7 years ago by

“Will you come with me? I’m just going to make a quick stop at Pat Cleveland’s book launch and then we can go to dinner. It will only take a few minutes!”

We arrived without knowing exactly what to expect. In the main hall of the Jane Hotel, a few dancers were getting ready (kind of unusual for a book signing, I’ll take note for my next book) and we were a little bit early, so we went to look for a glass of champagne.

Fifteen minutes later, the room started to fill up. The dancers got started and they were joined by a few drag queens. As the audience formed, we started picking out familiar faces around us. Glittery outfits. Big throaty laughs. My friend and I started to feel really young—really young and really boring in our jeans and t-shirts.

Because half an hour later, we realized exactly where we were. At Studio 54, but thirty years later. We went for another glass of champagne.

Suddenly, it was a party. A real party. Everyone was talking to everyone. Everyone was dancing. We noticed someone who looked exactly like Blondie. Fabulous. I had to talk to her.

“Don’t tell me I look like Blondie, I’m warning you!!!”

“But you do! You look like Blondie, and it’s a compliment! How do you do your makeup like that, it’s so pretty!”

“I love makeup, it’s my thing. Plus, I knew I was going to come to this party tonight so yesterday I went and got like three liters of Botox injections. What do you think, does it look okay? Is it good? Now I’m thinking about getting my neck done. What do you think?”

Then Pat Cleveland arrived—gorgeous. Impressive. Really. Around her, there were men, women, a lot of extremely beautiful women, probably model friends—I wouldn’t be able to guess their age, probably around 60 or 70. I watched them chatting, having fun, getting their photos taken, goofing around.

When a woman with gray hair, deep wrinkles, and no makeup, beautiful in a Jane Birkin way, passed by me, I asked: “Did you used to go to Studio 54 too?” She nodded with a big smile and we started chatting with her and Blondie.

It was interesting. They were probably from the same generation, but one had decided to let herself age, while the other didn’t. They were both beautiful, each in their own way.

In what was now a dense crowd, and – oh, there were also women who had obviously been the victims of the first wave of plastic surgery. Lifts, strange stares, suspicious-looking smiles. In a dark corner, Amanda Lepore, the human doll, was posing for whoever wanted a picture.

We stayed a lot longer than fifteen minutes, and once the party started to reach its peak, we decided to leave. The crowd was getting suffocating, and besides, we were past the age of having a great time at the club, it was time for our quiet little dinner of organic kale and avocado, haha.

But we were thrilled about our journey through space and time. Ecstatic. The party was amazing, full of good vibes, laughter, sharing, and fun. New York really must have been an incredible place in the 80s.

At one point, my Jane Birkin was talking about her children and she said to me: “My kids love my friends, and they couldn’t care less about age. It’s so strange how everything changed: when we were young, we wanted nothing to do with old people!!!”

As for me, I wanted everything to do with these “old people” – I hope the two of them will become my friends.

That’s exactly what I learned from this party. Getting older is no longer what it once was. Today, getting older is whatever you want it to be.

Physically, we can choose to stay fresh, to take care of ourselves, to look whatever age we like. We can dress how we like. We have the right to be sexy, show our legs, drink a little too much, travel, have lovers, have fun.

We can also choose to age naturally—let our hair go gray, let our wrinkles settle in. It’s a choice, and contrary to what some people want us to believe, it’s not about giving up. I’m sure it’s nice to let your age show a little bit, to have a different kind of charm, a new take on life, a new role.

Today, and maybe for the first time, thanks to these amazing baby boomers who have been redefining things since the 70s and just can’t stop, we can look at life as a series of new beginnings, and thumb our noses at the obsession with youth, an obsession that’s so uninteresting.

Because an ideal party is an all-ages party, where everyone brings their own point of view, their own experience, and most importantly—their own joie de vivre.

– – –

And me? At one point, Tatjana Patitz, absolute top model of the 90s, walked by and gave me a big smile. So beautiful, super natural. Her look was very simple with flat, natural leather sandals—Tatjana just never seems to stop being chill. I hope to have the same vibe one day.

