W Magazine: One for the Ages

Posted on August 24, 2011

When we came across this editorial, we were all “Amber Valetta by Steven Klein for the September issue of W magazine? There’s your ‘Here’s your pretty for the day’ post locked up!”

Ten seconds later…

“Dear GOD. I’m going to have nightmares, now.”

 

Chanel Lace Jumpsuit

Miu Miu Sable Dress

Dolce & Gabbana Silk Satin Bodysuit

Gucci Jacket, Silk Shirt, and Pants

John Galliano Silk Kimono

Prada Silk Organza Dress

Salvatore Ferragamo Coat, Bodysuit, and Skirt

Tom Ford Velvet Tuxedo

Givenchy Jacket and Glasses

Alexander McQueen Dress and Harness

Mary, Diana, and Flo, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?

We’ll tell you what’s going on here: you’re seeing the fashion industry’s take on aging inadvertently laid bare. This isn’t some statement on the stages of a woman’s life (which could actually be an interesting and beautiful editorial); this is a horror/freak show idea of aging, where a woman’s circumstances never change – she’s literally in the same room her entire life, surrounded by men and babies – but she physically deteriorates into a horror show mask while desperately trying to look young and attractive. A grotesque idea of growing older.

Fashion bitches, THIS is what a fabulous old woman looks like:

 

HOW COULD YOU FORGET THAT?

 

[Photo Credit: Flashbang via thefashionspot.com]

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=49702581 Susan Bullard Mayer

      Thanks for my motivation to finish my reading for class.  I think I need to look away for a while.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=49702581 Susan Bullard Mayer

      Thanks for my motivation to finish my reading for class.  I think I need to look away for a while.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=49702581 Susan Bullard Mayer

      Thanks for my motivation to finish my reading for class.  I think I need to look away for a while.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=49702581 Susan Bullard Mayer

      Thanks for my motivation to finish my reading for class.  I think I need to look away for a while.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_T53WBEPGJZ7MMMZC4O563YU5HA Observer

      This is grotesque; comes under the catagory of “What were they thinking”?  It’s insulting to her and all older women and in the poorest taste possible.

    • http://www.bodenheimer.com Scott Bodenheimer

      Seems like a reference to Kubrick’s 2001.

      • Eclectic Mayhem

        As soon as I got to the last shot with the baby, that’s what I thought too.  Her make-up and hair is very like Keir Dullea’s at that point of the movie and, of course, there’s the whole baby in the monolith thing; life coming full circle etc, etc.

        I do understand why everyone is a little weirded out and upset but I’m going to give W Magazine the benefit of the doubt and agree with Scott.

        • muzan-e

          Thank you both for explaining that. To my shame, I still haven’t seen 2001 – 

          Aherm. My shortcomings aside, I agree: the gut says that there’s a point to what they’ve created here, a point beyond mere thoughtless misogyny. The styling, the wheelchair near the end….

          • Eclectic Mayhem

            Just between you and me muzan-e, I’ve only seen half of it!  I watched it on laser disk about a thousand years ago; I was getting motion sickness from some of the unusual angles Kubrick favoured and found the first part of the film stultifyingly dull so I flipped the disk and just watched the second half which was really interesting and definitely worth seeing.

            I probably didn’t totally understand what was going on with Hal (the computer “What are you doing Dave?”) until I saw 2010 which, incidentally, features TLo fave Helen Mirren rocking her very authentic Russian accent.*

            If you can find any stills or screen caps of the last part of the movie (Keir Dullea spends a lot of time in a room rather like the one in this editorial) I think you’ll see the similarities.  There’s something about the shot featuring that red (velvet?) outfit that’s ringing all sorts of 2001 bells too – that might be the colour of his jim jams in one scene.

            Kubrick was definitely a weird chap but a bit of a genius.  I suppose I really should go back and revisit the first part of 2001… I can recommend, however, Barry Lyndon, the pacing is achingly slow but the story is incredibly tense and very sensual, particularly if you find a young Ryan O’Neal vaguely attractive.

            Eclectic

            *Her real name is Ilyena Mironoff btw.

      • Anonymous

         My thought exactly. In fact, the age makeup is even similar.

        • http://noiresque.wordpress.com/ Noiresque

          Co-signed. 2001 it is.

          (And I know Deborah is a movie maven, as I will forever think of her as Dehlia from the CFB) :)

          • Anonymous

            We Are Everywhere.

      • Anonymous

        You, sir, are a genius. That didn’t even cross my mind, but now that you say it, I can totally see it.

        That said, however, they could – and, in my opinion, should – have done a much clearer job of referencing the movie. Those aging scenes take place, IIRC, in a flawlessly white, space-age environment, very unlike these Matrix-y interiors (that visual connection may be being influenced by the omnipresent, expressionless dudes in black suits, white shirts, and sunglasses), and I found the shot where she’s on the floor in the blue pants/tan fedora to just reek of sexual violence, which was…let’s say distracting from the concept, and leave it at that.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K2XAR5XSF3XCESVXU4JD4KEE4M Katie

        Oh yeah!  I was thinking Sunset Boulevard in the middle, but then they aged her way past that and it lost me.  That makes sense, now that you say it.  Given how easily it could (and did) veer into offensiveness, the reference probably should’ve been a little more clear–either make the set look more like the white room at the end of the film, or take out the guys and have her keep seeing herself at different phases of her life.

