Shine on

Every once in awhile I see a shot of a mature woman that just stops me in my tracks, and that's the effect of the shot Scott Schuman posted on The Sartorialist this week, of an anonymous Milanesa.

She's gre
y and definitely not injected, lifted or fluffed. I keep returning to look at at the sparkle on her cheek and earlobe. Her scarf. The sensitivity in her face.


Dr. Natalie Zemon Davis, 82, a history and anthropology professor at the University of Toronto, recently won the Holberg International Memorial Prize, a Swedish honour that includes a $768,000 award.

The awards committee cited her as "one of the most creative historians writing today".
She is donating part of her prize money to charity but did say she'd buy a new spring coat.

The attitude of the anonymous woman, the accomplishment of Dr. Zemon Davis– the qualities of these women encourage and strengthen me.


Nancy K said…
Ah yes. I agree. I love that the Milanese woman and mostly all of the older women he shoots have on little makeup and they are well put together and aging gracefully. In contrast the young man who blogs as Advanced Style mostly seems to pick out women who are over made up and incredibly dramatic to the point of caricature in their dress. I like the idea of growing old gracefully but stylishly. I am growing out my hair color and I am not planning on any injections any time in the future.
Frugal Scholar said…
NZD's accomplishments are even more impressive when you read her biography--and that of her husband. They suffered for their political beliefs. She wrote the book on Martin Guerre on which the film was based.

82--and she's still working? Love it!
LPC said…
I loved that Sarty picture when I saw it. Both these women look so strong. Even when we don't look like that natively, it's an archetype to aspire to.
Anonymous said…
Great pictures. You can ( still) see the "girl" in the Milanese woman - I love it, if elderly people still have their inner girl or boy _visible_....
My all-time favorite elderly woman is Glen Close. Classy !
Belle de Ville said…
Europe seems like the the last place where a woman can age naturally. Those days are gone here.
I've never read any of Dr. Davis's books but I look forward to reading them.
materfamilias said…
P.K. Page was like this as well, with several new, critically-well-reviewed books published in her last year, at 93, still gorgeous, well-dressed, beautifully coiffed. and you would have been impressed Sunday when Betty Jean McHugh, at 83, broke another record, this time for the Vancouver Half Marathon (she's done several marathons, post 80!!) -- again, beautifully groomed (put me to shame, for sure!)
How wonderful to have these inspiring examples of women whose beauty comes from their passions and interests rather than from surgical procedures and toxic injections . . . thanks for this post, duchesse!
s. said…
I argue that Europe is NOT the last place where women can age gracefully. Some do, but on the beaches of the south of France I'm surrounded by European women chain smoking to keep weight at bay, their faces untouched by scalpel or inject BUT their bare breasts lifted and pointing skyward thanks to doctors' aid. For every Italian woman like this gorgeous Milanes pictured, there is one trying to follow in the footsteps of the much pinched and prodded Sophia Loren. Here in Toronto, I see many a WASP doyenne aging handsomely in her tweeds, gray hair and gardening gloves.
Duchesse said…
What strikes me, as a North American, is the prevalence of these beliefs: that
1. Ageing is most undesirable and is therefore is to be erased from the face and
2. Intellectual development is appropriate for young adults but then you have learned all you can or need to.
Aging gracefully is something that is becoming rarer. It's truly inspiring.
Nancy, my computer froze as I was writing a long essay on Dr Zemon-Davis and the Annales school. Probably just as well, as I was getting into social history porn.

Agree with you about Sartorialist vs Advanced Style - the latter often makes me cringe.

I'm mulling whether to grow out my hair colour but the prospect terrifies me - how people will treat me, as a sexless, professionally worthless old thing. (I don't have or want children or grandchildren so matriarch is out). The silvery tone with almost blacks is nice - being treated as an ancestor when I'm an eternal ado less so. I have zero need of injections so that isn't even an issue. My mum who is over 90 is not wrinkly.

s., I'm glad you ponderated the Europe stuff - I've lived on the other side of the pond for considerable times (and here live in French-speaking Québec) and find there are really tribes between the low and high maintenance ladies. Oh, the low-maintenance will certainly colour their hair if they wish and wear some lipstick and a bit of eye makeup, and not look as hopeless as I've seen too often in North America, but the high maintenance are rather ghastly. (Though Berlusconi, a man, is the worst).

S., the wasp doyennes tend to become asexual, which is not cool either, and wear hideous pastels.

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