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28-05-2013
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Miuccia Prada : "Older Models Would Take Courage"
Some might say that fashion is an industry obsessed with youth and newness -- a designer is only as good as his or her last collection, after all. Fortunately, Miuccia Prada doesn't seem to have trouble staying on top of trends. It's society's obsession with youth that poses a problem for her.

Prada gets candid with T Magazine in the latest issue, opening up about her game-changing designs and her position as a "leftist feminist." When the topic turns to aging, however, the strong-willed designer withdraws ever so slightly.

Acknowledging the challenge facing industry leaders like herself, Prada says, "No one wants to age, and I really think we should find a solution." But when it comes to taking action, she seems to stand down:

“So why not use older models sometimes?” I asked.
“Mine is not an artistic world, it is a commercial world. I cannot change the rules.”

“But you change the rules,” I said. “If you put an old lady on the runway, other people would do it too.”

She laughed. In that light her eyes were green; before I asked the question they were brown. “Let’s say I’m not brave enough. I don’t have the courage.”

While Prada says she doesn't have enough chutzpah to send older models down her Milan runway, a handful of other powerful brands have cast models well above the average age range. Carmen Dell'Orefice, arguably fashion's favorite octogenarian (she's 81), has enjoyed career spanning nearly 70 years, while American Apparel got some much-needed positive attention when the retailer cast Jacky, a gray-haired modeling novice, in a recent campaign.

Unfortunately, teenage models still seem to dominate the catwalks and the pages of our fashion glossies (despite the industry's efforts to curb this trend). So we have to wonder: Wouldn't an endorsement by Miuccia herself be just what fashion needs to bring older models in Vogue? (huffingtonpost)

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28-05-2013
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It's a shame that when she wants to be playful with models she does such with menswear :s I don't think a guy is too worried about who is wearing what as long as they also look good in it too.

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29-05-2013
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Muiccia is great, but she's so full of sh*t with the "I don't have the courage" bit. You're Prada: Others will blindly follow where you lead.

She just doesn't want to cast any older women, that's all it is. Prada's women's shows have always resembled an army of clones to me-- hair, makeup and physicality-- one look. Having a visibly older woman included in the perfect phalanx would break that vibe.

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30-05-2013
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Honestly, I don't think it's necessary to cast older models in order to have a proper representation of their customers' age range, to me, that's like complaining why not use full figured models to represent a healthy image. In theory, it would be a thoughtful initiative, inspiring even but it doesn't seem like the most beneficial "stunt" just for the sake of making a social statement.

And when Miuccia said "I don’t have the courage" I interpret that as not wanting to mess with her vision for the aspirational value of the brand. It's one thing to cater to your customers interests and there's giving the brand an enduring image which by industry standards is youthfulness.

Also, I'd like to point out that there are times when her and Ashley have the urge to switch it up. The casting of Prada's recent fall show for example, with five veterans: Esther de Jong, Kirsten Owen, Liisa Winkler, Mariacarla, Iselin not to mention the opener, Amanda Murphy is also an older model and they had Malgosia at Miu Miu during SS13. So, I think it varies on the theme and adding archetypes to embody her vision for the collection.

With that said, I think Carmen Dell'Orefice is a flawless goddess and she is definitely an inspiring figure for every woman and it's always a pleasure to see her grace the runway every now and then.


Last edited by Cold; 30-05-2013 at 10:53 AM.
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31-05-2013
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^^^ I absolutely agree it's not at all necessary to cast noticeably older models-- for any designer, not just Miuccia. I very much dislike when PC infiltrates high fashion.

That said, Miuccia all of a sudden adopting such a powerless stance when she knows very well that the entire industry watches what she does just to follow, is a cop-out. If she doesn't want to cast older models, fine. No one believes one of the most powerful women in high fashion doesn't have the courage to make a statement. And I think an older model would look stunningly perfect in the Prada aesthetic-- instead of 15-year-olds looking like they're playing dress-up: Carmen would epitomize Prada so beautifully (Just lay-off the heavy retouching: Linda looked liked a silly plastic doll when she fronted a Prada campaign).

Prada campaigns have been so numbingly dull lately, with all the charm of a generic catalogue. I loved the campaigns from the late-90s and early-2000s, particularly the ones by Craig McDean featuring Amber: They were so cinematic, haunting and just enigmatic. The last memorable Prada campaign for me was the S/S 2009 one shot by Meisel. How awesome would it be to feature Carmen in the next campaign?

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05-06-2013
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The sole purpose of runway models is to model the clothes; I really do not see the need for plus-size or older models. If they wear the clothes well, fine - but what's the point of having them for the sake of it?

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06-06-2013
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I really wish the interviewer would've had the balls to shift the conversation from age to race, but apparently they didn't have the courage to speak up either, or they just didn't care.

I think Miucca felt backed into a corner when she was asked about ageism in fashion. She probably doesn't care about it at all, but she felt it was politically correct to say the right thing; however, when asked why she doesn't CAST older models, the only thing she could think of saying was that she has no courage. I call BS. She makes a pretty bold statement with her casts each season. Surely if she wanted older women in her show, they'd be in her show!


