When we think of fashion, we think of designs for the young and beautiful.
However, when we hear the names of big designers, fashion editors, and stylists, we don’t think about how old they are! The reason for that is because they are, in a way, ageless. The word fashion means “of the times,” and people in fashion are of the times. Their hair may gray and their bodies might get sloppy, but fashion designers, directors, editors, stylists, and all of the creators involved tune into the times and project to the future. The older they get, the more they know, and the better they are. They work hard and very long hours. Travel for many may seem glamorous, but it’s often grueling.
Here are some of fashion’s biggest names, all still working and 60-plus years old:
- Giorgio Armani brought his signature Italian style of menswear to America in the ’70s. Today he oversees the design of not only his menswear collections but also collections for women, the home, hotels, and more.
- Christian Lacroix delighted fashionistas with his couture masterpieces in the ’80s and ’90s and just created a museum collection for Schiaparelli.
- Vera Wang is busier than ever in a world of design far beyond bridal now.
- Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, is the woman every designer wants to impress. Also at Vogue is Grace Coddington, who went from a ’60s and ’70s top model to a visionary as creative director of the magazine today.
- Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani is almost 64.
- Suzy Menkes, the most famous fashion reporter and journalist in the world, is almost 70.
- Photo journalist Bill Cunningham is 84.
- Donna Karan and Calvin Klein, both designers, are still active today and have expanded their empires beyond their dreams, I am sure.
- Tim Gunn, the guy from Project Runway and Parson’s School of Design, is “The Word” to young designers. What he says is respected and taken as the best critique.
- The Latin lady and gentleman of sophisticated American style, both years beyond 60, are Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta.
- Diane von Fürstenberg, famous for the wrap dress in the ’70s, has a fashion business today bigger than ever.
- Ralph Lauren, a man with an eye for class and timeless elegance, is still at work after brain tumor surgery.
- Tommy Hilfiger hasn’t let age stop him. His business expands every season.
- Karl Lagerfeld, the designer at Chanel and Fendi and for his own collections, turned 80 this year.
- Valentino Garavani claims to have made an exit from his world of couture, but all say that, at 81, he remains involved.
- Max Azria is the man responsible for all the fun, young, and adorable BCBG collections, and he’s 64.
- Betsey Johnson, 71, and Vivienne Westwood, 72, are still creating edgy, fun, and rock-star-wild designs.
- Norma Kamali, who made high fashion of sweatpants and shirts in the ’80s, is still designing fabulous swimwear and sexy, signature dresses and sportswear.
- Those beautiful Manolo Blahnik shoes we all love are designed by a man who is 71.
- I adore the creative genius of Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler’s understanding of structure and construction.
- I just looked through 83-year-old Sonia Rykiel’s fall collection. It’s wonderful, ageless, timeless, and personal, with qualities that speak of a designer who understands women.
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Mary Anne Vaccaro is a designer and image consultant to businesses and individuals. She designed clothes and products in Omaha and New York and ran a fashion advertising business in five states. She writes and speaks about image, fashion, art, and style. maryannevaccaro.com, invisibleapron.com