Demand for older models grows
Models 35 and older are in demand as boomers want to see someone they relate to. So familiar faces are back in front of the camera again.
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By Monica Corcoran, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Until recently, a fashion model and a carton of skim milk had a lot in common -- not enough fat and a short shelf life. The average model's career typically expired at the age of 25. And, really, did anyone cry over such gorgeous spoiled milk?
But a funny thing happened on the way to the model retirement home. Laugh lines became commodities.
"The market for older models has exploded," says Ginni Conquest, co-director of the sophisticated women's division at Wilhelmina Models in New York. (Models who are 25 and older are often referred to as "classic" or "sophisticated.") "It's our fastest-growing area, and it's a first for the industry."
Companies didn't suddenly become smitten with stretch marks. The trend is driven by the $2-trillion spending power of baby boomers -- born between 1946 and 1964 -- who make up 26% of the population. After all, what middle-aged woman wants to buy moisturizer from a model who's too young to order a martini?
Or a cashmere cardigan from a coed? In September, J.Crew will introduce an online section within its Web catalog that features 58-year-old Los Angeles model Pia Gronning, left. The sundresses will be the same, but the styling will be more age-appropriate and sophisticated.