Judging by the last year or so, it’s clear that women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and—thanks to Céline’s fantastic new ads starring literary royalty Joan Didion—’80s are having a major moment in the world of fashion and beauty, industries that have, for better or worse, been relatively ageist.
The shift is an interesting one, though it makes sense for brands like Jason Wu, who—whether he planned it or not—has become a de facto champion of middle-aged women thanks to Michelle Obama, who chose his dresses for both inaugural balls, and The Row, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen‘s luxe line, which features prices so high, it’d likely be a hard sell to most young women.
So, why this sudden sea change in a youth-obsessed industry? “By using over-40 models, brands are sending a message to buyers that [they’re not] just for 20-year-olds. Labels want to reach customers of all ages,” said Kristi McCormick, a casting director, branding expert, and founder of agency Matchbook Company. That might sound intuitive, but sending a message that says “we’re not like other brands—we really want you” works wonders.
With that in mind, we rounded up 12 hot older women who recently nabbed major fashion and beauty campaigns—and look better than ever.
Campaign: Saint Laurent
Rocker Mitchell appears in Saint Laurent’s Spring 2015 campaign as part of the brand’s Music Project, which has included Kim Gordon, Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love.
Writer Didion is known for her spare, clean, graceful prose—and a cooler-than-cool persona—making her a seamless fit for Phoebe Philo’s Céline. Photographed by Juergen Teller, the ad is absolutely perfect.
Campaign: Beauty ambassador for L’Oreal Paris UK.
Kudos to L’Oreal who also counts Jane Fonda, 76, and Diane Keaton, 68, as reps for the brand.
Campaign: Marc Jacobs Beauty
The brand announced the glamorous actress as its new face, prompting an array of positive tweets and Instagram comments.
Campaign: The Row
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen cast 65-year-old beauty scion Linda Rodin in their Pre-Fall 2014 campaign for The Row. The former model, who was once also a fashion editor for Harper’s Bazaar, is now most known for running the company that puts out cult favorite beauty oil Olio Lusso.
Campaigns: Jason Wu, Prada, Calvin Klein Underwear
There’s no denying that 2013 was a huge year for the supermodel, who was tapped to star in ads for a seriously impressive trifecta: Jason Wu, Prada, and—in a fabulous twist—Calvin Klein Underwear, the campaign that made her famous in the early ’90s.
Campaign: Marc Jacobs; NARS cosmetics
The English actress was featured in a series of super-sexy ads for Marc Jacobs in 2004, in which she was half-naked in a hotel bed with artist artist William Eggleston, and it was announced this week that she’ll also be fronting NARS’ 20th anniversary campaign, though no photos have been released yet.
Campaign: Lucky Brand
In June 2013, Lucky Brand’s Fall 2013 campaign debuted starring Hutton, who rose to fame in the 1960s as both a Playboy bunny and a cover model for Vogue (she’s appeared on the magazine a record 26 times!) She was a perfect fit for the brand, thanks to her the all-American beauty that’s become her signature.
Campaign: Jason Wu
In addition to casting Turlington, Wu also tapped Seymour—another supermodel—to star in his Spring 2013 campaign. The images were were shot by esteemed photography duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin at legendary New York City restaurant La Grenouille, and the result was sleek and stunning.
Campaign: Jimmy Choo
In July 2013, it was announced that Kidman would be fronting the famed footwear label, and her first series of ads rendered the actress nearly unrecognizable thanks to a short red wig. The newest ads however, which were released in January, had the Oscar-winning actress in series of sexy poses sans shirt.
Campaign: American Apparel
According to the Guardian, O’Shaughnessy—a former actor—recently moved to New York from Los Angeles when she struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to her in a restaurant, who turned out to work for American Apparel, and she was invited to do a shoot. The rest is history, as Jacky’s appeared in several ads for the basics brand.
Campaign: Louis Vuitton
For his last hurrah at Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs tapped a host of muses to appear in the label’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection, including iconic French actress Deneuve.
Campaign: Vivenne Westwood
Westwood cast 60-year-old musician and poet Winer in her 2013/14 campaign, which was shot by famed fashion photographer Juergen Teller.