What about you? Are there people you find inspiring for their art of aging well?


Add yours
  • Très bel article, comme quoi l’important c’est d’être bien avec soi-même :)

    Amélie – Charles Ray and Coco

  • eh, I don’t know. I am surrounded by a lot of people exemplifying how I DO NOT want to be when I get older (bitter, gossipy, holding onto the past) So that is a good lesson in a different way. I am happy to hear these women are out there though!

  • Oui ! Françoise Hardy !

  • Bonjour Garance,
    j’ai bien aimé ce billet qui décrit super bien une soirée qui est comme un flash d’une époque dorée…
    Mais juste en passant: Tatjana Patitz n’est pas une mémé! Elle n’a même pas une décennie de plus que toi…
    Là, on a l’impression que c’est d’Iris Apfel dont il est question :)
    A part ce détail, cette party fait vraiment envie !!!

  • Oh yes, I am inspired by people who allow themselves to age naturally yet stay in shape both physically and mentally — and hope that I fall into that category myself. As long as one has the good luck to remain healthy, aging can be a time to really open up to the world and a time to set oneself free. I am not longer so worried about what other people may think of me. And last week I received the best, cutest compliment ever from my son who I haven’t seen since Christmas. He noticed my hair whitening at the temples, touched it, laughed and then said “It looks nice!”

  • Maybe it’s unintentional, but why is “aging naturally” contrasted with staying fresh, taking care of yourself, being sexy, having lovers, and having fun? It doesn’t seem like these things are mutually exclusive to me! ;)

  • Oonagh June, 16 2016, 1:56

    Hear hear!

  • matilda June, 19 2016, 10:47

    That is exactly what I thought!

  • Do you ever sell prints of your drawings? If so I would absolutely buy that beautiful drawing at the top of this post. It’s lovely and that dress color is spot on!

  • Hi Chandra! We do in fact sell prints and posters of Garance Doré’s illustrations. Please find them here xx

  • La fraîcheur elle vient de l’intérieur (on dirait un titre de Johnny ça ! :-)), si tu sais poser un regard neuf sur les choses, garder une âme de gosse par moment alors la jeunesse sera éternelle. La vie n’était pas plus cool à l’époque du studio 54, c’est juste que la jeunesse était pleine de candeur (candeur que la société qui s’est durcie à bien mise à mal depuis). Le monde de la musique est une référence à mon sens, tant elle brasse tous les milieux sociaux et tous les âges sans discrimination. D’ailleurs, le fait d’être jeune n’est pas une qualité en soi, on s’en fout à vrai dire (je dis surement ça parce que je vieillis moi même ! ah ah).

  • Stefania June, 15 2016, 10:41 / Reply

    For me Martha Stewart and Diane Von Furstenberg are icons on how to age well and look fabulous also Bianca Jagger always chic. Some may say my choices aren’t ageing so well and I always take offence, like I know them personally, I always am perplexed I find them stunningly beautiful and maybe I believe it’s because they don’t know anything about them …. Understand the person and you have an insight into their life. Super bright, clever, tough yet feminine. Also the late Virna Lisi was spectacular when she was young but to me even more beautiful as a mature woman.

  • J’adore, ça devait être une sacrée expérience :)
    J’espère au passage vieillir du mieux possible, sans en faire trop mais avec panache !

    Bisous Garance!

    Mido. @

  • Woah G, this is so timely! I turn 40 today, and it’s something I’m slightly surprised to find myself pretty damn ok with. Sure I get a bit emotional when I reminisce about my wonderful wild beautiful youth, but I am very happy with where I am today, comfortable with myself, adore my witty, acomplished, interesting friends, who are of ALL ages, and I actaully feel like I’m still in my youth, regardless of what the numbers are. Your words are really inspiring and wise as always, they reinforce what I know to be true. So amen to that sister, party on! xxxxx

  • Sunny Side June, 15 2016, 11:06 / Reply

    Oh oui, encore ce matin je parlais avec une vieille dame à l’énergie indomptable, drôle et dont la voix énergique me surprend toujours, une jolie et incroyable vieille dame que je n’ai jamais vue négligée, qui mange une fois par jour, fine et élégante, qui continue d’aller “seule” chez le coiffeur, qui joue sur son piano trois à quatre par jour et qui donne un petit concert chez elle dimanche. Un rayon de soleil qui me booste à chaque fois que je la vois. En la regardant jouer un jour je me suis dit que j’avais peut-être encore longtemps à vivre. Elle a 102 ans demain !!! L’amour de la musique est sa vitamine absolue !

