Inspirational Editorials: The Woman Who Stole a Lion

1980s, Azzedine Alaia, caroline baker, johnny moke, katharine hamnett, Ninivah Khomo, Norma Kamali, The Face, Tony McGee, Vanessa Schon, Vintage Editorials, Whistles, yasmin le bon
Black lycra catsuit by Katharine Hamnett. Gauntlets by Norma Kamali. Lion from Harrods. Cat brooches at Merola. Belt by Vanessa Schon.

Black lycra catsuit by Katharine Hamnett. Gauntlets by Norma Kamali. Lion from Harrods. Cat brooches at Merola. Belt by Vanessa Schon.

If you don’t get the reference there, why not? Yasmin le Bon looking nothing short of incredible in this divinely feline shoot, styled by Caroline Baker.

Photographed by Tony McGee.

Scanned by Miss Peelpants from The Face, November 1986.

Turtle neck and leggings by Ninivah Khomo. Leather bootees by Johnny Moke. Belts by Vanessa Schon. Gauntlets by Cornelia James.

Turtle neck and leggings by Ninivah Khomo. Leather bootees by Johnny Moke. Belts by Vanessa Schon. Gauntlets by Cornelia James.

Leopard print angora turtle neck by Ninivah Khomo. Toreador leggings from Whistles. Gauntlets by Norma Kamali. Suede thigh high boots from Johnny Moke. Brooches by Pink Soda.

Leopard print angora turtle neck by Ninivah Khomo. Toreador leggings from Whistles. Gauntlets by Norma Kamali. Suede thigh high boots from Johnny Moke. Brooches by Pink Soda.

Jersey body and toreador high waist pants by Azzedine Alaia. Belts worn as necklace and bracelets by Vanessa Schon. One jewelled glove by Martin Kidman. One leopard print glove by Pink Soda. Monkee boots at Office.

Jersey body and toreador high waist pants by Azzedine Alaia. Belts worn as necklace and bracelets by Vanessa Schon. One jewelled glove by Martin Kidman. One leopard print glove by Pink Soda. Monkee boots at Office.

In praise of [slightly] older women

1960s, 1970s, 1980s, brigitte bardot, charlotte rampling, diana rigg, Françoise Hardy, grace coddington, Inspirational Images, jacqueline bisset, jane birkin, jean shrimpton, picture spam, twiggy, veruschka, yasmin le bon

Diana Rigg in the early Seventies (in her mid-thirties)

They were all beautiful in their twenties, and they remain beautiful to this day, but I have come to the conclusion that many of my favourite women looked their very, very best in their thirties and early forties. Which may or may not be somewhat biased by my own entering of my thirties. Ok, so I entered them three years ago but still… I think it is an important thing to notice, when all around are becoming consumed by vanity and their faces destroyed by undesirable injectables.

The puppy fat has fallen away, the features now more defined and enhanced by laughter lines and emerging cheekbones. They look relaxed; as if the pressure of ‘looking good’, which so restrains a teen or twenty-something, has lifted with the knowledge that none of it really matters a great deal. Maybe they’ve had a baby, maybe they don’t want to, maybe they’re still waiting for the right moment (Diana Rigg was 39 when she had Rachael). They know any man worth his salt won’t mind seeing them without make-up, and that he doesn’t really care about the size of their breasts or backsides. They know how swiftly life is passing, how much has been missed already, and how relatively little retains its importance ten or twenty years later. They don’t try to make up for their age by ignoring it or trying to behave like teenagers, they simply embrace the things which are worth embracing. They still make mistakes, but can handle them with good grace.

I realise I am making the cardinal mistake of putting words into people’s mouths and making sweeping generalisations, but I wanted to express how looking at these women makes me feel. And how it reminds me of why it is ok for me to have changed, to have matured and to have grown into my appearance. We all have moments when we wish we still had all that youth on our side, but a few quick glances at things I wrote, men I dated or photographs of myself ten years ago – soon remind me that I didn’t know anything, had very poor taste in men and was quite chubby in the face. All things I am glad to have [hopefully] grown out of.

So whether you are here (there) already, or have it yet to come, I hope you can remember these incredible women and weep for the stupidity of the likes of Lindsey Lohan, Lara Flynn Boyle or Carla Bruni. Plus, don’t forget to check back in with me in ten years time and see if I’ve started saying that ‘actually they looked better in their fifties…’.

Apologies for vague dating of some pictures, the tumblr effect means that very few are dated for me and I’ve had to do a certain amount of guesswork… Also, certain people I think looked lovely in their thirties have gone on to have pretty lousy work done to their faces and have, consequently, not been featured here. That’ll teach ’em!

Jane Birkin, 1982 (aged 36)

Brigitte Bardot in 1972, aged 38

Jean Shrimpton in the mid Seventies, in her early thirties

Charlotte Rampling in 1984 (aged 38)

Jacqueline Bisset in 1977 (aged 33)

Veruschka in 1972 (aged 33)

Françoise Hardy in the early Eighties (in her late thirties)

Grace Coddington in 1974 (aged 33)

Brigitte Bardot in the late Sixties (in her mid thirties)

Jacqueline Bisset in 1984 (aged 40)

Diana Rigg c.1974 (aged 36)

Charlotte Rampling in 1977 (aged 31)

Twiggy in 1983 (aged 34)

Françoise Hardy in the late Seventies (in her mid thirties)

Jean Shrimpton in 1979 (aged 37)

And in case you needed any more evidence, please see Duran Duran’s now infamous supermodel-stuffed video for Girl Panic!. Personally I believe they all look far, far better than they did in their modelling heyday.

Yasmin Le Bon for Wallis

Duran Duran, yasmin le bon

I generally ignore what’s going on in the High Street, and seem to have acquired an incredible Kate Moss-blindness, but Senti has been raving about the Yasmin Le Bon Wallis collection lately. I’m a devoted Durannie, and Yasmin is the bestest rock star wife you could ever wish to entrust your favourite to [unfortunately I have chosen John Taylor as my favourite, and Juicy Couture brings me out in a curiously pepto bismol-shaded rash], so I was prepared to take a gander with an open mind….and a careless memory.

There’s nothing radical in there, but it’s less obviously ‘ripped off’ (aside from the Careless Memories white blouse and black leather kecks look which Senti has blogged about already) and I must admit to being rather in love with this blouse. At £65 it’s too rich for my blood right now, but I can admire from afar and perhaps hope to nab one in a season or two.

(Although please, please learn to spell peridot before I punch something….)

Yasmin le Très Bon

Duran Duran, yasmin le bon

I have decided that Yasmin Le Bon is Beatle-wife-gold-standard. Of course it helps that she’s impossibly beautiful and wealthy, but she seems really sweet in the interviews I’ve seen. Strong but feminine, and goofy enough that you don’t hate her for being impossibly beautiful and the wife of a Duran. She still looks incredible, and I love the colour of her dress here at the British Fashion Awards.

(She’s also wearing FAUX fur, FAUX fur – yes I’m glaring at a photo of Mrs John Taylor, Gela Nash, in a huge REAL fur jacket at the launch of the latest Juicy Tat Couture launch. Naughty Duran wife, naughty!!)

I’m sure it’s a modern take on a Thirties-style evening gown, but this is proper glamour. Some of the other people on the red carpet that night would do well to take heed. Black tights and smock mini dresses are adorable, but they’re not red carpet. They’ll also be dated within a year. In fact, I thought they already were? Anyway, this is how you work it…..