When Tome designers Ramon Martin and Ryan Lobo set out to create their casting lineup for spring 2017, they were drawn to model Jacalyn O’Shaughnessy, who is tall and regal-looking with pronounced brows. She also happens to be 64 years old. “There is a world of women out there, especially in modeling, that have the ability to bring so much to the collections they wear,” the designers told the Cut via email. “We really try to tap into that energy.”
In fact, women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s turned up more this New York Fashion Week than during any season in recent memory — and, refreshingly, it wasn’t always as the “token gray-haired model” sprinkled into the show like so many salt-and-pepper highlights.
Eckhaus Latta featured fashion designer/artist Susan Cianciolo, who has modeled for the brand before, as well as art adviser Thea Westreich. Hood by Air did photography nerds a solid and showcased Wolfgang Tillmans amid its cast of misfits. Rachel Comey and Tracy Reese cast a wide range of ages that helped highlight the versatility of their clothes. And Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren, and Michael Kors embraced ‘90s and ‘00s supers in their shows.
It makes sense, especially for luxury brands — a customer of means isn’t necessarily a spring chicken, so why shouldn’t she see the clothes on a woman her own age? Take it from Lobo and Martin: “Models should reflect the women who are out there buying the collections and supporting your brand,” they say. “The clothes should be the fantasy.”