Iman Schools Us On ‘The New Evening Wear’
Getting ready for an event with Iman is no casual affair. And why should it be? After nearly 40 years in the fashion business, the woman knows what she wants. As part of her ongoing “Ageless Chic column for Yahoo Style, Iman allowed us to observe as she got primed and primped for the glamorous amFAR gala in New York, which raised an impressive $2 million for the HIV/AIDS charity. Her choice of attire for the black-tie affair? A striped Balmain look from Spring 2015 runway replete with a matching jacket. It was this look, which she dubs “The New Evening Wear,” that inspired her latest contribution. Read on to find out her advice on how to look fabulous at any age
Yahoo Style: What prompted this edition of “Ageless Chic?”
Iman: I think I’m bringing a point of view of what women are desperately looking for. I’m gingerly approaching sixty in July. So I’ve been thinking about, ‘What am I going to wear now?’ A lot of the things I have I feel as though they are aging me
YS: What does the “new evening wear” mean to you?
Iman: I think the new evening is more of a streamlined look. Women tend to be afraid to stand out. Especially at this age, I think I have earned it, and we should stand out instead of blending in. And a lot of the time, women try to do something that’s very safe, whether it’s wearing the blacks, the whites, the creams, or the grays. I think that becomes very boring. I leave it to the young girls to look good in ball gowns and all that. I’m staying away from that.
Iman: I find that a lot of women as they also approach this age are afraid to wear something like I’m wearing tonight…and it’s not about that I used to be a model or whatever. I specifically chose this colorful look. There was one in black and white, but I felt it was much safer. I wanted to play with color and stripes since it has a definite point of view.
YS: What do you like about this look?
Iman: What I like is that nothing is showing. Look, it has long sleeves, long pants, there is no skin showing. And it looks elegant! It looks elongating. It’s slimming. And it looks regal in a way. I think that is what I’m trying to encourage women to experiment with. If something truly has a focus, it’s ageless, and you can wear it anytime. And like I said, if you’re a woman of a certain age, you’ve earned it. Dare to experiment!
Iman: Exactly! Only the girls who dare to experiment are the ones we remember. They may hit the mark or miss the mark, but you don’t forget it. That is what you want. You don’t want to be like, ‘Oh I don’t want the attention.’ Yes, yes you do. We all do. And I find that in aging, if you love fashion, you’ll always love fashion.
YS: So your approach to fashion has changed then?
Iman: I still love fashion, and now I have a focus, and I’m thinking for me. When I was younger, it was more for show, but now it’s like I own it.
YS: Who are the designers that are exciting you right now?
Iman: Sacai is definitely exciting to me. I like Balmain because it can have sex appeal without trying too hard…well, sometimes they try hard, but there are pieces that are really great. [laughs] Giambattista Valli , especially the Spring collection, I loved it. I’m dying to see Chris Benz and what he’ll be doing for Bill Blass. He emailed me and told me he wants me to come in.
YS: What do you look for when you’re shopping?
Iman: I think color is key. First of all, it uplifts our mood and gives us a way to get out of the rut. You can’t wear color and be like, ‘Oh, I’m going to be in the background.’ It forces you to come forward, and that’s what you want. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. It’s only fashion: nobody has ever died because of a bad review. But you won’t find what really works for you until you experiment.
YS: What is your advice for women who want to look good, but are nervous about changing it up too much?
Iman: Think about wearing an outrageous color, but make sure that it is a classic silhouette. And it has to fit your body. If you’re short and don’t like your legs, then don’t wear it. You’ll walk into the room and already not feel confident. You have to really find what works for you and go for it.
YS: What are the key pieces that women should look for if they trying to incorporate the “new evening wear” into their wardrobes?
Iman: Invest in a column dress. What happens with a column dress is that you can add a great belt that’s gold and ornate so you can totally change the look. Add a great necklace, even a black turban! All of that can be very affordable.
YS: What won’t you wear these days?
Iman: Neon. I lived it. It’s great for someone who wasn’t born yet in the ’80s.