Olsen, Owens and dressing after 60

Last Thursday's New York Times Style section noted the demise of the Sigrid Olsen label, now owned by the Liz Claiborne conglomerate. Olsen's aesthetic never did much for me; her seashell prints and beachy colours were just not urban enough.

But she was b
eloved by many women, and I recently admired a coral-and-white print cotton blazer on a gray-haired executive, then realized it was Sigrid Olsen. Olsen had an extensive Woman's line, which I applaud. She didn't use lesser fabrics and finishings just because she was making larger sizes, unlike Ralph Lauren, for example.

Apparently Olsen herself, who paints and owns a gallery in Edgartown MA, was whipsawed by the decision, even with the death knell sounded by the closing of Dana Buchman and life support for Eileen Tracy.

One buyer said, "This leaves a void in the 40-60 year womens' old market." Who is making clothes for the above-60s? Are they a separate market? Or did the buyer just not want to utter the word seventy? Or eighty?

It seems no designer or retailer will identify their market as past 60. Yet my friends' mothers, in these upper-digit decades, are as interested in clothes as they ever were, buying Anne Klein (apparently also floundering), Eileen Fisher, Lafayette New York or other bridge lines.

During our last conversation, my nearly 99-year old mother, anticipating my visit in a few days, said, "We have to go shopping."

I'd have lept at this Teri Jon for Kay Unger rich brocade coatdress ($470 at Neiman Marcus' web site), elegant for any age.

Claiborne has just hired Isaac Mizrahi to breathe life into that line; his work will show up in stores in February '09.

As for me, I love me some Rick Owens, and once I no longer need anything businessy in my closet, I'm headed there. I'd like to see Ricky make bigger sizes, even if only in his second Lilies line.

Wouldn't it be terrific to wear this at 75?

Fight, fight
against ever wearing anything remotely like the dispiriting number below. If I were rich I'd buy every one of these and recycle them as paper... or something.


Anonymous said…
Funny, almost all the clothes available in my town that isn't for teenagers is targeted at the
55-plus market!?! At 37, I'm in no-woman's-land.
materfamilias said…
I've noticed that even More magazine, which seemed to address a wider spread when it first appeared, is now focussing more on a 35-50 woman, and such features as used to occasionally include women in their 70s and 80s (Texas' Ann Richards, for example) now barely graze the upper 40s, even as we Boomers move into seniority.
-- oh, and that last photo -- yurggh, shudder, that belongs in one of the nine circles!
When I am 75 I want to wear that fierce ensemble you shared and not that Coldwater Canyon or Creek, or whatever it is, horror. God save me from J. Jill!
Susan B said…
I like the Rick Owens ensemble pictured!

It's true, and this is one of my most frequent rants, that there's really a dearth of sophisticated (rather than stodgy) clothing designed for our demographic. Especially if once doesn't have the resources to regularly shop at Saks and Neimans, one is left with the shapeless horrors like that bottom picture. Banana Republic is good for basics, but I want some wow-worthy stuff too!
Anjela's Day said…
I like the Rick Owens too. He has several pieces too that are shown on younger models(19+ years old) but one could modify the lovely shifts in wools and I love the over the knee boots and cashmere leggings but think I'd switch for a fantastic pair of to the knee boots and honestly it could look really chic. Or my Burberry ankle boots....Add a great scarf for a weekend getaway. "James, bring the car around to the front please" hah hah (A girl may dream....right?)
Anonymous said…
The two pictures you placed at the bottom of this post, just say it all don't they?
Anonymous said…
I just don't see clothes like the bottom image. If a catalogue comes through the door it just goes straight in the recycling box.

I love the Rick Owens outfit and have worn clothes like this for years. However, I have to admit that recently I've found an excess of fabric to be rather cumbersome and have actually started to wear more tailored styles in the past year. This in turn forces me to keep an eye on my waist measurement which keeps me off the cream cakes and on the fruit and vegetables!
Duchesse said…
Rick Owens is a body-conscious cut- check outthe pieces on net-a-porter and you will be eating fruit and veggies to wear him, too (sigh).

He is also expensive for me! I look for resale Ricky or "Rick-homage" pieces" from a favorite local designer.
WendyB said…
I like your style. That Rick Owens would be perfect on a 75 year old!

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