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Right now, I don’t think I could write about anything except Cher in the designer Marc Jacobs’ autumn/winter advertising campaign. It has registered in a way that few fashion events do, outside of the insular industry bubble. There’s something of a Cher moment generally happening across fashion. There has been for a while. This time last year, Jacobs’ dedicated his final show as creative director of Louis Vuitton, in part, to Cher, and every model sported a towering reincarnation of her infamous 1986 Academy Awards headgear. The cross between a toilet-brush head and the Ziegfeld Follies? That’s the one.

Despite that, Cher seems like an odd choice for Marc Jacobs: on the one hand because she’s still perceived as unfashionable – despite the above evidence to the contrary; on the other because she’s, well, old. And despite the spate of mature women currently appearing in advertising campaigns – Joni Mitchell for Saint Laurent, Joan Didion for Celine – Cher’s committed the cardinal fashion sin – honesty. She openly had plastic surgery. Quite a lot of it. She wears short skirts. She refuses to age gracefully. She’s unapologetic. Nevertheless, there’s something endearing about Cher – as opposed to, say, Madonna, another older woman who many feel (me included) should put it away and act her age. Cher is a survivor, but isn't superhuman, and doesn't pretend to be (unlike Madge).

From Jacobs’ perspective, she’s also a rare living – and photogenic – look at his winter-collection muse Diana Vreeland. Vreeland discovered the then-Cherilyn Sarkisian at a party for Jackie Kennedy in 1967 and kicked off her modelling career with Richard Avedon. Before you curl your lip, she was on the cover of Vogue five times in the Seventies. So she was pretty successful.

And for anyone who doubts Cher’s fashion credentials, take a look back at, say, the red carpet of this year’s Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute gala. Jennifer Lopez exposed seven-eighths of her buttocks in a sheer Atelier Versace gown; Beyonce sported a dress that amounted to a cluster of boiled sweets over a pair of tights; and Kim Kardashian wore the first creation by designer Peter Dundas in his new role at Roberto Cavalli. It was, they retrospectively claimed, an homage to Cher’s outfit at the first-ever Met gala in 1974, but it was mostly composed of Kardashian’s flesh. Maybe that’s Cher’s lasting fashion influence? Making the emperor’s new clothes le dernier cri? That’s perverse enough to give Jacobs a kick, for sure.



Aine said…
I was so pleased to see Cher on this cover and then disappointed when I heard it will be Willow Smith actually leading the campaign. I'm utterly delighted to have older women in advertising, I've grown tired of being sidelined and I'm only in my early 30s! I think the fashion industry has spent so long featuring just young people that it makes such a refreshing change to see older women included, not only included but made to look utterly glorious! I actually purchased the Advanced Style DVD! I've decided I prefer Style over Fashion...maybe I really am getting older??! Either way WOOOOOOOOOOO Cher!
Aine said…
I was utterly delighted to see Cher fronting the Marc Jacobs campaign, then I was just as disappointed when I realised that Willow Smith would actually be fronting the Campaign, the Cher thing was a one off maybe I'm not sure.

Either way I'm always delighted when older women feature in the fashion industry. Just because we age does not mean we lose our style. In fact I've actually learnt that often the older we get the more stylish we become as we forget about being fashionable/trendy all the time. Too often older women are sidelined. I actually bought the Advanced Style DVD, which is actually really good and so positive and just utterly wonderful. I'm only in my early 30s but it gave me the confidence to find my own style.

Either way Wooooooo Cher!! Although I do agree with Madge, I think she tries too hard to adopt the latest everything and then manages to pull nothing off at all!