Jean Paul Gaultier sent 51-year-old model Inès de la Fressange down his runway in Paris, proving yet again that he puts his money where his mouth is when it comes to highlighting beauty that falls outside the industry standard.
Gaultier hired the the amazing Velvet D'Amour a few years ago, garnering criticism that his choice was a cynical response to the backlash against ultra-thin models. Velvet had a different take:
"JPG has been clear on the statement he was making--that beauty takes many forms... There were some who viewed my appearance as ‘farcical’, or token, but when would any appearance of a genuinely fat person NOT be viewed as such? People of size are utterly banned from any mainstream media (other then the headless, junk food munching, obese [people] witnessed on the evening news every night). There are few, if any, references of inclusion beyond ridicule."
Women of a certain age get similarly ridiculed when they try to be be taken seriously as sex symbols. Just last week, Susan Sarandon dared to wear a low-cut gown to the SAG Awards and got blasted for being age-inappropriate. What. ever. We think she looked hot, as did Inès de la Fressange, who proudly declares that she is not a workout fiend or a plastic surgery addict:
"Winston Churchill always said the best exercise is no exercise so let me put it this way; I do as much exercise as Churchill! And I never do Botox or plastic surgery either."
While we're generally not quick take beauty tips from ol' Churchill, we are officially charmed. Inès also had some pretty spot-on observations about old school vs. new school modeling:
"When I first started modeling the ambiance was like a party, it was so fun. Models like Pat Cleveland and Jerry Hall had so much energy and personality and they had fun together. The runway shows back there were much more upbeat — even in the way we walked down the runway, greeting people, turning, smiling. Now they are just told to look the same and be impersonal. I walk on the runway like I walk down the street."
Here's to beauty of all ages, colors, shapes, and sizes. Here's to fashion that's actually fun. And a very happy Monday to all of you.
Heard on the Runway: Gaultier’s 51-Year-Old Runway Star: Inès de la Fressange
Velvet D'Amour Interview Part I
Velvet D'Amour Interview Part II
51-Year-Old Model Inès de La Fressange