    • http://twitter.com/LianaBrooks Liana Brooks

      Whatever they were trying to sell, it didn’t work.

    • Anonymous

      crazy shit

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Space_Kitty Space Kitty

      What the shit?

      I can’t look away from the horror to even notice, let alone apprise, the clothes.  On behalf of aging people everywhere (which, unless you’re dead – WE ALL ARE) fuck you, W.

      • Anonymous

        I was going to finish up the way you did, but I lost my nerve.  So thanks for saying it!  Fuck YOU, W!

        There. I feel better!

        • Anonymous

          Oh, may I join in? FUCK YOU, W!

          You’re right. It feels good :-)

    • Shawn Hill

      The makeups good, love the Deitrich moment. Nothing wrong with a horror show, everyone seemed game.

    • Kim Elmore

      Going for The Hunger & missing???

      • http://karensbooksandchocolate.blogspot.com/ Karenlibrarian

        That was my thought exactly!!

    • Anonymous

      WTH? An ode to the aging woman? GAG! The last few pics remind of of shrunken heads. Giant shrunken heads. Disturbing.

    • Anonymous

      I cant’ pretend to understand what they are trying to say.

    • Anonymous

      The pic of her in the Tom Ford tuxedo reminds me of “Old Biff” from Back to the Future 2.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you thank you for adding Carmen the Palate-Cleanser/Mental-Image-Eraser at the end. 

      That was just horrible.  I hope W gets a lot of shit for that.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jude-Brown/1350939326 Jude Brown

        Throw in a Helen Mirren while you’re at it.

        • Leslie Streeter

          Old friggin Biff. Diana Mary and Flo, indeed. What what?

    • Anonymous

      The fashion world meets “No Exit.” Yikes. 

    • Anonymous

      who the hell allowed this to be published?? has the fashion industry gotten so desperate for new ideas that they have resorted to this creepiness?!

    • Anonymous

      Jesus Freudian Christ, WHAT? Forget having nightmares, this is a nightmare in itself. Trapped in a room of immortal men (or an ever-changing roster of young men, I’m not sure which is worse) while the years take their toll only on you, until the day you die, with no escape for you!

      • Anonymous

        It’s the fashion industry’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” no doubt.

        I suppose that’s a bit of an undeserved compliment, really.

        • Anonymous

          Hah, I just gave myself a hypothetical gold star for getting that reference right off the bat. But I agree that The Yellow Wallpaper was crafted with a bit more… care and thought than this editorial. /shudder

    • Anonymous

      Jesus Freudian Christ, WHAT? Forget having nightmares, this is a nightmare in itself. Trapped in a room of immortal men (or an ever-changing roster of young men, I’m not sure which is worse) while the years take their toll only on you, until the day you die, with no escape for you!

    • http://www.facebook.com/fiddlecub Kevin VanOrd

      Note how the men are less and less inclined to look directly at her as the photos progress. We move from direct looks, to looking by way of a mirrored lampshade, to filming with a camera (but without direct viewing through a lens), to her holding her hands over their eyes, to heads turned away, to blatant avoidance of eye contact, and finally, to complete apathy. 

      It’s a condemnation of the older woman–a pictorial charting the path from glamorous youth to hideous old age. 

      Visually grotesque; thematically grotesque.

      • Anonymous

        Excellent observation.
         

      • Anonymous

        Excellent observation.
         

      • Anonymous

        Excellent observation.
         

      • Anonymous

        Excellent observation.
         

      • http://twitter.com/starrika Ali

        You could so write a paper on the male gaze and this editorial. My women’s studies professor in college would have loved it.

      • parissweetheart

        Perhaps it’s meant to illustrate what the Real Housewives  Of… Series never mentions? /sarcasm

      • muzan-e

        It’s a condemnation of the older woman–a pictorial charting the path from glamorous youth to hideous old age.

        I’m of the firm belief that sometimes a horror story is simply a horror story (see: Kanye’s Monster video). And that sometimes, a horror story has a point beyond the story’s scope (see: Kanye’s Monster video, heh). My gut says that this one qualifies under both these headings – because maybe this is a condemnation of the older woman but of inertia. There she’s living, after all – for year after decade after lifetime. Her accessories – the jewels, the wine, the boys – never change. But her, the only living thing in that room? She changes – 

        but only on the outside, the only type of change you can’t halt or effect yourself; the type of change that really counts the least.

        Ah, I dunno. I read that paragraph again and I glance at the pictures again, and I wonder if maybe it’s not just a horror story after all. If that’s so, it’s a terrifically powerful one. But if it’s just a comment on the older woman?

        Yeah. Reprehensible.

        • Anonymous

          I’d be really interested to hear you expand your thoughts on the Monster video, if you’d be willing.

      • http://www.facebook.com/tess.danesi Tess Danesi

        And notice that in the photo where she’s pregnant, there’s not a man to be found, looking at her or or looking away. Which normally I might relate to independence but with this shoot it seems more like avoidance of obligation. I may be reading way to much into it, but damn, it just irked me.

