Ageism just got the boot from Harvey Nichols as the UK retailer launched a campaign celebrating British Vogue’s 100th birthday starring 100-year-old model Bo Gilbert.
British Vogue’s 100th Anniversary issue—its largest ever—goes on sale May 5 and the Harvey Nichols ad challenges rampant ageism in the fashion industry.
“Vogue’s 100th anniversary seemed like such an important moment, so we wanted to celebrate it by doing something symbolic,” said Ben Tollett, executive creative director at Harvey Nichols’ ad agency adam&eveDDB, in The Guardian. “We’re really proud to be involved in a project which proves the older generation can be fearlessly stylish too. Ageism is so last century.”
Photographed by fashion photographer Phil Poynter, Gilbert sports bespoke Valentino glasses, a Dries Van Noten coat, a Victoria Beckham top, a Lanvin necklace and pants by The Row.
“We devised a campaign that reflected the playful attitude Harvey Nichols is famous for, celebrating both the 100th Anniversary of British Vogue and also style in its entirety,” said Shadi Halliwell, creative and marketing director at Harvey Nichols. “It was a privilege to work with Bo, she is a fabulous, independent lady who epitomizes timeless style.”
A documentary featuring Gilbert’s journey to Vogue points out “the average age of a model is between 16 and 25,” before cutting to a shot of Bo on her sofa sipping a cup of tea with a picture of the Queen on her mantelpiece.”
Gilbert lives on her own in a housing facility in Birmingham and was discovered by a specialist casting agent in her first modeling role.
Born in 1916 as World War I raged, Gilbert has always loved fashion. “I remember the first time I saw a lady in a trouser suit, I’d never seen anything like that before it really caught my eye,” she told The Telegraph. “I dress for myself, I never dress up for boys,” she added, lamenting, “now you never see anyone in a hat.”
A fan of Audrey Hepburn’s style—”She showed herself off beautifully”—Gilbert believes it’s important to “keep standards up.” As for her secret to aging gracefully, “I do things a lot of people wouldn’t do at my age.”
Being the first 100-year-old model with beauty and poise in Vogue is surely top of the list.