When Harvey Nichols announced their advert in the 100th Birthday Edition of Vogue would feature a 100 year-old model, I had to find out more about the woman sat so elegantly in pink who is set to become the first centenarian model in British Vogue.
As the typical age of a fashion model is between 16-25, Harvey Nichols went against the grain of chosing any current famous faces to front their camapign, and instead chose the fabulous, and beautifully modest Bo for her timeless style that has seen her live through some of our most colourful decades in fashion history.
But whilst watching the video of Bo discussing her love for dressing up nicely and “keeping up the standards” as she puts it, I couldn’t help but feel saddened that our society has become such a scruffy bunch.
When I walk around my local town I can’t help but wish I could sometimes pull down a top or two to cover up the burgeoning muffin tops spilling over ill-fitting jeans, get out a baby wipe and take off a layer of the plaster that’s caked on faces, or even shine a shoe. Perhaps call it age, but my grandma was well-known to judge a person by the state of their shoes, and unfortunately the moral code has been ingrained in me.
I don’t see this as a sign of class, like so many people are quick to say, but a sign of self dignity.
Bo has lived through war and in those ‘make-do-and-mend’ times, you simply didn’t let yourself go.
Even in times where the world was crumbling at our feet, fashion and style became a way of controlling our lives and enabling us to take back part of what had been blown away.
It’s well documented in the pages of fashion history at the strength of style, and even if you couldn’t afford Dior, Chanel or Balenciaga, you would craft your own designs from home with the fabric from your mothers curtains or an old bed sheet.
One of my most treasured books, The History of Dior, illustrates perfectly the sign of post-war fashion. And despite being in a world devastated by war and loss, the women are flawless and well groomed no matter their background.
Back in the early days the pages of Vogue were only afforded by the wealthy, and so the only inspiration any ordinary folk could gain would be from what they’d see on the streets or in the newspapers.
And yet here we are in 2016 with enough fashion magazines to wipe out a rain forest, Pinterest, Instagram and the constant media frenzy around celebrities and royals, and most of us still can’t seem to manage the effort of looking half decent in public.
The world is now an open book for us to adapt our personal style and interpret fashion in anyway we see fit, and the best part of all, being completely and utterly free. You don’t need to have the bank balance of a Kardashian to look good.
Whilst the biggest difference between Bo’s sense of style and our own, may be that she’s lived through decades of lustrous era’s that we all wish we could have been a part of, one thing that truly stands out to me is the care that she takes with her clothing.
Nice things don’t have to be designer or expensive, yet they are cared for and well looked after.
As we’ve been brought up in the era of fast fashion clothes are easily discarded and replaced, with a ‘care not attitude’ about what this really means. Things are quickly thrown away rather than well maintained and it seems we’ve lost a sense of gratitude towards well crafted clothes that can last for years, preferring to flush our money down the toilet constantly purchasing crap.
I think we can all learn a thing or two about dressing well from Bo.
She doesn’t dress for anyone else accept to please herself, and she always makes the effort to look nice.
Take this how you wish, but dressing nicely doesn’t mean you have to wear designer clothes or follow fashion trends, it’s taking a little bit of pride in your appearance that makes all difference.
If a centenarian such as Bo can make the effort than surely the rest of us can?
Otherwise the pages of the fashion history we leave behind are going to look rather untidy.