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ninamounah amsterdam fashion week older models
MarcellePhotography Nikola Lamburov, styling Ferdi Sibbel, hair Yann Turchi, make-up Cecile Paravina, nails Frédérique Olthuis

Older faces at Ninamounah’s show discuss age and share their beauty secrets


TextDominic CadoganPhotographyNikola Lamburov

The Amsterdam-based brand just presented its latest show on a diverse range of models

The beauty industry has come a long way with regards to its attitudes towards age. While previously brands like Dior has made missteps, hiring 25-year-old Cara Delevingne to front its anti-ageing campaign, more recently the likes of Gucci cast a group of older models for its Memoire d’un odeur fragrance campaign. In fashion, things are even better, with a slew of older faces like Joan Didion, Patti Smith, and Joni Mitchell fronting campaigns for Céline and Saint Laurent respectively. 

Over in Amsterdam, upcoming Dutch fashion label Ninamounah just presented its latest collection that featured a diverse cast of older and younger models. Entitled Metamorphosis, the collection featured delicate distressed knits paired with leather coats, oversized square-toed shoes, and cocoon-like tulle. For beauty, make-up artist Cecile Paravina created delicate eyelashes and wingtip looks that looked like dragonfly and butterfly wings. 

Backstage at the show, photographer Nikola Lamburov spoke to some of the older faces about their routines, ageism in the beauty industry, and their secret to living a healthy life. Here’s what they had to say. 

KATHLEEN

What does ‘metamorphosis’ mean to you? 

For me, metamorphosis means a change. Mentally, but also in appearance/physically. Growth. Spiritual growth. You have to keep working on yourself. Every day. Physically and mentally you have to be in balance.

What does ‘beauty’ mean to you?

For me, beauty is not only about appearance, it’s what you feel and radiate from within. What I see as beauty, others may not see as beauty. 

When you feel most beautiful?

When I have had a good night’s sleep and I’m not wearing a lot of make-up; I’m just the way I am. And after a day in the sauna, I also feel reborn and beautiful.

What is your daily beauty regime? 

I still do very little. I take care to do a good facial cleansing every morning and evening. I keep it simple and pure. Shea butter, rose water, vitamin E oil are among other products that I use every day.

What kind of challenges have you found with your body as you’ve aged?

Not much. I have had two children and cannot complain about what I look like, to be honest. I would have to exercise a little more so that I get the six-pack back. I also have taken on more feminine forms after giving birth. But not extremely. 

How do you feel towards the beauty industry's treatment around older people?

I think the focus is too much on appearance. You may grow older in number/age, but it’s not good if you can see it. It must all remain tight, young and youthful. Especially with women. And that disappoints me. Ageing is beautiful. It is a blessing. We will all change in appearance. Every age has its beauty.

TANJA

What does ‘metamorphosis’ mean to you? 

A combination of blooming into life, getting to know oneself, rolling with the punches, developing one’s spiritual awareness and be kind and clear to everyone around you. Physically I would say: Own it and love yourself. 

What does ‘beauty’ mean to you?

Living your authentic life to the fullest (finding out what you love to do) being kind to people, nature, animals. All of this makes a person beautiful. Be, do, and wear whatever the fuck you want. To me, diversity and fusion is the most exciting thing in the world. Because it’s nature.

When do you feel most beautiful?

When I’m in my zone: creating my art, making or listening to music, feeling like my full self and kissing with my love.

What is your daily beauty regime? 

It’s very simple, I just clean my face before bed and when I wake up, under the shower with a face wash. I love moisturisers and I try out new ones all the time, hardly stick with any, although I have to say I have been loving Embryolisse for a while now. I do that with all my beauty products. Then I use sunscreen and something like a BB cream. I love a good full brow, so I use a tinted eyebrow gel and Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm for my cheeks and lips. Usually, I keep it pretty natural or put some mascara on.

What kind of challenges have you found with your body as you’ve aged?

I think around 35 I really started noticing my face gradually getting older. Which, at first I had to get used to, but then I started to embrace it and now I love being my age. I’m actually 44 tomorrow! Just very happy to be healthy and alive. And of course gravity is happening, I started doing pilates last year and that helps me a lot with my strength and energy. I’m proud of my body after having had two babies who are the loves of my life. 

How do you feel towards the beauty industry’s treatment around older people?

