At Saturday’s Bottega Veneta show at Milan Fashion Week, the generation gap was brought a little closer as models Lauren Hutton (72) and Gigi Hadid (21) walked arm in arm along the catwalk to close the show.
It’s not often that a model is applauded by an entire fashion show audience, but then 72-year-old icons don’t take to the catwalk at any regular pace. As Hutton glided out wearing a chic soft-taupe trench coat and carrying the same clutch ‘intrecciato’ bag she wore in American Gigolo – her entire look an homage to the character – the enraptured audience did just that as she walked the circuit.
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Hutton has appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine 41 times throughout her career, and in the 1970s became one of the highest paid models thanks to her lucrative cosmetics contract as the face of Revlon. She later moved into acting, but apart from Gigolo, her film career never quite matched her modelling prowess. She was last seen on a catwalk in 2010, when Tom Ford persuaded her to appear alongside Beyonce and Julianne Moore.
Her junior yesterday, Hadid – the Californian daughter of American reality TV star Yolanda Hadid, girlfriend to ex-One Direction singer Zayn Malik and possessor of 23 million Instagram followers – has fast risen to become the model of the minute. Last week in New York, she launched a collection with Tommy Hilfiger; so far in Milan she has racked up appearances at MaxMara, Fendi, Moschino and Versace.
Whilst models of an age in fashion shows are still not the norm, this season there has been a far greater mix of diversity – in age, at least. The Tome show in New York and Pam Hogg in London both featured mature models. Whilst at Versace on Friday night, Donatella Versace employed Naomi Campbell (46), Carmen Kass (38) and Mariacarla Boscono (36).
This shift – whereby designers are actively appealing to the real women who buy their luxury clothes – is encouraging. At Bottega Veneta, Karen Elson (37) and Eva Herzigova (43) also walked in the show, which was a celebration of the house’s 50th anniversary, as well as marking the 15-year tenure of Tomas Maier, its pragmatic, German-born creative director.
Credit: Swan Gallet/WWD/REX/Shutterstock
Maier’s onus has always been to produce clothes which have an enduring style and he has a keen eye for the reality of dressing women. The show was a paen to this principle. The clothes employed a womanly silhouette, with waists high and cinched with belts, and skirts falling to below the knee. Maxi-length cocktail skirts came in crisp cottons, the shirt dresswas beautifully deployed in silk and leather iterations, simple silk shirts were paired with box pleated midi skirts, and there were punchier utilitarian jumpsuits.
The offering was shrewd, and worked across all age ranges and figures – diversity when it does happen in fashion always appears as a no-brainer, and begs the question as to why more designers can’t adopt a similar approach.
For the finale, Maier brought his atelier team out to walk the catwalk with him, and received a standing ovation from the crowd. It was an emotional, modern and beautiful moment.
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