Fashion runways have a long way to go before they’ll count as truly diverse, but this season there’s been a shift in at least one area of representation. At show after show, we’ve seen stylish women of all ages — not just one or two tokenized women in their 70s, but models in midlife as well.
Granted, a number of these women were legends making a comeback. At Hellessy, Pat Cleveland (68) closed the show in her signature sashay, while Elie Tahari tapped Christie Brinkley (65) to walk with her daughter, Sailor Cook. Batsheva included Veronica Webb (53), Patti Hansen (62) showed up at Michael Kors, and Christy Turlington (50) made a return to the catwalk in more than two decades at Marc Jacobs. So some of the age diversity came from designers paying tribute to fashion history.
But supermodels were hardly the only non-18-year-olds on the runway. 11 Honoré kicked off Fashion Week with a size-inclusive show that ended in a spectacular finale featuring Laverne Cox, who is 46. Rachel Comey, who often casts nonprofessional models in her shows, included a roster of her friends, including artists, writers, and other creative types. Former Vogue editor Tonne Goodman (67), who usually sits front row at shows, made a turn at CDLM. Deveaux, designed by street-style photographer Tommy Ton, featured a predominantly older cast wearing sophisticated separates — you could picture them wearing the outfits home.
The trend has continued as the shows have moved to Europe. In London, ’90s favorite Stella Tennant (48) walked Burberry in a sleek camel look, while fellow model Guinevere Van Seenus (41) made a runway return at Erdem. And Simone Rocha curated a cast that included Gen-X icon Chloë Sevigny (44), Helmut Newton muse Marie Sophie Wilson (54), and ’90s model Kirsten Owen (48). (This isn’t the first time Rocha has cast a wide age range.)
Then, in Milan, MM6 Maison Margiela went all-in with a presentation consisting entirely of gray-haired women who looked like they were having a blast dancing along to the music. Former Garage creative director Shala Monroque (40) re-emerged at Marni while Versace had Shalom Harlow (45) open and Stephanie Seymour (50) close. Will there be more in Paris? Check back and see.
Click ahead for a roundup of age diversity on the runways thus far this season.