        You hit the nail on the head with thematically grotesque. Repugnant. 

        • Anonymous

          I’m not married to this idea, but maybe the point is the way men see women. I think that’s brought home in the photo you mention. They’re not saying this is the life a woman lives and deserves; it’s the life that men try to thrust upon her. In which case, it’s disturbing but not repugnant.

          I mean, ultimately it’s just a fashion spread, and I prefer my fashion spreads to be about fashion. I don’t want or need a social statement.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, and the one where the middle-aged woman has been apparently thrown to the floor for having had the audacity to desire their six pack abs.  She becomes more and more invisible to the men.  Nail on the head.  Insulting and repulsive.

      • Lisa

        Wow…. I never even noticed that!  Which makes the whole photo spread even more offensive.

      • Anonymous

        That is so interesting.  The only photo where the men look at her and are interested in engaging with her is the first.  In the second photo they are absent, and the third (where I suppose she’s in her 40’s) is extremely disturbing.  She’s decked out in lingerie and the man wears sunglasses and doesn’t even glance at her.  Then the fourth (the 50’s) is a violent image where she’s thrown on the ground.  After that, as you say, the gaze is always indirect.  Grotesque is right.   

      • http://twitter.com/onetimeko maybe more

        Interesting (and distressing) point.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fiddlecub Kevin VanOrd

      Note how the men are less and less inclined to look directly at her as the photos progress. We move from direct looks, to looking by way of a mirrored lampshade, to filming with a camera (but without direct viewing through a lens), to her holding her hands over their eyes, to heads turned away, to blatant avoidance of eye contact, and finally, to complete apathy. 

      It’s a condemnation of the older woman–a pictorial charting the path from glamorous youth to hideous old age. 

      Visually grotesque; thematically grotesque.

    • http://twitter.com/Nancer Nancer

      I’m scared now. Somebody, hold me! (Whimper…)

    • http://twitter.com/Nancer Nancer

      I’m scared now. Somebody, hold me! (Whimper…)

    • Anonymous

      What. The fuck.

      (is this the life story of Sharon Stone?)

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EDI2DLE7DE3YPW2ONIHBWOVHMA ecallaw

        Exactly what I thought! The picture of her in the Gucci jacket lying on the floor is reminiscent of Sharon Stone in Casino.

    • Anonymous

      Isn’t it amazing that a publication dedicated to women’s fashion can print something like this–which just reeks of hatred of women?

      It’s intensely creepy. And nauseating.

      So thanks for the palate-cleansing sorbet of Carmen dell’Orefice. And honestly, there are a whole lot of amazing “old women” whose photos could have been used as antidotes too–I’m thinking of Gloria Steinem, Judi Dench, Honor Blackman, Candice Bergen, Lauren Hutton, and, of course, our beloved Helen M.

      • Anonymous

        Throw in Julie Newmar and it would be awesome! Can’t you just see her in that last harness outfit??

        • Shawn Hill

          Could we tell the difference?

    • Anonymous

      Isn’t it amazing that a publication dedicated to women’s fashion can print something like this–which just reeks of hatred of women?

      It’s intensely creepy. And nauseating.

      So thanks for the palate-cleansing sorbet of Carmen dell’Orefice. And honestly, there are a whole lot of amazing “old women” whose photos could have been used as antidotes too–I’m thinking of Gloria Steinem, Judi Dench, Honor Blackman, Candice Bergen, Lauren Hutton, and, of course, our beloved Helen M.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3KCDEX4FOTCFHZP6WLKSOOKUVM Danielle

      Basically, young Sharon Stone morphs into Anthony Hopkins?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6TDAYXK555ABAKZEEOAJMC25FU Stan

        with a stop at Madeline Albright along the way

    • Anonymous

      Good God, what have they done?!?  I’m feeling just as horrified as when I see a ‘pretty baby’ shoot.

    • Anonymous

      Oh. Dear. God. Why does the last one look like an even scarier Anthony Hopkins? 

    • Anonymous

      Oh. Dear. God. Why does the last one look like an even scarier Anthony Hopkins? 

    • http://profiles.google.com/hawkeye1978 Kristin Hanson

      The men don’t appear to age, though.  They always look the same.  The differing standards of age and beauty in men and women are obvious, too.

      • Scott Hester-Johnson

        The men are disposable toys; when the age out you just get new ones.

        • Anonymous

          Now that’s an interesting thought. If the woman in the pictures wasn’t so Norma Desmond, you could say this was a reversal of the “Older man trades his wife in for a newer model” trope. But the fact that she’s apparently trapped in her life belies that: the new young wife usually signifies freedom for the older man.

          All that aside, her face reminds me of nothing so much as the sequence in “Beetlejuice” where Geena Davis (and Alec Baldwin) ages 60 years in a matter of seconds.

        • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

          True but their obvious loathing increases with every image.

    • raena colby

      looks like the W editors need to start checking out http://advancedstyle.blogspot.com.

    • Anonymous

      It may have worked as a concept, but its an utter failure in reality, insulting and gag worthy

    • Anonymous

      If they really wanted to do “one for the ages” they could have done so many other things.  Like using models who bare a resemblance to each other but are of different ages.  That could illustrate a woman growing older gracefully and beautifully.    All this says is that old equals ugly.

