Today's "Who What Wear" style newsletter quotes French fashion minx (and former French Vogue editor), Carine Roitfeld, about the suitability of snakeprint accessories.
"You know, I think as you get older, the snake is more chic than the leopard," Roitfeld told Jess Cartner-Morley in a 2009 after the journalist complimented Roitfeld's snakeskin boots.
At 57, Roitfeld is still one of the sexiest women in fashion. I love that she doesn't hide her age and dresses for maximum impact. Yes, she's disgustingly skinny and may be just as shallow and glib as the industry that she dominates, but she has a certain dirty foxiness that's charismatic.
But I'm not sure Roitfeld's maxim holds water.
Older women exude elan when dressed in any primal material such as fur or prints resembling the skin of animals. Think Mrs. Robinson seducing Benjamin in her own spotted coat in "The Graduate." Up until the start of the vintage style revival in 2000, only predatory, older women showed up on film or TV screens in such outfits. I won't even get into the stereotype of casting older women as the "bad" girl in traditional romantic narratives.
Why do older women look so good in fur? Perhaps it's due to their self-confidence and experience internalizing nostalgic fashion cycles; they know how to wear old styles because they were around when the style was first popularized. There's debate about how much of a wild print a woman of a certain age can truly handle. Some magazines advise older readers to proceed with caution when using the skin-print of the moment and just accessorize the look with a skin-print belt or scarf instead of adopting it from head-to-toe. Other fashion mavens advise the opposite, encouraging matrons to let their freak flag fly.
Who knows...yet this style suits the older crowd.
Taylor Momsen et al. may think they are being bad ass when they wear their vintage leopard print coats but lack that "yeah, I'm wearing fur, what of it?" attitude that Roitfeld and her politically incorrect contemporaries have down pat.