Timeless beauty – why grace and style never goes out of fashion…………………..

IRIS APFEL at 90 – now this gal oozes style…….

I adore fashion in all of its guises, its wit and its wisdom. From the sheer theatrical spectacle of a Louis Vuitton show or the easy elegance of Maxmara on the catwalk, I love it all. Who would ever have known when Alexander McQueen started out with those deeply controversial shows that one day his label would be dressing the future Queen of England in sheer elegance. Once you get a little older, you know what your good points and your bad points are, you know what suits you, and you know what makes you feel and look your best. For me, nothing beats classic simplicity. I drink in every show each catwalk season, and I do experiment from time to time, but for me I feel at home in something tailored, and sharp, and glamorous. I don’t think for a tailored dress you can beat a Victoria Beckham number. For shoes, I think Manolo beats Louboutin hands down, and anything from Hermes is fine by me.

Of course, there is no such thing as ageless beauty, but some do it well and others, well, don’t. Michelle Pfeiffer still looks spectacular, whereas Racquel Welch looks like a parody of herself. At some point, even Goldie Hawn is going to look too long in the tooth for those hippie-dippy guises. Catherine Zeta-Jones is a true movie star, Charlize Theron is perfection on legs, and I couldn’t mention age and beauty without mentioning Joan Rivers. I love Joan Rivers and am an avid Joan Ranger. Joan is no natural beauty,  and she drapes herself in fur and feathers and baubles, but Joan is a one-off. Her self-depreciating humour means she can get away with anything.

Let’s face it. Some ageless beauties have had some help but to be fair to them, if they have they do it well and no doubt they work hard in every area of their beauty routines to keep up the golden image. However, I find the fact that women looking fabulous in their 40’s and beyond to be an inspiration. The fact that they can hold a magazine cover and open a film means times they are a changing.

So here are my TOP TEN favourite timeless beauties……………………………….

Up first, the woman I would like to look like more than any other on the planet – Monica Belluci. Yes, she has is a movie star but she has always stuck to her Italian roots and refused to get skinny or butcher her face beyond belief. Now well into her 40’s, she is still the face of her favourite label, Dolce and Gabanna, looks after her young children, and still finds time to make films and be an ultimate sex goddess. She literally has the lot. Lucky, lucky girl.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s there was no-one who lit up the silver screen more than Charlotte Rampling. This woman couldn’t look tarty if you draped her in pleather and fishnets. Cool-as-anything on screen, and in real life, she has always remained an enigma and I love her for it. Even her name oozes class. They don’t make actresses like her anymore, and I still enjoy every film she has been in. There is no-one more alluring than Charlotte in a raincoat.

Catherine Deneuve is everything that is wonderful about being French. Chic, uncompromising, unconventional, she has stayed close to home for most of her career and has never given in to the pressures of Hollywood. She knows how to live the good life, she hasn’t tried to stay a young version of herself, she has just grown older with grace and panache. Still a muse to YSL, she has the kind of sex appeal that would blow any starlet out of the water. An enduring beauty.

Julia Robertsis still the biggest female name in Hollywood and she has kept at the top of her game without falling for fame’s cliches. Of course, she still has that chiselled beauty and that jaw dropping smile, but it is from mother nature. Away from the limelight, Julia is just an ordinary mum who looks after her kids. Put her on screen, though, and she still lights it up, and when she takes to the red carpet she is still a huge draw. A pretty woman, indeed, but so much more besides.

Now Kate Winslet is hardly about to get her free bus pass, but she seems to have been famous forever, and just gets better as she gets older. Kate is still very much an English rose, and she still has those unbelievable curves, but at the moment she has never looked sleeker or more comfortable in front of the camera. Not forgetting, of couse, that she is an Oscar winner and quite simply the best British actress of her generation. The face of Lancome, Kate is quite simply a timless beauty.

Sophia Loren is who I want to be when I grow up! The ageless and super-stylish Italian actress has always been a class act. She knew how to rock those curves on screen in her heyday and she was the darky, dusky beauty who wasn’t just there for her looks. A seriously good actress, and without a doubt truly deserving of her mantle as Hollywood royalty. She has decided to take the going older gracefully look, and her appearances on the red carpet, usually in Giorgio Armani, still command attention. Seriously beautiful, totally chic, a classic beauty.

Joanna Lumley is quite simply spectactular, and her beauty and grace are only just part of the story. A brilliant actress, a tireless campaigner, a strong woman with a sense of purpose, Joanna gets more beautiful with every passing year. She always looks simply chic whether in her own life, or playing the incorrigible Patsy from Ab Fab. She has a a truly British beauty, but she is no shy English rose – she is made of true grit. A trailblazing beauty.

 When it comes to winning the genetic lottery, not many of us get quite so lucky as Yasmin Le Bon. She has been at the top of the modelling industry for thirty years now, and no matter what styles have been and gone since, she has always kept working, because she has classic good looks that any camera adores. Now a devoted mum and rock star wife, she has always remained down-to-earth and you can’t imagine her having a supermodel strop. Her style is a mixture of classic and bohemian, and she has never been a fashion victim. We’ll still be seeing Yasmin modelling for thirty more years – no doubt!

Nobody does exotic beauty better than Jennifer Lopez, and she certainly makes bold rather than classic choices when it comes to fashion, but she is such a superstar in every sense, and she looks better now than she did 20 years ago.  Always a favourite on the red carpet, she is the ultimate modern marketing mogul, and that has made her one of the most bankable women in the world. She brought curves back into fashion after so many years of stick thin models and celebrities, and her bone structure means she will stick be rocking it at 70!

The other Jen, Jennifer Ansiton, is the ultimate approachable beauty, and she makes no bones about working hard to look so great, which I admire her for. She has never really conformed – she wears what she feels comfortable in, rather than the latest trend, and everything about her is subtly studied. She might just be wearing a vest top and jeans, but you can tell she takes care in how she puts her look together. Women naturally warm to her and I can see her still gracing our screens for many decades. The ultimate American classic.

WHO IS YOUR ULTIMATE TIMELESS BEAUTY……………………

(By the way I chose mine from those who are still walking the planet if you wonder why Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly are absent!)

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