  • I am in an odd spot, having had my first (and only) child when I was 43. So I was old enough to be the mother of most of the other moms. We have a nice group of friends who are just a few years older, but that means that by now they are retired. And we have a kid in middle school. It means we straddle these worlds of old and young.
    The most important thing is to stay young in mind and soul. To stay interested, to learn, to grow at any age. My mother did it until she died recently at the age of 90–I’d call and she’d say she was just surfing the Internet and stumbled on so many interesting things.
    You don’t have to be 90 to be old. You can be 35 or 40 and decide to limit yourself, to stop being interested, to cling to habits and the familiar.

  • Alexandra June, 17 2016, 2:53

    GREAT point. I think “age” is so much about one’s mentality and how people choose to live/view life. I’m young, so I’m no expert, but I think being or feeling “old” happens when you decide you know best, it’s your way or no way, there is nothing left to learn…etc. Keeping an open mind that is receptive to new ideas, points of view, and experiences means you’ll never be or feel “old.” I think youthfulness and vitality really comes from having a good relationship with life and with others. And it doesn’t hurt to eat right and exercise, too! :)

  • J’adore, quelle chance d’avoir pu vivre le studio 54 à l’époque ou son revival temporaire aujourd’hui ! Quelle liberté et joie de vivre !
    Par contre je n’ai pas bien compris, mais c’est peut être lié à la culture locale, ce que tu veux dire par “Je suis sûre que c’est bien, de se mettre légèrement sur la touche, d’être dans une séduction différente” Pour moi se mettre sur la touche c’est se mettre hors circuit. D’après son comportement décrit, il ne semble pas qu’elle se mettre hors circuit de séduction, elle reste juste elle-même, ou sinon je n’ai pas compris ce que c’est de rester en circuit de séduction.
    Il existe aujourd’hui de plus en plus de femmes super séduisantes à cheveux gris ou blancs, ou super empowered. Même Sophie Fontanel s’est laissé les cheveux au naturel, Isabel Marant, et dans les génération précédentes, Linda Rodin est une icône super belle, etc. Je ne sais pas si celles que je cite ont cédé à l’appel du botox ou autres lissages de la peau, j’ai juste constaté les cheveux. Parce que c’est vraiment la question que je me pose en ce moment avec mes 20 cheveux blancs cachés dans la masse des bouclettes : couleur ou pas couleur ? Cheveux comme DVF ou comme Isabel ?

  • Murielle June, 15 2016, 7:18

    Bonjour Sev, ayant passer par les deux stades, cheveux poivre et sel colorés ( voir tous les mois 1 cm de racines différentes ne fait pas plus jeune, et quelle corvée la colo à la longue) puis maintenant laissé mes cheveux poivre et sel naturels depuis 5 ans, je dis vive le naturel.
    De plus les cheveux naturels sont en meilleure santé.

  • Karen Donnelly June, 15 2016, 11:43 / Reply

    I was re-watching the documentary ‘About Face’ just the other night, and Pat Cleveland is one of the models featured. An amazing woman with such a free and beautiful spirit! I was a teenager in the ’70’s and the models and Studio 54 definitely resonates with me, the music, clothes and makeup, Vogue magazine! It must have been quite the party …!
    Thank you for your observations on age, youth and simply staying true to oneself – at 54 and starting over again on this journey of life, your words are encouraging and uplifting.

