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Suddenly, Getting Older Isn't So Scary: Why 60 Is the New 20

| February 28th, 2014

Via Marc Jacobs' Twitter FeedJessica Lange in a recently released photo of the upcoming Marc Jacobs Beauty campaign.
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It looks like it’s time to put the sex(y) back in sexagenarian.

This week, both Marc Jacobs Beauty and NARS announced new faces that depart from the more typical ingénue; 64-year-old actress Jessica Lange will front the former luxury line, while 68-year-old English actress Charlotte Rampling will appear in ads for the latter.

For Marc Jacobs, the idea to use Lange came from personal fandom for the actress’s role in the “American Horror Story” series. “We’ve set up the idea that, like with a lot of our shows, we should surprise and do something different—what we’re going to give visually in terms of the print and image is not what you should expect but what inspires me…so we used Jessica,” Jacobs told WWD.

And while the announcements sent shockwaves through the Twitterverse (where Marc Jacobs Beauty actually dropped the news), it’s part of an already burgeoning trend that is challenging and perhaps even changing the prevailing image of beauty.

Getty ImagesCharlotte Rampling, 68, (left) is the new face of Nars. Jessica Lange, 65 (right) is the new face of Marc Jacobs Beauty.
charlotte rampling jessica lange

Take, for example, M.A.C. Cosmetics, which just featured 90-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel in its sold-out winter collection, and which also has plans to collaborate with 61-year-old Sharon Osbourne in a summer launch slated to hit counters in June. Previously, one of the brand’s best-selling limited edition collections featured 62-year-old Catherine Deneuve in a color story dedicated to the French legend.

And recently, 68-year-old Diane Keaton and 75-year-old Jane Fonda have appeared in separate L’Oréal spots, 70-year-old Jacqueline Bisset has touted Avon’s Anew Platinum skincare line, and 70-year-old Lauren Hutton is modeling sexy denim for Lucky Brand.    

It’s certainly a refreshing change for an industry that sells billions of dollars worth of products annually through the inundation of youth-focused ads on seemingly every magazine page, drugstore display and bus stop. By creating a sense of sensuality around women in their golden years, insiders say brands are directly appealing to an age group that has not backed off spending money in the beauty space in spite of becoming “seniors.”    

In a study by GfK MRI, which analyzes consumer behavior and trends in the industry, data shows that baby boomers are spending more on beauty products than their parents and grandparents did generations before at the same age. And it seems advertisers are taking notice of the trend and customizing their messages to the beauty-savvy senior.

Courtesy of People (left) and M.A.C. Cosmetics (right)60 year old Christie Brinkley graces the cover of People, and 90-year-old Iris Apfel in a recent campaign for M.A.C. Cosmetics.
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“I just did a cover of People magazine with Christie Brinkley at 60, and a shoot for New York magazine where the women ranged in age from 69 to 97,” says celebrity makeup artist and Lancôme Beauty at Every Age Expert Sandy Linter. “Companies are realizing that women of ‘a certain age’ today still want to be active and relate to a sense of glamour that is appropriate for themselves—and that’s very important in selling product,” she adds.

Linter, who is a member of the age group herself, says it’s representative of how we now look at these years as not an ending, but as an exciting beginning to yet another stage of life. “Many still work, want to go out and have fun, and enjoy life while they still can! Spokesmodels like Jessica and Charlotte are great examples of active women in their 60s and beyond.”

We think this trend is hopeful for the younger generation, too. With beautiful women like these to aspire too, maybe the obsession with looking 25 forever will fade and getting older won't seem so scary and instead be something to look forward to.

MORE: Why You'll Eventually Love The Photos You Hate Today.

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