My hot middle aged woman summer is over for this year, though who knows what surprises climate warming still throws our way. What we can count on is the sun slowly setting on this summer, which means chin-hair plucking shall take place rather in candlelight (suboptimal), but scorching, unseasonably hot days might allow for beachlyfe to continue well into December.
What felt like musty and frumpy (pleated plaid skirts, muted colours, red wine, Dark Academia) just three months ago has reappeared, repackaged and polished to appear shiny and new, to kick-start the new season, even though Autumn/Winter ready to wear -fashion almost never manages to completely surprise. À propos, this year the queens of true reinvention find themselves in the holistic wellness aisle.
For the Rihannas, Hailey Biebers, Miranda Kerrs, Jessica Albas and other celebrity kids of this world, launching makeup- and skincare lines makes sense: concealers and body glitter are easy sells. Then there’s the Kardashian clan, who also have an unspecified number of skincare and cosmetics lines to their name – all of it, of course, selling like hot cakes: According to an L.A.-based plastic surgeon to the stars, Mr Colby Smith, Kim Kardashian West is the “patient zero” for Instagram Face. (“Ultimately, the goal is always to look like Kim,” he said.) Kardashian West, who has inspired countless cosmetically altered doppelgängers, insists that she hasn’t had major plastic surgery; according to her, it’s all just Botox, fillers, and makeup. But she also hasn’t tried to hide how her appearance has changed. In 2015, she published a coffee-table book of selfies, called “Selfish,” which begins when she is beautiful the way a human is beautiful and ends when she’s beautiful in the manner of a computer animation.*
Then there’s the middle aged crowd with existing pedigrees and enough disposable income to take a measured, calculated dip into the over-saturated Goop-pool of holistic wellness just to see if there’s still space for another product line to float. Just in the past year Jennifer Aniston (hair products), Courtney Cox (house cleaning products) and Garance Doré (French pharmacy inspired skincare products) have entered the market.
(Full disclosure, I have not tried their products, which I’m sure are all excellent. I have nothing against products – I love me as much product as possible. It’s just sometimes reading their PR-interviews… what’s so wrong with just being the face of a brand? Isabella Rossellini has been a fabulous Lancôme-face for decades, and not once have I had to read a puff piece where she’s going out of her way trying to convince the world how she’s been “involved in every step of the production process” (Of course you have, darling.)
Enter Stella McCartney, who as a child used to swim in the lochs of Scottish Kintyre (admittedly a lovely spot) and, I don’t know, then hired French perfumer Francis Kurkdjian to recreate the smell of the moors and lochs and turned it into a “99% natural” holistic skincare line Stella, comprising of three products. Only three, because unlike me, she “doesn’t have the time or the desire to be that person who has 700,000 products in my bathroom” (WSJ 25/8/22). The products are gender neutral as is a must these days, and have been tested notably by McCartney’s teenage children and her father, Paul McCartney.
Stella-line’s main selling point, that the octogenarian McCartney is a convert, really spoke to me. See, I have, for some time already, felt physically and mentally like a 80-year old seen it all – male rockstar who just wants everybody to chill.
By the time you’re reading this, taking a 5-minute shower will cost €595, which is also the price of a McCartney’s oversize cotton shirt. Offering a Paul-approved cleanser at €60 to ever-impoverishing consumers is therefore a good strategy to stay relevant.
But. I have saved the very bestest for last. Not only is she the newly minted UK’s creative director for Diet Coke (obviously Diet Coke, for she did once say nothing tastes as good as skinny feels), but Kate Moss is also behind Cosmoss, self-care created for life’s modern journeys, drawing on her extraordinary experiences, launching next Thursday. I love this so much already, for if there’s one celebrity not known for her holistic wellness journey, it quite probably is Kate Moss. She was the embodiment of the Nineties’ excesses. Sure, we can all scrub up, as did the members of her Primrose Hill Set who spent most of the 90s inebriated, coked up or in rehab.
It says on the brand’s instagram that Moss has transformed gradually and privately, so I probably shouldn’t judge the circadian cycles-embracing Ritual of Dawn that holistically supports body, mind and soul just yet. I don’t know about Moss’ transformation, and also I have no idea what circadian cycles are. But as this post is about reinventions for the new season, I shall give her the benefit of the doubt. After all, even the Belgian Stromae sings how “il n’y a que Kate Moss qui est éternelle”.
So yes, crowded times in the Gwyneth-pool this autumn. Given that Paul McCartney is already a confessed skincare aficionado, I really do see only one person to fill the remaining gap in the holistic wellness market: Keith Richards. Whatever skincare products he should decide to launch in the name of rejuvenating the body and mind, drawing on his extraordinary experiences, I am willing to skip a shower or two to purchase.
*Exerpt from Jia Tolentino’s essay “The Age of Instagram Face” in The New Yorker, 12 December 2019.