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90 is the new 30! How being a nonagenarian became stylish

Dame Joan Collins (PA) (PA Wire)
Dame Joan Collins (PA) (PA Wire)

You’ve heard that the Nineties are back in fashion, right? Brands such as Prada and Gucci have drawn heavily from the decade during Milan Fashion Week — but have you heard that being in your 90s has never been so chic?

Take it from Joan Collins, who recently agreed to be interviewed by The Guardian for the first time (she is reportedly not a fan of the paper), and what ensued was nothing short of rambunctious. Collins ranks her five husbands, denounces some of the questions asked by writer Simon Hattenstone, calling them “boring”, and declines wine only on the basis that she is “a bit hungover” from a birthday party the night before, all while maintaining her trademark charm.

Cantankerous and curmudgeonly descriptors begone, Collins is as spritely as ever.

Joan Collins turned 90 this year (PA Archive)
Joan Collins turned 90 this year (PA Archive)

She is also incensed at the idea she would stop working anytime soon, and shares how much she hated being recently introduced at an event as “the ex-actress Joan Collins”. She is a regular at ES Magazine fashion week parties, and her arrival always causes the biggest stir.

Other nonagenarians are also proving it’s the time to thrive. National treasure David Attenborough is currently working on the third iteration of his narrated nature series Planet Earth, despite being well into his 97th year on this planet and possibly more deserving of retirement than anyone else in the UK.

Retirement? Not for David Attenborough, he is working on a third series of Planet Earth (BBC/Humble Bee Films/Talkback Thames)
Retirement? Not for David Attenborough, he is working on a third series of Planet Earth (BBC/Humble Bee Films/Talkback Thames)

Michael Caine, who turned 90 this March, recently described himself as “sort of retired”, but he’s still set to star in the upcoming drama The Great Escaper, out next month, as well as Now You See Me 3, currently in pre-production. Last week, Caine told The Daily Mail his secret to living a long life was: “Younger wives, no snacking and wear[ing] trainers at all times. And you have to be careful not to fall down.”

One month Caine’s senior is Yoko Ono, who has her own solo exhibition in the Tate Modern set for reveal next February. It’s full steam ahead for the platinum foxes.

It’s in line with other generations, too. This year has seen a host of women in their 50s acting (and looking) like they’re still in their 30s, with 55-year-old Kylie Minogue taking the world by storm one ‘padam’ at a time with her new album Tension, and 54-year-old Jennifer Lopez prompting furious searches for gym subscriptions every time she shows off her amazing physique. The same goes for the original supermodels — Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford — who are still gracing the biggest magazine covers and closing fashion week shows. Brad Pitt, who turns 60 this year, turned heads at Wimbledon this summer with his eternal youth.

So it would follow that the big 9-0 is only getting better, too.

It’s full steam ahead for the likes of Yoko Ono (PA Archive)
It’s full steam ahead for the likes of Yoko Ono (PA Archive)

Even “grandma” fashion is having a moment, with “coastal grandmother style” and “nonna chic” capturing the attention of TikTok teens this past summer. Just ask Anne Hathaway, Kendall Jenner or Kourtney Kardashian, who are all desperate to adapt a little extra Age UK into their styles and decor. White lace doilies and nightgowns typically reserved for the elderly have become all the rage, and a thick knit or striped jumper slung around the shoulders has come back in style. Your grandma’s specialist shoes for her ailing feet? Also all the rage, with Crocs, Birkenstocks and comfy New Balance trainers having taken over the footwear game in the past year.

More candles on the cake do not equal irrelevance — quite the opposite — and it appears that the UK’s attempt to reconcile its ageing population has finally reached the point of pride and celebration.