      • Anonymous

        My thoughts exactly Scarlet39 (get out of my head!!) That last pic in the shoot looked like Anthony Hopkins was auditioning for the new Hellraiser movie!

      • Lisa

        Right – it’s not like anyone’s sitting here saying, “aging is bad”, but that’s the way they’re *depicting* it in this photo spread, as some scary, gothic nightmare.

    • Anonymous

      The subtext is disturbing. And I love you for articulating it so cleanly.

      BUT I think we all need to see more images of what [old] people really look like without surgery, injections, special lighting and photo shopping. I remember being a small child and being scared of a friend’s grandmother because I’d never seen anyone over 75 before. I think our media-saturated society perpetuates a version of the same on all of us – unless we live/work with the truly old, or are truly old ourselves, it’s easy to go days and weeks, maybe even months without seeing what we are all going to come to, should we live long enough.

      It breeds fear, and denial.

      Not that I think staged grotesquerie is necessarily the right way to present images of the very old.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you, formerly Anon!  I was going to say the same thing.  While I think the W images of the scary, monster “old woman” are insulting – I also believe that (my beloved) TLo also might be wrong.  Gorgeous Carmen is NOT what aging women look like unless they’ve had a shit load of botox, plastic surgery, or photoshop.  But there are some absolutely gorgeous women who are older that rock it.  

        That all said – W got us talking, didn’t it?  Yes, yes – we are hating on them (like we do when they sexualize young girls, hypersexualize and objectify women, etc etc).  But – interesting strategy for a fashion rag.  

        • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

          ”  Gorgeous Carmen is NOT what aging women look like”

          We didn’t say she was.

      • Anonymous

        You are 100% correct.

      • Anonymous

        Your point is well taken. Just today I was shocked at a photograph of my 90 year old aunt taken candidly during her recent birthday party which my cousin posted on fb. I hadn’t attended, far away, and I also had not seen her in about 7 years. She doesn’t look all that different than my mom and dad did at 87, but I think the shock lay in my memories differing a lot from the reality. People do have stages in which they change drastically. And though they remain beautiful in our memories, the harsh truth is not lovely.

      • Anonymous

        I had a different view as a child, maybe because my parents didn’t have children until they were in their forties so I all my life I have known people over 70 (grandparents, great aunts and uncles, etc.). When I was about 10 I remember how beautiful I always thought my grandmother was, with her white hair and peaches & cream skin (even with all the wrinkles). Now that my mom is 85, I find her beautiful even without makeup and she pooh-poohs it when I say so, complaining about her wrinkles and age spots. But her skin is amazing, mostly due lack of sun damage.

        Now that last picture from the editorial is grotesque, most older people don’t look like that unless they have had serious sun damage/skin cancer and chain smoked all their lives. As others have said, it looks like some nasty from a freak show horror movie.

        And thanks TLo for Carmen, while she has undoubtedly had work done, it was tastefully and masterfully done and she still works it better than those sad stick girls 1/5 her age. AND HOLY CRAP, she is only 5 years younger than my mom.

    • Erica Pawlak

      Anyone else see Anthony Hopkins in that last frame? *shudder*

    • Erica Pawlak

      Anyone else see Anthony Hopkins in that last frame? *shudder*

    • Erica Pawlak

      Anyone else see Anthony Hopkins in that last frame? *shudder*

    • Erica Pawlak

      Anyone else see Anthony Hopkins in that last frame? *shudder*

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2066192 Melissa Mellon

      My eyes! My eyes! Who thought that was a good idea?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2066192 Melissa Mellon

      My eyes! My eyes! Who thought that was a good idea?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2066192 Melissa Mellon

      My eyes! My eyes! Who thought that was a good idea?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2066192 Melissa Mellon

      My eyes! My eyes! Who thought that was a good idea?

    • http://karensbooksandchocolate.blogspot.com/ Karenlibrarian

      That is just effing weird.  I can’t unsee it now.  

    • Rand Ortega

      So glad my subscription to this stupid mag is about over. What a cruel & worthless statement to make about women in particular, ageing in general. How inspiring.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_COO4CCCPEVDT7IG5IOVGN3AZAM Its Yo Hipsta Treyshon

      Wow, somebody time traveled through Madonna’s next five concert tours.

    • Anonymous

      First I was screaming Joan Crawford! halfway down; finishing with Baby Jane! Baby Jane!

      • Anonymous

        and then I calmed down, and came to my senses. It’s a damn peculiar way
        to sell high end clothing, and I still haven’t looked at them, but
        misogyny aside, as people age, they really do look like all these
        pictures, even the last one. Her costuming and some of the photo styling
        is grotesque, her face isn’t.

        Carmen is an icon precisely because she appears to be ageless, has
        defied the wrinkle gods, and has maintained a semblance of her legendary beauty. But ordinary people do not age this way, without intervention or lucky genetics.

