In praise of older models
If you've seen the news recently, you'll be aware of the fairy-tale story of Beate Howitt who - at the age of 80 - has been signed to a leading modelling agency after winning the Classic Model competition in conjunction with Goldie magazine.
Or, if you follow me on social media Beate may be a slightly more familiar face as she's been featuring in my social campaigns for the past six months.
When I first saw Beate at a local fashion show last October, I knew from that wonderful smile I had met a very special lady. She had been asked to be one of the ‘real-women’ modelling my collection and she positively sashayed down the runway full of joy and fun.
After the show I made a point of going to say hello and soon discovered we had more in common than just our great height! She lives around the corner from me, and has become a regular visitor at my kitchen table, where over many cups of tea I have learned all about her colourful life and how she had always wanted to be a model.
Here are some of my own, candid, shots of Beate - in my home. I’m delighted that this has quickly blossomed into a genuine friendship and an ongoing working relationship: Beate instinctively understands my way of thinking and has become my muse as well as my model.
You may have heard me mention before how much I love working collaboratively so I was delighted to introduce Beate to my talented friend, the photographer Flavia Catena . She has shot a wonderful series of photographs of Beate wearing pieces from both my Language of Flowers and Out of Africa collections and I regularly showcase these on my Instagram and other social media. It was one of these images that I sent to secretly enter Beate into a competition with Goldie magazine to win a modelling contract with top agency, MOT. Of course, she won and the rest – I suspect – will soon become history!
What is classic?
It has been a real privilege to see Beate flourish, and I couldn’t be happier to see her longheld dream of a modelling career becoming a reality. The April issue of Goldie has Beate as cover model, asking the question, What is Classic? (just one of the ways in which this intelligent stylish title encourages us to reconsider outdated ideas around aging).
Age should never present boundaries...
and every time I meet Beate, she brings in the sun, beaming from ear to ear, showing us that
it is never too late to live your dream.