I was rushing through Ballantynes the other day. It’s the well-loved department store in Christchurch that took a hit in the February 2011 earthquake, only to re-open eight months later in October 2011.

I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a display for Karen Walker sunglasses. Instead of pretty young things wearing sunnies on the advertising poster, there was an older woman with orange hair. I was DEAD certain this woman, plus the other woman on the advertising display, were from a blog I follow and love – Advanced Style. This is the blog of New Yorker, Ari Seth Cohen, who photographs fabulously stylish older women on the streets of New York. He celebrates the style, grace and creativity of the older woman.

I recognised the woman with the vibrant orange crop – she’s one of my favourite stylish ladies, Ilona Royce Smithkin. She turned 93 years old this year. The woman on the left of the advertising poster (below) is Joyce Carpati, who is in her early 80s. She’s also the woman in the other photo.

A quick Google search confirmed that Karen Walker is indeed using the Advanced Style ladies for her latest eyewear campaign. I applaud her for doing this and not succumbing to our youth-obsessed culture that offers up pretty young things in size 0.

Just look at the photo below of Joyce Carpati – imagine looking as gorgeous as this in your early 80s! Just because you’re an older woman doesn’t mean you have to look frumpy, withered and dried up. MAC Cosmetics also recently used a nonagenarian, Iris Apfel, for one of their advertising campaigns. And how fabulous does she look?!

There does seem to be a rejection of air-brushed perfection (how poetic!) and the embracing of real women in brand advertising. Here in NZ, international brand, Dove, chose four Kiwi women as the stars of their latest TV ads for haircare.

It all makes me want to rush out and buy Dove shampoo, MAC cosmetics and Karen Walker sunglasses!


Karen Walker eyewear advertising in Ballantynes

Nonagenarian, Iris Apfel, looking fabulous!

80-something Joyce Carpati. What a stylish woman!