    • https://profiles.google.com/104791269167429064986 Judy S

      I dunno. I thought it was interesting, as fashion “editorials” go. Of course they did not make her look like a fabulous old fashion model, or the way she actually will look at the age of 100, because if she lives that long she will have had the work done not to look that way. But I thought some of the ideas were interesting–the sequence of styles and attitudes and icons evoked. The way they exploited Ms. Valetta’s high forehead, which I guess is there from the beginning but  which comes into its own when the wrinkles start being added and sort of turns her into a reverse embryo.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513945580 Megan Patterson

      GAAAAAAHHHHHHH

    • Anonymous

      I have my middle-age wrinkles, a few brown spots, and beginning-to-sag neck and I consider ‘em medals for living a normal life.  This horror show is a travesty of aging and is flat out offensive.

    • Anonymous

      Why would she agree to this?  It’s demeaning.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-Elizabeth-Poytinger-Baumer/1516981341 Mary Elizabeth Poytinger Baume

      That old broad is fierce personified.

    • Anonymous

      Carmen rocks and always well.  She is a better model now than hen she 20.  God, I hope I look half as good at 60 as Carmen looks now at 80. ( I think she is in her 80s).

    • Rebecca Johnson

      If the editors of W wanted me to have any idea what clothing was in the shoot, they failed. If they wanted me to have a deep sense of confusion and unease…win?

    • Anonymous

      Maybe this is some kind of symbolism –  like Anna Wintour’s closet where she secretly ages – instead of the painting of Dorian Gray. If this wasn’t a failed attempt at the symbolic, it’s just kind of offensive. 

      • Anonymous

        Very, very failed!

      • Anonymous

        Very, very failed!

    • http://twitter.com/starrika Ali

      In that last photo, she looks a bit like Anthony Hopkins. Just me?

      • Alyson Lamble

        I think she looks a little more like Gary Oldman in that godawful Dracula movie.

    • Judy_J

      Insulting.  My mom just celebrated her 80th birthday and she still looks fabulous. She looks older, yes, but not in this horrifying way. And in tribute to her sense of style, my daughter, neices, sister-in-law and I wore some of her clothes she’d saved from the ’50’s and ’60’s, and it was fabulous.  Getting older does NOT mean deteriorating into a corpse-like zombie.

      • Lisa

        Brava to you, your mom, and the awesome women in your family, Judy!  What a great tribute!

        • Judy_J

          Thanks, Lisa!

    • Anonymous

      It’s interesting that I’m seeing this post today, because yesterday I talked to an elderly couple in my neighborhood.  They are in their 80’s, have lived in the same brownstone for 60 years, and are kind of the parents of the neighborhood–everyone knows them and they watch out for all of us.  They both seem so content and the man told me he felt happy when he looked back on his life–he’d had a full life.  I was just thinking that I want to be like them when I’m in my 80’s.  Then–bam!  Here we have it.  W shows us, in crude and cruel form, the media’s disturbing view of aging.  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KAFYDPCVNCKHWI57YPQRXEJADE Maria

      Surely this is the life of Madonna.

      • Anonymous

        I love you

    • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

      I applaud her for being willing to do something that was deliberately unflattering.  But the editorial itself is… unacceptable.  I like your editorial plan a lot though:)

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3AJ237ND3GAHDQJZ4TLCO4WLRA Emily

      Ugh.  Like your idea for the editorial so much better.  Carmen is ridiculously fabulous!

    • Anonymous

      Is that last photograph Anthony Hopkins in drag? You know, darlings, your entire life story is written on your face. Now *there’s* a scary thought. ;-)

    • Anonymous

      Yet another reason I don’t read W. It’s bullshit fashion.

    • http://www.kittenmasks.com/ kittenmasks

      What in the name of all things Miss Havisham…

    • Anonymous

      T Lo you hit the nail on the head with this:
      “This isn’t some statement on the stages of a woman’s life (which could
      actually be an interesting and beautiful editorial); this is a
      horror/freak show idea of aging, where a woman’s circumstances never
      change – she’s literally in the same room her entire life, surrounded by
      men and babies – but she physically deteriorates into a horror show
      mask while desperately trying to look young and attractive. A grotesque
      idea of growing older.”

      Because the key thing here – and perpetuated endlessly in imagery and media both high and low – is that the woman never moves away from the homestead, however glamorous it may be. She is stuck in that interior; in designer clothes, yes, but literally chained to her home. The male models don’t move much either, but they are shown in doorways, so there is at least the suggestion of their having contact with the outside world. She looks like she never had that chance, desperate as she is to remain attractive and fashionable.

      Just another sick way to remind people that women “belong” in the home and should ensure they are nice to look at, not out in the world doing useful things.

    • Anonymous

      mean, just plain mean!

    • Anonymous

      An ill-begotten idea gone wrong. This editorial does not celebrate aging, as its title “One For The Ages” suggests. It comes across more as “The Life And Times Of A High-Class Call Girl” and evokes pathos, not admiration, in this Bitter Kitten.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Catherine-Rhodes/602850414 Catherine Rhodes

      TLo, I love your attitude towards women. You two are very enlightened. Thanks for doing this blog, it brightens my day.

      • Anonymous

        Of all the many reasons why I love T Lo, you’ve named three of the top ones. Yes, T Lo, thanks for doing this blog. Although you may be tired of being thanked, it just occurred to me I really can’t thank you enough. You guys are still my one and only. Blog I read, that is. ;)

        • Lisa

          Yes, thank you, TLo!  This is why you’re #1!