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06-06-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phuel View Post
That said, Miuccia all of a sudden adopting such a powerless stance when she knows very well that the entire industry watches what she does just to follow, is a cop-out. If she doesn't want to cast older models, fine. No one believes one of the most powerful women in high fashion doesn't have the courage to make a statement. And I think an older model would look stunningly perfect in the Prada aesthetic-- instead of 15-year-olds looking like they're playing dress-up: Carmen would epitomize Prada so beautifully (Just lay-off the heavy retouching: Linda looked liked a silly plastic doll when she fronted a Prada campaign).
I thought it was pretty discreet of her but she could've definitely said it more eloquently so as not to be taken too literally.

Certain business factors still apply and on top of that the model market. It's not just about pushing boundaries hastily and addressing every issue the industry fails to acknowledge just because you can. I mean, yes, everyone knows she has great influence over these trends but overly relying on her to legitimize everything, to go through certain measures in breaking the rules is an unrealistic expectation. Watch how quickly they'll lose their exclusivity and their credibility to launch models careers.

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06-06-2013
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^^^ I get that the "no courage" bit was completely ironic coming from her... She is always very witty and humble in her assessment of herself and her impact on the industry. But she's also very critical and realistic in her observations of high fashion. That's why she's heads above so many designers who are complete no-substance caricatures; she's a well-rounded talent who's also self-aware, intelligent, informed and wise. So I expected a stronger "excuse" from her to the question of casting older women.

Business is absolutely and always be be a factor in this industry, I agree-- that's a given. And the Prada Corp is one of the finest when it comes to balancing commerce and vision in high fashion; that's a trait I admire greatly in any designer: Survival and creative instincts.

However Cold, featuring a tall lean, striking, beautiful, older woman-- like Carmen, would not be rule-breaking, nor would it be risky to the state of high fashion or her empire. Carmen is the grand-daddy of them all, has already appeared in other designers' shows (I would even cast Polly Mellen). Prada casting Carmen (and ones like her) would be more complimentary, refreshing and positively appropriate in every respect to the Prada brand. It's not like criticizing Victoria's Secret or Abercrombie & Fitch for not casting Carmen-- It's Prada, known for her retro, updating and reliance on the styles of the 1950s and 1960s. Regal, elegant and mature women like Carmen fit that bill so ideally, to me anyways-- and I'm sure to many of her loyal customers as well.

Like Miuccia, i"m also thinking in practical terms here.

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06-06-2013
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Unfortunately my point of view on fashion is really unpopular..I know there's always a new generation of models..but I can't stand teenage girls on the runways. If I was a designer I would chose only 25/30/35 years old models..or at least teenage girls with a strong and mature look (like in the early/mid 2000's..Stam, Julia Stegner, Mariacarla and go on)
I really can't stand baby faces/clones wearing high profile evening clothes..it's so ridiculous! Plus I LOVE magnetic features and not blank canvas.

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07-06-2013
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^^^ The new young things are needed, of course, but it's true-- they're just not as strong in looks, not to mention no personality. They all sort of blend into one another for me. And there's nothing wrong with the majority of run-of-the-mill fashion shows if parading endless drones of models that start to blend into one another to the point of generic, if that's what you want and like. But there are those designers who put their all into a show and produced spectacles to be remembered and inspired generations-- and that includes mold-breaking castings: Gaultier and Galliano back in the day; McQueen the man made his shows a visionary art form; Margiela, Helmut, Rei and Yohji, to a lesser extend, carved out their brand identity with shows-- and their castings. Prada is now producing shows that are collaborations of art installation meets high fashion with her settings. If older models like the gorgeous Carmen fit the bill, why not? If a cast of predominately Asian models fit the bill, why wouldn't you? That's the point: Some designers will take full advantage of those 20 minutes and make a statement-- why would you want to use the same predictable structure as everyone else when you have the means to do something different...?

Like GERGIN noted, Prada has always cast older men for their identity alongside teens (although I'd much prefer actual older models rather than actors/celebrities/singers-- I've always thought they cheapened a campaign). I remember seeing Peter Lindberg in Prada's campaign in the mid-90s and thinking how awesome that was-- not because he was obviously not of model-proportions and clearly an older gentleman, but because it stood out, in a good way. Seeing Benicio del Toro, on the other hand for the latest Prada campaign, is an eyesore to me: The styling is awkward and he just looks terrible, kind of like an old guido from New Jersey. I'm not for throwing in older models just for the sake of making an obvious statement, I think the model needs to carry the label and compliment it. Benicio did not compliment the label, whereas I feel-- here comes that name again, Carmen would.

(BTW, looking at models/supermodels from the 90s, they averaged at a curvy 5'9" and size 6. Today, girls average at 5'11" and a size 2. I admit, longer and leaner bodies are more graphic and sharper to see, and it's usually teen girls that have that type of bodies because they're still very young, so I can understand the demand for them. But, such a leader as Prada can afford to deviant from the traditional, especially when her claim-to-fame has been about breaking fashion rules.)

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07-06-2013
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kirsten own is 43. Esther De jong is 40. they are not typical young models. i dont think she needs to defedn her self personally. she uses older men all the time and older women. with the exception of stella tennant and kristen mcmenamy who seem to be the token "woman" in a show thse days prada actually has a broader vision.

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