At a once-outdated age, supermodel Helena Christensen launched a glam party dress collection with Karen Millen.
Toned, tanned and exuding confidence, the 53-year-old could sell a scruffy paper bag if she wore it.
But the Dane is not the only “golden girl” to return to the forefront of fashion. Carla Bruni, 54, walked the runway for Balmain last year and Naomi Campbell, 51, recently appeared on the cover of Vogue.
And some of our favorites on television are doing business with big brands. Davina McCall, 54, and Amanda Holden, 51, have published collections for JD Williams, Tess Daly, 53, for Diva at the House of Fraser and Andrea McLean, 52, for Bonmarche.
A few years ago, these women wouldn’t have gotten a look at models in their twenties and teens.
So what has changed? Why did 50 become fashionable?
According to market research firm Euromonitor, people in their fifties and sixties spend nearly four times as much on fashion as they do in their twenties.
So retailers wouldn’t be wise to ignore them. And even those people over 55 are more likely to save, averaging around £ 20,000 hidden away, according to financiallyhappy.ltd.
“People in their fifties have more disposable income and want to buy quality clothes that are more expensive than, say, Boohoo or In The Style,” says pop culture expert Nick Ede.
“It means that the profit margins are much greater.
“Women in their fifties want to look and feel good and fashion is a great way to do that.”
Instead of seeking inspiration from 20-something Kendall Jenners and Bella Hadid of this world, Nick says consumers want women their own age.
She says, “Women look at the movie stars and models they grew up with and want to emulate their looks. People like Sharon Stone, Tess Daly and Davina McCall. “
Research from JD Williams’ 2022 Womankind report shows that nearly half of women over the age of 45 believe they are in their prime. Now these women can see famous faces of the same age who look stylish and confident.
Sex And The City’s Carrie Bradshaw returned last year in the And Just Like That reboot. In her fifties with graying hair, the Manolo Blahnik fan, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, still has a wardrobe to die for.
Elsewhere, H&M has partnered with centennial fashion icon Iris Apfel, and there has been a sharp rise in middle-aged influencers on social media.
However, Melissa Abbott, AGE, who has more than 40,000 followers on her Instagram account @ backofthewardrobe70, thinks more change is needed.
“Brands very often have an idea of what they think 1950s women are and it doesn’t resonate with me or many women like me,” she says.
“They are losing a huge part of the market that feels ignored and continues to be interested in fashion”.
Dr Amna Khan, Senior Lecturer in Consumer Behavior at Manchester Met University, says, ‘While the 50+ is a huge market, not many brands cater to them.’
Karen Millen, which was bought by Boohoo in 2019 for £ 18.2 million, is a brand that gets it right.
Hiring the original ’90s supermodel Helena to showcase a sexy and luxurious collection will appeal to the brand’s top buyers, while also attracting the attention of Boohoo customers in their 18-30s who love old 90s trends.
TU of Sainsbury’s, White Stuff and John Lewis now also have a better range of models than ever, so every generation could see themselves shopping there.
Hopefully, it will only be a matter of time before other brands follow suit.