An upcoming documentary on Channel 4 is set to feature a Bath woman who’s let her older age give her more lifetime opportunities.
Award-winning director Sue Bourne explores the art of ageing in the company of six extraordinary women.
With an average age of eighty, Bridget, Daphne, Jean, Gillian, Sue and Lady Trumpington have something inspirational in common – to keep going, to look fabulous and to have fun.
Without botox or plastic surgery, these women are redefining old age – in style. Not one of them feels like an ‘old person’ and, in their own ways, are defying expectations of the ageing process.
Fabulous Fashionistas features uplifting, often poignant personal stories and insights into how staying young and dressing with style is about more than following the latest trends, but about an attitude to life itself.
Bridget, aged 75, looks a million dollars, but her clothes and accessories come from charity shops and she survives on just £100 a week. Her most expensive recent purchase was a pair of Doc Marten boots for £4. Bridget has been a campaigner all her life and does not intend to give up now – taking on the task of raising the profile of older women. Bridget says: ‘Style, as one gets older, is more noticeable. How I look is to do with my identity and the fun of it. It’s nothing to do with looking younger.’
Daphne is Britain’s oldest model at 85 but was only re-discovered when she was 70 years old. Recently widowed, she was invited to do a fashion shoot was soon signed up by a leading model agency. Since, she has travelled the world and become the iconic face of older models. Daphne says: ‘I’m now 85 and I think [about] when I get old… but so far I haven’t got old’.
Seventy-five-year-old Jean feels her style is more street than smart. Remarkably, after her husband passed away, she got a job at Gap and became their oldest employee at 70. Now, she works in a boutique in Bath and loves it. Despite having a new knee, Jean also runs three times a week and says: ‘I’m leading a different life – it’s more adventurous.’
The formidable Lady Trumpington, 91, is the oldest woman in the House of Lords and has a wicked sense of humour. She became an internet sensation when she was caught on camera giving another peer the V sign for saying she was getting on in years. ‘The moment you start letting yourself go is the moment when you are old’, she says. Lady Trumpington’s guilty pleasure of browsing through clothing catalogues has almost turned into an addiction, with new clothes being delivered almost every other day. She has been going to the same hairdresser for thirty years and her worry is that he might retire before she does.
Gillian is 87 has worked full time since the 1940s when she started as a ballet dancer. A former dancer, Gillian still puts herself through a rigorous daily exercise regime and moves like a woman half her age. ‘You just mustn’t allow the ageing process in’, she says. She most famously choreographed Cats and Phantom of the Opera and due to her job, Gillian spends most of her life in leggings, but loves the opportunity to bring out her wardrobe – including mini-skirts.
The youngest of the Fashionistas is 73-year-old Sue. She is American but has lived in Britain for 30 years. Sue was the hugely successful‘Queen of Low Fat Cooking’, with a career writing cookery books and appearing on TV. Fifteen years ago, she gave it all up to become an ‘outsider’ artist. Now, Sue makes art, curates shows and even wears her art on her back – ‘released from the tyranny of fashion’ by her very individual and colourful style.
You’ll be able to watch Fabulous Fashionistas on Channel 4 on Tuesday 17th September at 10pm.