The New It Girls: Women In Their 50s
Fashion

‘Women in Their 50s Are the New It Girls,’ According to Batsheva Model Molly Ringwald

Photo: Isidore Montag / Gorunway.com

“I feel like women in their 50s are the new It girls,” Molly Ringwald tells me backstage inside New York’s Starrett-Lehigh building, where designer Batsheva Hay is casting an entire show of women over 40. It’s Ringwald’s birthday in a couple of days, and she’s excited to be swanning around and walking the runway in two looks: one hooded black velvet and another not far from a modern purple take on her Pretty in Pink prom dress.

“I finally feel like I’m starting to get the parts that really I want to have and work with the people that I really want,” says Ringwald. Today is an example of that, as Hay has a reputation for celebrating women in all stages of life and even stopped strangers on the subway to scout talent. According to Hay, it was a decision to prioritize her own fantasy and what she wanted to see—and it started with an identity crisis around getting older. “In fashion, aging is like death—you’re not part of the aesthetic life,” she says of a young world that pushes its elders off to the sidelines. But in fact, “getting older is actually amazing,” Hay says. “There is a completely different type of vitality. There’s a completely different sense of stability and comfort and play and freedom and all of that stuff that no one gets to express. I want to express it.”

Photo: Isidore Montag / Gorunway.com
Photo: Isidore Montag / Gorunway.com
Photo: Isidore Montag / Gorunway.com

Actor Ione Skye ’s first New York Fashion Week show was Sofia Coppola and Chloë Sevigny’s ’90s X-Girl runway in the streets of SoHo. “My brother was married to Kirsty Hume, and I was friends with Shalom Harlow and Amber Valletta,” she says with a laugh as makeup artist Vincent Oquendo preps her for a Lashify-winged eye. “I’m in heaven, I’m in New York, I’m with the best!”

Hay describes her collection as very dressed up and adventurous, and rather than homogenizing the cast, everyone’s beauty is individualized to their style. “I wanted everybody to look like a million bucks,” says Oquendo. Artist Maayan Zilberman keeps her signature red lip for her stroll down the runway, and Coco Mitchell, who’s been modeling for 45 years since being discovered on the street by Eileen Ford, is looking forward to working on a project where she wouldn’t appear to be “going to the grocery store or doing the laundry,” she says. “I want to be glam.” Gwen DeVoe seconds the attitude, noting that for commercial jobs at 65, “they don’t want to give me a lot of makeup because the assumption is that the consumer buying the product that I’m wearing, she’s plain Jane.” She points out that, in reality, these are consumers with disposable income and time to enjoy the high life. Still, “when you get a certain age, you’re in the forgotten stage—invisible,” she says, joking, “Don’t worry about them, just give them the Pima cotton.” There are a lot of elastic waistbands in those shoots, she says, but not when Hay’s at the helm; the designer has fit her in a fur two-piece that DeVoe describes as “like, so fly.”

Photo: Isidore Montag / Gorunway.com
Photo: Isidore Montag / Gorunway.com
Photo: Isidore Montag / Gorunway.com

Zilberman, Hay’s longtime friend, recognizes her casting is a step into the future. “It makes no sense that it hasn’t been this way the whole time,” she says. “But that’s how things change.” And Ringwald is moved by the example it sets: “Walk the walk, don’t just talk about it,” she says to Big Fashion as hairstylist Justine Marjan spritzes her red lengths with Tresemmé hairspray and nods in agreement. “Put people in the show, don’t just say that you believe in diversity—do it,” the actor insists. She’s been working since she was a child, after all, and recognizes what this kind of change can mean for more than just women of a certain age, as they say. “It’s really, really great messaging for younger people to feel like they have that to look forward to,” Ringwald explains. “That they can go through these stages of life, but there’s not an expiration date.”

This article was originally published on Vogue.com

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