fogo, or princess julia's fear of getting old
When I was 14 I was in a hurry to be an adult, at 18 I thought 25 was ancient, then when I got to 25 I thought I should be grown up but seemed to be rubbish at that. 30 seemed a long way away, and then suddenly I was in my mid 30s and panicking about...
Some people ease into the aging process with acceptance, appreciative of the knowledge they've garnered along life's pathway and embrace each wrinkle with the idea of a life well spent. Others seek to stave off signs of aging, and I'll be honest with you, I'm one of the lot that is striving to stave. Most of us find it hard to ignore the fact we're bombarded from all angles with a multi-billion pound beauty industry, it's something you can't escape from. Image, it seems, is everything, and believe you me I have nothing but admiration for the souls comfortable in their own skin. Body image distortion syndrome (BIDS) is something we all deal with to some degree but that's probably another story. What you see in the mirror may not be what other people see. Coming to terms with aging is an interesting fact of life. Inwardly I love the age I am, I'm 54 by the way and I've enjoyed getting here. Outwardly I'm not always so happy with the ravages of time, but then, I'm one of those people who's never really felt that comfortable in my own skin - I am expecting some sort of revelation sooner or later. I always seek to improve myself both mentally and physically. I'm aware that I could get jaded so am compelled to set myself challenges and move forward, even if some days I do feel like I've seen it all before...
At the online blog Advanced Style, the older dresser has been given a new voice. It's creator, Ari Seth Cohen, pays homage to the people who define their age with innate style. Inspiring right? In my life I've been inspired by quite a few iconic dressers. They were probably no more than 10 to 15 years older than me, when I was 20; Luciana Martinez, Gerlinde Costiff, Vivienne Westwood. Of course these are the women who I have met through friends, local legends so to speak, I would see them at clubs and bars and some I would later meet. Then there are the icons I felt compelled to love and who are also the people I became aware of when I was growing up... film stars of the old Hollywood studios such as Bette Davis, but also the image creators behind these stars, namely one Edith Head who I was obsessed by. I also look towards lady legends who have retained a longevity of style; Joan Collins, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, June Brown and we all love a bit of Cher.
Here's a thing, the population in some parts of the world is rapidly becoming 'older' due to people living longer and because of the technological breakthroughs in science. We've also got access to recreating or maintaining ourselves via non-surgical and surgical cosmetic procedures. Well I'm all for that because, well, I feel if altering your physical appearance enhances your mood for the better, makes you happier or more confident, then why not? It's all maintenance. There is a fine line to be acknowledged here and that is why things can go terribly wrong regarding surgery but I do firmly believe it's entirely up to the individual. I would probably do more than the one shot spot Botox injections I get around my eyes but I can't afford it. "Is that a good thing?" I sometimes ask myself. When I look in the media and online I see generic looking celebs puffed up with fillers. I appreciate it's a look, just not one I wish to emulate. But I've never been one to take any notice of what the mainstream media define as beauty anyway.
After talking this through with myself, I've come to the conclusion that although it's a youth obsessed culture out there, there is also a general sense of cross-generational homage and conversation going on. Us lot from the 70s and 80s are still up to our creative lives with perhaps even more gusto than ever before. Best not to dwell on what may be and live in the present. Those of us who have the luxury of actually staying alive, we're all going to get old in the end.
Text Princess Julia
Photography Louie Banks