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Ageless fashion – and stylish Brazil

Suri Cruise aged six, going on 60.

Suri Cruise aged six, going on 60.

Luxury lifestyle is ageless.   This means little girls should be acting as children. Little Suri Cruise has her own fashion blog, but obviously she does not write it herself.  Poor little kid, never had a childhood.

She was born April 18th, 2006 and has been old ever since.  The gal likes girls who are girls, whatever age they are.

Cupcakes in the Gold lounge, British Airways, Heathrow Terminal Five

Real people of any age like things associated with real childhood.  Look at the success of cupcakes.  Even the marvellous Gold lounge in British Airways’ Terminal Five at Heathrow has lovely delectable cupcakes, as well as lfesize Mooi horse sculptures that stand guard at the entrance to the lounge.  And, here is a luxury travel tip, the lounge’s complimentary restaurant, catered by Restaurant Associates, has the world’s best slow-slow cooked pork belly.

Try a plate of that, with plain green salad and a glass of Taittinger before the 11-hour flight to São Paulo and you will arrive fit as a fiddle.

Fashionista Iris Apfel, 91

Luxury fashion is any age. An article in the Financial Times last week (Mature Markets: Luxury brands are waking up to the power of the older woman – is it possible that these days 80 is the new 20?) mentions advancedstyle, a blog by Ari Seth Cohen, which has already led to a book of the same name and a movie is planned for next year.

Ari roams the streets of New York looking for the mature fashionista. The doyenne has to be Iris Barrel Apfel, a Russian-American born, wait for it, August 29th, 1921.  That is right, she is 91.  What a character.

With her husband Carl Apfel she ran Old World Weavers and she worked on White House restoration for nine Presidents, Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan and Clinton (Mrs Obama probably thinks she has enough style of her own, led by itsy-bitsy little cardigans).

Carmen Dell’Orefice, 81

Iris Apfel cleverly hides any lines around her face by wearing aviator glasses that are so large they should be called A380-glasses.  She is one of the stars of advancedstyle.  Ari Seth Cohen, who ‘cannot get enough of her fashion sense’, also covers professional models, including Carmen Dell’Orefice, an American-born Hungarian-Italian silver-haired stripling at only 81.

Today she models for, among others, the Belgian luxury handbag company Delvaux.  She actually retired in 1958 after marrying her second husband Richard Heimann.  He promptly left her. She returned to modelling when married, for the third time, to architect Richard Kaplan, and her complicated love life included being very friendly with Bernard Madoff’s best friend, Norman Levy. She gave Bernie all her savings and we know what happened, hence her ongoing work commitments.

Plain colours by Brazilian designer Walter Rodrigues, 2012

It does seem that these women wear clothes that are ageless, and casual rather than over-formal.   They sensibly like plain colours.   Actually as the author of Dress Sense – sorry, followers of girlahead, the book has long since been out of print – I would add a third ingredient to the recipe for stylish dressing, namely go for plain colours.

The two that I did publish were, firstly, divide the cost of an item by the number of times you wear it to get its real value.  This means a wedding dress worn once is practically zero value.  The Eileen Fisher black trousers that a girlfriend swears by for daytime business and evening socials represent amazing value.

The second rule is that if you do not know what to wear, choose something that is different from everyone else and you will feel happy.

In Brazil, fashion of course includes beach wear

In Brazil, fashion of course includes beach wear

Brazilian women dress magnificently, knowing they can be happy whatever they are wearing.  Yesterday, at lunch in Brown Sugar in the Jardins area of Sao Paulo, one woman wore a scarf swirled around her head as a tight turban, another had shoe heels higher than Victoria Beckham’s and a Gucci-type nightshirt.

No-one was actually in a bikini but had we been in Rio de Janeiro, that would have been on the menu, too – look over the balcony of your suite at the Copacabana Palace and see for yourself.  Yes, the gal is now back in Brazil, the vibrant country where even the current (free entry) Impressionist exhibition at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil CCBB stays open 24 hours.