Women over-40 on Instagram, it’s ‘a thing’. First I get a mention in the Telegraph’s The grown-up Instagram style stars you need to know, then the Ageless Style issue of British Vogue (July 2016) runs a feature called Second Post, on creative women in their 40s and 50s (including the wonderful photographer Kristin Perers) and now 9 Steps to superstardom by a 54-year-old French Instagram Sensation. Sophie Fontanel is a French fashion journalist and author who loves to play with proportion and experiment. She’s my new Style Heroine. J’adore.
While we’re on the subject of Parisian Chic, I’ve been advising Emma Beddington author of We’ll Always Have Paris‘ on how to overcome her French Style Fail; we talk scarves, flat shoes and The Poitrine Question HERE. Looking at how Fontanel is letting the grey in, I think I’m guilty of a Hair Style Fail. Having just had my hair coloured, it’s now more blonde than gronde (grey-blonde) – I like it but I can’t help feeling I should’ve persevered. But, but, but… when I went grey for the Guardian my hair was bleached and I didn’t want to carry on down that road and the regrowth looked ropy. Aaargh…this transitioning malarkey isn’t easy.
Anyhow. Fontanel says selfies are a good thing because they make you accept yourself, ‘ I thought I was horrible in pictures, I thought I was un-photographable and ugly. I started to take pictures of myself, and I started to discover that actually I was not so ugly, and that I was able to look at myself for the first time in my life with gentleness.’
And I love her advice on dressing well, ‘If you want to be well dressed, you have to learn by watching old movies, by going to the museum, and by surfing on the Internet. You have to read good books, to read poetry. It’s when you put nice things into your soul that you understand how to dress well.’
I couldn’t agree more, getting out and about and expanding your brain is important – and this sentiment reminds me of what Iris Apfel said when I interviewed her for Style Forever, ‘I love museums and the arts, they’re very important to me. I always try to stay current and be interested in things, if not you just dry up. You must get out there and get involved.’
Read the full Sophie Fontanel feature HERE. Et voila: some wannabe French style picks: