Well, well, well, plus ça change. Lancôme have appointed serene beauty Isabella Rossellini as their latest muse. Quelle ironie! writes Vicci Bentley. Those of us old enough to cast their minds back twenty or so years ago will remember a time when she and Lancôme such blockbusters as perfume Trésor and anti-ageing cream Bienfait du Matin were indivisible until quelle horreur! The brand famously dumped her after 14 years just six days after her 40th birthday for being too old. ‘They sent me so many flowers on my 40th birthday, it was a morgue,’ she divulged much later in Vogue. ‘I knew I was dead. They said, be grateful Isabella. You’re lucky you lasted so long in the business.’ As her senior by a couple of years and a beauty editor on a national glossy, I can’t tell you how depressing it felt that a near contemporary was deemed too antique to represent the beauty business. What hope was there for the rest of us?
How the tables are turning. In beautynomics terms, we wrinklies are getting hotter by the day – research by website Escentual.com has found that the 55-70 age group is on track to become the biggest beauty spenders. So at 63, Rossellini’s renaissance is not, perhaps, entirely unpredictable. Give them their due, l’Oréal who own Lancôme had the foresight embrace the concept of the superannuated muse, with Jane Fonda, Helen Mirren and now Julianne Moore fronting their mature product ranges. ‘Isabella embodies the idea of an accomplished beauty that is synonymous with well-being. She also maintains a very positive, serene attitude to age which she experiences as liberating and life-affirming,’ gushes Françoise Lehmann, General Manager of Lancôme. ‘I am overwhelmed with emotion to come back to Lancôme,’ La Belle Isabella responds in the press release. No hard feelings, then? Me neither. C’est la vie, n’est ce pas? One teensy thing still bugs me, though. The image released for their ‘iconic’ muse is currently a winsome illustration. When her spokesmodeldom is in full swing, will we be seeing her as she really is? Go on there, Lancôme. Courage!