    • http://twitter.com/rmcgrudiva RL McGruder

      that last comment:  THANK YOU!  WTF, Vogue?!!!!  So unnecessary, and so revealing of their fear.

    • http://twitter.com/rmcgrudiva RL McGruder

      Um, unfounded fear.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HREPOWNBVUBRIVPQCF3ST2IKDM Euphory

      Well that “fabulous old woman” you have here has a ton of plastic surgeries and god knows how many injections into her face.  Notice the total lack of wrinkles?  That’s not an “old woman”, that’s a freak show. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HREPOWNBVUBRIVPQCF3ST2IKDM Euphory

      Well that “fabulous old woman” you have here has a ton of plastic surgeries and god knows how many injections into her face.  Notice the total lack of wrinkles?  That’s not an “old woman”, that’s a freak show. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HREPOWNBVUBRIVPQCF3ST2IKDM Euphory

      Well that “fabulous old woman” you have here has a ton of plastic surgeries and god knows how many injections into her face.  Notice the total lack of wrinkles?  That’s not an “old woman”, that’s a freak show. 

    • Anonymous

      The thing is, for a fashion editorial, I never once looked at the clothes. The images and obvious grotesqueness of the faces took my attention. Unlike some high concept spreads intended for the artistic and narrative, holding and even deepening my interest and wanting to see how the clothes, etc fit the story – this was just a total turn off.

    • Anonymous

      i dont get the baby…. is that supposed to be her grandchild? id really love to see the director’s notes behind this one…. 

      • Anonymous

        I was just trying to imagine the director on site describing what he wants from the models.

    • Anonymous

      the men in the pictures are all “dark skinned” others “preying” on women’s fears of growing old in this old fashion therapist/psychoanalysis type space. 

      a thousand words is not enough to describe each of these photos.

    • Anonymous

      Sickly exploitative.

      • Anonymous

        By that I don’t mean that I think older women should all look like Carmen–but that our wrinkles, spots, sags, etc. in and of themselves show a life well led–even when harshly led–and deserve respect and honor, not captivity and macabreness.

    • Anonymous

      Horrible. Not a picture of aging (and the wrinkles are not well placed especially in the 2nd to the last photo) but a warped view of life.

      • Lisa

        Exactly. As an almost 48 year old, it’s not like I can ever be 20 again, but nor would I want to.  I was happy then, but the difference is I’m happy and *smarter* now. Sure, I’d like to lose a little weight, but other than that, I’m pretty happy with what I look like and where my life is.   This photo spread is nothing more than “Ewww!  She’s old!”

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CNDPMVO4W23R5TVC2QMTJ5BZE Heather

      Also – doesn’t the ‘aged Amber Valetta’ look a lot like Anthony Hopkins?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMAPJYMO5AC6GMONR6NQFURAXE bebo

      The Givenchy  jacket photo look like  Karl  Lagerfeld when I first saw it.

    • http://www.madamovarypart2.blogspot.com madam ovary

      Weird, and yes, very telling of an attitude toward aging.

    • Patricia Biswanger

      Dear God.  What were they doing to that poor woman lying on the ground, looking fearfully over her shoulder?  I tried to construct a narrative to go with these photos, but it was taking me to dark scary places that I don’t want to go to.  Ever.

    • Anonymous

      “Mary, Diana and Flo ….”  I wish I understood this reference.  Can you help me out?

      • Lisa

        Mary Wilson, Diana Ross and Florence (Flo) Ballard – Diana Ross and the Supremes.

        • Anonymous

          HA!  Thanks.  I was kind of hoping it was that but I thought it was something involving Diana Vreeland and I didn’t know the rest of the fashion editors!

          • Lisa

            Haah!  You youngin’, you!  ;-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1245406754 Tracey Magyar

      I guess I am one of the few that finds this editorial interesting. Yes, she ages, but at the end she is around 100, no? What is a hundred year old woman going to resemble…certainly not your fabulous model in the last image. Both my grandmothers are in their 90’s and while they don’t look as extreme as the last image…they look their age. I think the flow through the images from when she is about 20 years in the first thru the last picture is fascinating. The model in the last picture with the surgeries and ton of make up is just as unnatural.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think that people are objecting to the aging of the model but that she is dressed and placed in space in a way that brings a lot of unhappy thoughts to mind:  desparation, isolation, invisibility, even abuse, things like that.  Carmen D is not natural, no, but she is made to look aspirational.  Fashion isn’t realistic, it’s aspirational.  Just my opinion.

        • Shawn Hill

          Fashion can be aspirational, certainly the commercial side of things. But artists like to intrude on even the most commercial worlds. Remember heroin chic? What were we aspiring to then, except being cool? If nothing else in these scenes, Amber looks rich. Corrupt, mabye, but rich as hell.

    • MilaXX

      creepy

    • Anonymous

      And what’s the point of all this? That to be old is ugly? That all women will turn into grotesque lusters of younger robotic men in sunglasses? 

      My mother is 87 and she’s beautiful. That’s the only lesson on aging that I need.

