginsburg, who is the hottest fashion designer on HSN right now.

Call me vain (don’t become more disagreeable than that, please). I’m just not into that kind of “chic,” at 67, and I don’t want to look that kind of “chic” if I live to be 80. Although Joan’s writing is certainly inspirational, I don’t find her wispy thin hair, jowls and turkey neck especially inspirational, chic or cool, even if they are accessorized by trendy big black sunglasses, an oversized pendant, and a simple black (undoubtedly $4,000) sweater. I’m also not a fan of the anorexic look at Joan’s age. (One fashion writer called her “cigarette thin.”)

I know many women would think Joan is growing old “gracefully.” I’m not sure what that means. Does that make you unrefined, uncouth, unsophisticated, graceless, and unattractive if you color your hair, buy a wig, have your jowls eliminated, wear makeup, and shoot your wrinkled forehead with Botox?

Please don’t misunderstand me. If Joan Didion doesn’t mind showing off her crepey neck, good for her. Katherine Hepburn hated her neck but didn’t want plastic surgery, so she covered it with lovely scarves and high-necked sweaters, and I think she looked gorgeous, at 40 and at 80.

I think pretentiousness is the only thing the Céline campaign “celebrates,” something at which
the fashion industry excels.

On the other end of the “let’s celebrate age” spectrum, Dolce & Gabbana brings together two nonnas and throws four of its hip bags and a teddy bear into their laps (chic nonnas never leave home without two handbags each AND their teddy bears!). I’m not sure what message the creative geniuses at D&G are attempting to communicate (Be young again with D&G? D&G: Ageless?) but I also think its campaign is affected.

The last ad, from American Apparel (below), gets it right, as far as I’m concerned. Sixty-year-old with a great body modeling underwear.

I would not want to see a 60-year-old with a
jiggly stomach modeling panties. So why do I want to see an 80-year-old with jiggly jowls modeling eyeglasses and a pendant?

Then again, you don’t need to care what you look like when your eyeglasses cover your entire face.

Tell me, my FOFriends, which approach do you favor?

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Mick to L’Wren: “Miss You”

There goes Sarah Jessica Parker, strutting down the red carpet at another Hollywood awards event. “Ooh Ahh,” the gawkers mutter.

“Who are you wearing?” a reporter asks Sarah Jessica.

“L’Wren Scott,” she answers.

Ooh Ahh, I think. L’Wren Scott must be on Cloud 9. I know I’ve heard her name before (didn’t Michelle Obama once wear one of her dresses?), but I don’t know much else about her, She’s got to be a hot-shot designer, what with all these “celebs” wearing and lauding her creations, I surmise.

By all appearances, 49-year-old L’Wren had it all: A former model (standing 6’3”), celebrity stylist and costume designer, she worked with renowned photographers, singers, and actors, from Helmut Newton and Herb Ritts to Madonna and Elizabeth Taylor. She was romantically involved with the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger since 2001. She launched her first clothing line in 2006 and handbag collection in 2011.

We all know appearances can be deceiving. And in the vacuous world of “high fashion,” where fantasy often does a superb job of masking the facts, appearances count for a great deal. Until they don’t. Unfortunately, L’Wren’s seeming success had no bearing on the facts: Her company was $6 million in debt; she reportedly refused to ask boyfriend, Mick, for financial help, and she was haunted by her situation. So haunted, she hung herself in her Manhattan apartment earlier this week.

“She wanted so badly for things to be a success. Whereas she got her outfits on a number of high profile people, the clothes were not a commercial hit and didn’t fly off the shelves. It was a huge burden on her and she didn’t want to fail,” a spokesman said for an article in a London newspaper.

“There was a delight to her that is hard to imagine extinguished,” Sarah Jessica Parker said, after receiving news of her death. “She didn’t reveal another side to me, but, of course, we are all complex as human beings and I wouldn’t have claimed to be privy to that other part of late.”

A few months from her 50th birthday, L’Wren’s act of suicide, like any suicide, unnerves me. I can imagine the extreme anxiety she must have felt, but what propelled her from distress to despair?

Life can be pretty brutal, even for
the happiest people, although I can’t imagine how things could get so bleak that you’d want to kill yourself.

I only know my own life. I doubt L’Wren made her decision on a whim, so things must have been a lot bleaker for her than anything I’ve ever experienced.

Yes, appearances are, indeed, deceiving. We might envy a woman for her connection to one of the most talented, famous men in the world, but we learn her relationship was as shrouded in fantasy as her business. Seeking financial or emotional help from her successful boyfriend apparently wasn’t an option. We might believe a woman basks in her friendships with the rich and the famous, but we learn that her fear of failure prevented her from being her own best friend. It just goes to show that you can never quantify someone else’s happiness or success. That’s something only they can do.

Please tell me your thoughts on L’Wren’s suicide