  • Wow! That party sounds like an amazing experience. I constantly look towards the older women in my life for inspiration on aging gracefully. They all seem to have one thing in common, beautiful skin. It radiates from the inside with health and tranquility. My home town is an international destination for wind sports and there are loads of weather beaten sailors walking the streets. There is a noticeable difference between those that have cared for their skin and those that have not. I’m trying hard to embrace me wrinkles as well as gravity with all the grace and tranquility I can muster. I also try hard to care for the the largest organ in my body. Thank you for all of your personal stories, I truly enjoy them : )

  • catalina June, 15 2016, 12:04 / Reply

    yes, I’m inspired by Jane B, Mery Strip, Françoise Hardy, I love her white hair!

  • Tough topic, the aging well.
    My aunts do it with grace. And I do know some other ladies, too.
    Can I name Susan Sarandon? (except that one dress lately)

  • Les femmes inspirantes : F. Hardy, C. Rampling, Ines de la Fressange et puis ma bonne amie depuis toujours qui va feter 83 ans dans quelques mois. Elle est grande, mince, drole, vive et est un grand amour dans ma vie.

  • Benedicte June, 15 2016, 4:23 / Reply

    Fanny Ardant, Anouk Aimée, Lauren Hutton, Kim Gordon, Pat Cleveland are fabulous

  • Alas, corporate America is not yet so tolerant of older and women in the same sentence. But I like the vibe. Maybe it’s coming? Until then: hello Botox!

  • Anastasia June, 15 2016, 8:19 / Reply

    Thank you for this, especially today as it’s my 45th birthday – I’m suddenly half as old as the Queen and was having a mini-identity crisis this morning! But after reading this I’ve remembered how good it feels to be comfortable in my skin and know myself better, and live in a time when 45, 50, 60 are just numbers and you can be whatever you want at any age! Perfect timing Garance, merci! :)

  • Melanie June, 15 2016, 9:25 / Reply

    Love it!! thanks for the inspiration/confirmation/affirmation. Sometimes I need reminding that life is to be fully lived with vitality, joy and enthusiam.

  • patricia June, 15 2016, 10:04 / Reply

    love this post and your take on getting older, it’s so refreshing, inspiring and empowering… I hate to see so many women give up taking care of themselves when they grow older after 40, they dress sloppy, gain weight, not taking on new interests in life… what does femininity have to do with age ? age and life experience should enhance femininity and charm, it’s an attitude and mindset women should have when getting older. I really like the fact that the French appreciate women with certain age for what they have to offer. Becoming a woman is a life long journey that never stops !!!

  • luciana June, 16 2016, 12:53 / Reply

    I hope to become my own example of embracing “old age”… I am 48 years old and just finished my MA in Art History and immediately previous to it my undergraduate studies in Italian and Art History…graduating with kids my children’s age…I cannot post a picture from today’s proceedings, but I know looked incredible (think Anne Bancroft in The Graduate). I’ve never been happier with aging!

  • Oonagh June, 16 2016, 2:00 / Reply

    Betty Catroux.

  • Samantha June, 16 2016, 3:17 / Reply

    Tilda Swinton – so inspiring & original.

  • Hello, moi je me demande si je peux laisser mes cheveux gris. J’ai 50 ans. Mon coiffeur est farouchement contre…
    Puisque vous vendez des livres cette semaine sur le blog peut-être en connaissez-vous un qui aborde ce délicat problème. Sinon j’attendrai celui de Sophie Fontanel qui a bien documenté la question. En tout cas je me sens beaucoup plus jeune qu’à 40 ans par exemple ou je me comparais encore aux trentenaires. Maintenant je me suis réappropriée ma séduction si on peut dire ça comme ça. C’est à dire autour de ma singularité et fuck le jeunisme. Il nous faut inventer notre âge. Nous sommes des quinquas prototypes !

  • Ai-Ch'ng June, 16 2016, 6:55 / Reply

    This article was so moving! It felt like we were there with you at the Party of Eternal Timelessness. Thank you for bringing us along.

    My grandmother is my inspiration. I love her so much!

