Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Birkin and other older icons star in fashion campaigns

Everything old is new again, at least it would seem that way according to recent high-profile fashion and beauty campaign bookings. For as long as advertisements have been around, youth was the standard. Now, the biggest stars of the mid-20th century are taking center stage in major campaigns.

Italian fashion house Gucci is making a bold and beautiful statement with its Spring 2017 ad campaign by casting the 79-year-old British actress Vanessa Redgrave.

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Gucci debuted a first look into it's campaign, which was shot at the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, on Instagram.

The award-winning actress is featured sporting an array of stunning outfits alongside younger models, but when it comes to striking a pose for the camera, Redgrave is the star of the show.

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Redgrave isn't the only one rebooting her career in front of the camera; Jane Birkin, Joni Mitchell, Joan Didion and Iris Apfel, to name a few, have also been cast of late in major campaigns.

In March, Saint Laurent announced that the new leading woman of their "Le Smoking" campaign is none other than Jane Birkin. The French model and actress, seen here in a shot taken at the couture house in Paris, poses in the label's signature tuxedo. But the brand is not alone in its decision to feature older women like Birkin, 69, as the face of new campaigns.

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At the start of 2015, fashion labels Céline and Saint Laurent caused a stylish stir when they put Joan Didion and Joni Mitchell, respectively, in their spring ads. Didion is an American author and journalist who is now 81 years old, and Mitchell, a singing legend, is now 72.

While the fashion community went wild about Didion’s ad, the former Vogue writer and author of “Slouching Toward Bethlehem" among many other popular books, was unaware. “I don’t have any clue,” she told the New York Times.

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These major fashion brands aren’t the only ones who realize that nostalgia for celebrities of yesteryear can bring a lot of positive attention to their products. L’Oreal also announced in 2015 that ‘60s “It” girl Twiggy would be the new face of their professional line of hair products, despite the fact that she’s now 66 years old.

“I hope to inspire women to be confident in their personal style and never to be afraid of trying something new,” Twiggy told the Daily Mail.

But most startling of all was the appearance of fashion icon Iris Apfel (93 years old at the time) in jeweler Alexis Bittar’s 2015 spring campaign. Apfel appeared alongside Tavi Gevinson, the young blogging wunderkind, who made Apfel’s age seem even more stark. Bittar told WWD, “For the campaign, we honed in on the essence of strong women who haven’t conformed."

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In August of 2014, makeup brand NARS turned heads in the best way possible by featuring the then 69-year-old actress Charlotte Rampling in one of their lipstick ads. “Charlotte’s ability to transform is unparalleled,” Francois Nars told WWD at the time. “Whether captured in pieces of artwork, through the lens of a magazine photographer, or on the big screen, she has an amazing power to encompass a character.”

Anyone who’s a fan of the blog Advanced Style knows that our mothers and grandmothers are just as much a source of sartorial inspiration, if not more so, than their younger counterparts. It just took the industry a while to catch up.

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This story was originally published Jan. 26, 2015 on It was updated Sept. 20, 2016.

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