    • Anonymous

      And what’s the point of all this? That to be old is ugly? That all women will turn into grotesque lusters of younger robotic men in sunglasses? 

      My mother is 87 and she’s beautiful. That’s the only lesson on aging that I need.

    • Anonymous

      and THIS post, THIS commentary, is why I love TLo so much and keep coming back. It’s really easy to be a uncritical, unreflective consumer or appreciator of fashion & pop culture, or to say “oh, lighten up, it’s just fashion!” But to be able to look at an awful editorial like this, and then to succinctly and brilliantly unpack it IN ONE TIDY PARAGRAPH – it’s genius. Tom & Lorenzo, once again, I salute you for your unflagging, tireless awesome. You know when to bring down the full force of the disapproving critical eye, and you also know (equally as adeptly) when some gorgeous Matt Smith has a fabulous personal style. I may use this post to teach critical reading. Seriously.

      • http://profiles.google.com/trashilove { edi } ilovetrash

        ibid. yep.

    • Anonymous

      I liked the first several shots, but then it got a bit too horror movie.  Granted, I love horror movies, but this makeup takes it into SciFi Channel Bad Horror Movie territory.

      But I was loving it to a point…I see a silent film star (can’t peg which she looks like), Madonna, Sharon Stone, Debbie Harry, Marlene Dietrich…then they kind of lose me.

    • Anonymous

      You guys nailed it.  There’s nothing else to say.

    • Anonymous

      On the whole, I’d rather hit the Spiegel catalog, which features women looking fabulous at all ages

    • Anonymous

      So Amber Valletta is going to look like Anthony Hopkins in 50 or so years? Cool!

      • Anonymous

        Whoops, should have read the other comments first…

    • Anonymous

      I was curious about W’s intention in this editorial, so I enlarged the text and read it:  “What would it be like to be 100 years old and what would you wear?  Anne Valetta takes a decade by decade trip through a century’s worth of ensembles.”  So the concept was to show fashion over the past century, beginning with a 20’s style flapper and moving to present day–and age the model a decade in each photo.  Nevertheless, I agree that there is a cruel subtext to this editorial about women and aging.  

    • Anonymous

      I can’t even really begin to describe my revulsion to this.  Not because the woman is aging, but the *narrative* is just… this feels like it should have been shot twenty years ago or more, it’s so bad from a feminist viewpoint.

    • Max Wirestone

      Maybe it’s because I don’t read these sorts of magazines, but the editorials you pan for being weird are the only ones I ever find interesting.  

    • http://twitter.com/thedailymax Maria Alcantara

      This kind of reminds me of a ANTM challenge?

    • spooki C

      My brain stopped functioning after I read the words “velvet tuxedo”. DONOTWANT

    • Margot Brose

      Sexy men in suits should never be the stuff of nightmares… and yet they are here. Ick.

    • Christine Marie

      Darlings, I just moved to New York and do you want to know what my first thought was?
      I know you don’t, but I’m telling you anyway. It was “I wish Tom and Lorenzo were my real friends instead of my imaginary gay uncles so I could go to lunch with them.”

    • http://twitter.com/vintagegoddess just julie

      The first thought I had was Highlander. He lives forever while the women he loves age and die.
      Which probably means I have been watching too much of Highlander on Netflix.

    • BuffaloBarbara

      What the…?


      er…

      No, I don’t have anything to add to “what the…?”

    • http://twitter.com/JudysNotebook Judy

      I liked it. Told a story. Showed wrinkles. Big deal. Does everything have to be pretty perfect? I’m sick of Ageism.

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        Did you only read every 4th word we wrote, dear?

    • Anonymous

      I thought it was Madonna.

      • http://profiles.google.com/trashilove { edi } ilovetrash

        so did i.
        in fact, i wrote the comment above before i read yrs else i wouldve just noted “ibid”.

    • kjthorp

      Thank you for your commentary boys! 
      Once again spot on– what woman who could afford to purchase those clothes would do so now?
      Nobody wants to be seen in that velvet tuxedo and have someone say “I saw that outfit in the editorial with the really old ladies.”

    • Anonymous

      The Galliano makes me think:  “Come into my parlor,” said the Spider to the Fly.

    • Anonymous

      I’m offended. The woman comes off as desperate. Age is shown as ugly. The woman seems to be a victim of aging. The whole thing is weird.

    • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

      A foul mockery of every lovely woman of years out there. SHAME on them!!!  I realize that youth and beauty are a paired set that they sell every day, and that we frankly comment on every day.  But to viciously attack the aging of women while the men around them stay beautiful and young as a vile and tasteless display.

    • http://profiles.google.com/trashilove { edi } ilovetrash

      i swear to you on seeing even the intro picture, i sincerely, sincerely thought this was an article in tribute to madonna & her various recent boyfriends.

    • Anonymous

      I thought the top pic was Deb. I had to do a double take. As for the rest…some perspectives are interesting. I still cannot believe the immaturity in the relationship between make-up artist and the lighting designer..or do we just blame the editor for letting this be cheap like a Halloween ad for  a costume shop? They really could have spent their money elsewhere. This does nothing for anyone, Rather immediately.