    At ninety five years old (two weeks ago), she has taken amazing care of herself – always dressed beautifully, with even more graceful manners and generosity of spirit. When I am with her, I don’t feel of any age (but sometime, maybe little sloppy! And she always makes me feel – in a very good way – like I must pull myself together just a little) – she just makes each of us feel incredible in her company and still-piercing gaze.

    She’s no more than 145cm (below my shoulder, bless!), but gosh, what a woman. The past five years, she has allowed her real grey hair to grow through; and, with her nearly unlined face, clear, dark eyes, red lipstick, classic trousers and skirts with neat little blouses, she has remains untouched by cosmetic surgery – completely centred and nurtured by her deep faith in God, praying regularly for all of us. I swear, thinking always of others joy, eating everything in moderation, sleeping early and rising daily for her yoga, are all pathways to the fountain of truth. She retains the face and figure of a woman in her late sixties, and the physical grace (no walking stick for her still, she walks daily and still sits cross-legged Indian style on her bed!) and mental acuity and raucous laughter of a woman at her best in her fifties. She is AMAZING.

  • olympe June, 16 2016, 1:17 / Reply

    mes icônes inspirantes : Judy Dench, bien plus belle à 70 ans qu’à 30, Patti Smith pour son absence de concessions et son évidente intégrité à être elle même, Lauren Hutton pour sa silhouette nerveuse, Françoise Fabian qui n’a jamais cessé d’être belle sans avoir l’air de le devoir à un chirurgien, Louise Bourgeois et Pina Bausch pour le souffle créateur qui ne s’éteint jamais…
    et même sentiment que Flavia au sujet de Tatjana Patitz que l’on s’étonne de découvrir quinqua…

  • Tatjana Patitz! I thought she was magnetic in the 90s. I wonder what she is up to today. Such an inspiring woman when I was a teenager!

  • je trouve ça beau et sain d’accepter l’âge et tout ce qui va avec…
    Il me vient une phrase, je ne sais plus quelle actrice a dit ça mais alors qu’elle s’apprêtait à se faire maquiller, cette femme aurait dit de ne pas cacher ses rides “j’ai mis toute une vie à les obtenir”.
    Je trouve ça magnifique… parce que les rides sont avant tout des marques du temps, d’expériences, de richesses de vie, de vie oui justement, décider de cacher ça avec du botox, c’est un peu dommage… le botox colmate pour un temps et donne “l’impression de”, mais la vie et le temps auront le dernier mot. Toutefois, ça va très bien à certaines femmes je trouve.
    Je trouve Jane Fonda magnifique à presque 80 ans ! Je ne sais pas si elles ont fait quelques “retouches” mais j’aime bien Françoise Hardy, Jane Birkin, Meryl Streep… toutefois leur beauté, je l’attribue beaucoup à leur personnalité et ce qu’elle dégage…

  • Jane with the noisy terrier June, 17 2016, 11:32 / Reply

    I just turned 58 last month, moved from NYC to an island off the coast of South Carolina, met the man of my dreams 6 months ago, and have adopted to a less stressful, more healthy outdoors lifestyle. I love it. I don’t have the figure I had in my 20’s or 30’s but I’m doing yoga on the beach at least three days a week, pilates on two days and water aerobics the other two. I’ve cut my hair, tossed more than half of my makeup and clothing wardrobes, and feel younger and more vital than ever before. I’ve declined Botox and fillers so far (never say never) and I kind of like my well-earned tiny lines that fan out from my eyes when I smile — it took a lot of good laughs and wonderful memories to create those! I’ve eschewed the rules about what to wear at what age and instead, wear what makes me feel good about myself. So long story short, I’m having a blast and have never felt or looked so refreshed and happy! Life gets better if you let it!

  • Love the whole article, but I skidded to a complete halt when you mention the neck Botox!!! Why is it that all theses injection experts are not flooding the market with the Nefertiti Lift??? Why is it not available in every single city around the world? It is wondrous to say the least! Please spread the news to all!!! So happy with my results!

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