I’m glad to see that society is (slowly) catching up and realising that especially women over 35 should be represented everywhere. It’s been like a witch hunt how especially women are made to be scared to get older and buy lots of beauty products to slow it down. The focus should be on taking good care of yourself, instead of pushing the fear that old is bad. Happy to represent the 40+ people, I also take pride in having grown up in the 90s with all the great music, epic movies, the start of the Internet and all that. 

MARCELLE

What does ‘metamorphosis’ mean to you? 

Evolution, not revolution.

What does 'beauty' mean to you?

People who both physically and mentally fit, and who seem to view the world with compassion, I regard as beautiful.

When you feel most beautiful?

I never think of myself in those terms, nor of the opposite. I would feel fit, or sleepy, or happy, or grumpy. The way my looks resonate in other people is not in my perception, but in theirs.

What is your daily beauty regime? 

I have none, except for the obvious washing, clipping, cleaning and cutting.

What kind of challenges have you found with your body as you've aged?

I really miss my clear sight, I used to have razor-sharp sight afar and now I need glasses but it is not the same experience.

How do you feel towards the beauty industry’s treatment around older people?

I have never spent a thought on that, I think we have some other more challenging problems as humanity. I do wonder about the term older people' though, what does it suggest, from which age onwards are you considered old.

MARIELLE

What does ‘metamorphosis’ mean to you? (spiritually and physically)

Quite simply, it means change. Change is inherent to fashion. It’s also the foundation, the reality, of being human. For instance, I’ve made many personal changes throughout my life. It’s an ongoing process. And you better be open for that. To think otherwise, is just... boring.

What does ‘beauty’ mean to you?

Beauty bypasses the head, cuts straight to the nervous system. For instance, seeing a Francis Bacon or a Caravaggio. Looking out over the Aegean Sea. Sublimity. I scout beautiful young women for my agency. They need to have that very special thing. And, great bone structure! 

When you feel most beautiful? 

I feel most beautiful when I’m happy and having fun. Beautiful clothes help. Then again, being naked can be fun too ;-)

What is your daily beauty regime? Has it changed it over time? 

I keep it very simple. Clean, moisturise done. Lately, I’ve been using a little EmerginC vitamin C serum, and I’m quite happy with it. For make-up, I wear a little mascara and my favourite concealer from Vincent Longo

What kind of challenges have you found with your body as you’ve aged? 

It’s crazy to think about how much I was able to eat until a few years ago. Now, it’s all about the greens, low carbs and portion control. Yoga and Pilates have become my best friends, when before a night of dancing was enough to keep me in shape.

How do you feel towards the beauty industry’s treatment around mature people? 

Sincere mature women are their main customers, I think they should use more mature models in their advertising.

MARTIEN

What does ‘metamorphosis’ mean to you? 

A way to explore myself, to discover and try out new aspects, to open up what I kept hidden. 

What does ‘beauty’ mean to you?

A never-ending irresistible temptation.

When you feel most beautiful? 

When I don’t feel insecure. 

What is your daily beauty regime?

To meditate, first thing in the morning.

MAÏA

What does ‘metamorphosis’ mean to you? 

I think of metamorphosis as a magical mutation – a movement toward an elevated state of mind or a form that conjures stagnation.

What does ‘beauty’ mean to you?

A complex equilibrium of strength, softness, depth and magnetism.

When you feel most beautiful?

When I feel anchored. When I am doing meaningful work and I am useful to my community and I guess when I am close to the Mediterranean Sea with my family and friends.

What is your daily beauty regime? Have you changed it over time?

I use shea butter every day on my body and hair. I have been doing it since a child and will always do so. I mix it with amber, musk or patchouli as my father taught me.

What kind of challenges have you found with your body as you’ve aged?

It is not really about challenges, I will say it has more to do about  ‘care’. I had to learn how to take more care of myself and my body as I realise, with time, how precious and fragile a body, and life, is.

How do you feel towards the beauty industry’s treatment around mature people?

Well, to start, I have to say that even this concept of ‘mature’ is slightly disturbing to me. I do not really feel at ease with this contemporary concept that segments life and existence into two separated and opposite times.

The obsession of the beauty and fashion industry toward extreme youth is quite morbid and have been systematically used against women bodies –  constructing a natural movement; ageing, an internal enemy. I do think that the imaginations and narrations of ageing and life evolutions should not be left to those commercial agendas.

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