    • https://profiles.google.com/104791269167429064986 Judy S

       I wanted to put in one more word. What is being shown is decades: teens, twenties, thirties, etc. And presumably mid-to-late teens, twenties, etc. So the final pictures are not of sixty or seventy year old women, but of a vision of this particular woman in her eighties, nineties, and at, say, 105. The comparison of the last photo to Gary Oldman as Dracula is apt: she is a vampire, as old as it is possible to imagine a vigorous person being, but one who does not have the ability to present an illusion of youth. She remains erect, fierce, defiant, and dominant over the men, if trapped by their ability to look at her. The photos to compare with la belle Carmen, then, would be the Ferragamo and the Ford, the latter of which certainly presents the old woman as non-fabulous by comparison, though in her own way just as fierce. But Carmen, in that photo, looks to me about 50, comparable to the Dietrichesque photo.
      The grotesque element has to do with the concept of someone who looks really old being allowed to be photographed. If the woman looked like Carmen in all the pictures, they would still have the disturbing enclosed-but-dominant woman subtext, but they would not be grotesque.
      The editorial obviously has touched a lot of people deeply, including our brilliant blogging hosts. I think it is digging at something about fashion and fashion models and ideals of beauty–the sense that ugliness is both immoral and fashionable. We are all supposed to strive, whatever our genetics, to look as close to the Orefice ideal as possible as we age–to live down or botox out or as a last resort photoshop away the ugliness of age. At the same time, images of domination–unwearable shoes, clothes that bare perfectly desirable and out-of-your-price-range (whether you want them as a hetero male or as a female) breasts and legs, and frankly misogynistic or dominatrix-inspired clothing is what we see in the fashion magazines.
      Someone mentioned apropos the recent in/out post on Anne Hathaway the “uncanny valley” effect of her dress, i.e. that it gave her proportions that belong to a robot who is too humanoid. Perhaps what is going on in these photos is a deliberate sense of an uncanny valley–that the beautiful woman, who is supposed to be perfect and iconic, is looking way too human here.
       

      • Shawn Hill

        I agree 1000%, Judy S. This is not some aberrant mistake, and it’s not even meant as an insult to women. Amber is an actress, as a matter of fact (or she is refashioning herself into one, as many models have done), and she was clearly hired for this editorial in order to perform this woman at all these stages/ages. The room is her room, her house, her mansion. The boys are her toys. And I love the allusions to Marlene, Madonna, Anne Bancroft, Deneuve, etc. There’s a lot of Polanski grotesquerie in this this spread, something Klein must be aware of. It’s meant to disturb, but not necessarily to be evil. There’s more to fashion than beauty, isn’t there?

      • Shawn Hill

        I agree 1000%, Judy S. This is not some aberrant mistake, and it’s not even meant as an insult to women. Amber is an actress, as a matter of fact (or she is refashioning herself into one, as many models have done), and she was clearly hired for this editorial in order to perform this woman at all these stages/ages. The room is her room, her house, her mansion. The boys are her toys. And I love the allusions to Marlene, Madonna, Anne Bancroft, Deneuve, etc. There’s a lot of Polanski grotesquerie in this this spread, something Klein must be aware of. It’s meant to disturb, but not necessarily to be evil. There’s more to fashion than beauty, isn’t there?

    • Anonymous

      I thought it was rather ridiculous and precious and that the people who put it together need to get out and stand in a bracing wind for a while to get some good sense back.  It also reminds me of what Tim Gunn said about being in the monkey house too long – no perspective.  But also what you said about women aging is so true.  It’s as though getting older is seen as a perverse choice rather than the natural and inevitable result of living.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OSYAJATXUH3QX7ZDDF52GXG4PU Janie R

      I do not like this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Catherine-Rhodes/602850414 Catherine Rhodes

      Does anything think this photo editorial is actually supposed to have “meaning”  — or is the whole purpose merely shock value?

    • Anonymous

      I think I see the concept they had in mind but it jumped the rails and went horribly, horribly wrong.  That is just all kinds of wrong.

    • Anonymous

      I just don’t think they work as photos. Static and sort of cliche. The one with the red tuxedo is a little interesting but…nah.

    • Anonymous

      I just don’t think they work as photos. Static and sort of cliche. The one with the red tuxedo is a little interesting but…nah.

    • Chris Boutee

      It reminds me of those old Alan Parsons Project album covers with the beautiful women, who were horrific-looking upon closer inspection. But not nearly as artfully done. May the editors at W age so gracefully.

    • narita_rayna

       whoever dreamed this mess up needs psychological counselling and a kick in the ass.

    • narita_rayna

       whoever dreamed this mess up needs psychological counselling and a kick in the ass.

    • Anonymous

      Aside from laughing inadvertently at the ridiculousness of it all (I work with many in the extreme elder category and … it’s just ludicrous), I am in hysterics over the bad aging make-up. Wow. This is one time when more Photoshop was called for. This is like something Christopher Guest would come up with for a mockumentary about the fashion industry. Can’t you just see Catherine O’Hara in this editorial? 

    • Nanda

      oh after reading a lot of comments I definetely understood that aging is disgusting for everybody, none want age, but sorry guys we will, and it ‘ll be not necessery as you’d like to!