It's fascinating to consider just how many fashion designers are aged over 70. Six prestigious designers who've passed the milestone, all male bar two, work regularly in the studio and play a key role in their brands. It is reassuring somehow, as there are too many designers who have died at a young age: Alexander McQueen aged 40, Gianni Versace, aged 50, Christian Dior aged 54.
Giorgio Armani tops the chart, turning 80 next July. Just behind him is Karl Lagerfeld, who will turn 78 on September 10. Until earlier this year, Lagerfeld's age remained a mystery, with the designer previously saying that he was unsure of the decade in which he was born. Inviting people to play a guessing game, he held a 70th birthday bash in 2008 and a party celebrating his 79th four years later. It was only after his mother passed away that he discovered his official birth date was 1935. "My mother had changed the date. It was easier to make a 3 or an 8," Karl said. "I learned after my mother died, and I do not know why she did it."
"‘Everybody looks like clones and the only people you notice are my age" – Vivienne Westwood
Ralph Lauren will turn 74 on October 14. Still fully involved in his multi-line label, Mr Lauren divides his time between his homes in Jamaica, the Hamptons and Manhattan. Tunisian-born couturier Azzedine Alaïa turned 73 two months ago, and next month, the newly renovated Galliera fashion museum in Paris will host the first Alaïa retrospective. He's also working on his debut fragrance.
Dame Vivienne Westwood will turn 72 next April and once said she believes it is women in their 70s are the most interesting. "‘Everybody looks like clones and the only people you notice are my age. I don’t notice anybody unless they look great, and every now and again they do, and they are usually 70." Tokyo-born Rei Kawakubo will turn 71 on October 11.
Some of our favourite quotes on age...
"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young." — Henry Ford
"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." — Mark Twain
"I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am." — Francis Bacon
Text by Laura Bradley