Fashion has never been a stranger to paradoxes, but one of the most glaring ones throughout the years is how the industry has always turned its nose up at its core consumer. Rather than cater to every size and give every kind of customer a sense of how their clothes will fit them, designers more often than not pander to a select group. That group is often young, white, sample size, and represented by models who can barely vote.
The industry's obsession with youth has been such an issue that only three years ago did The Council of Fashion Designers of America decide to release model health guidelines that would encourage the use of 16 and over models. One year after that, New York City finally passed a law to improve the treatment of underage models.
That progress might have come at a glacial pace, but it has set a positive tone in the industry. Ever since Lanvin proudly cast a handful of "real people" in its fall 2012 campaign, including an 82-year-old former dancer, designers have begun embracing an older customer—without presenting them as such.
There's Madonna, who was appointed the face of Versace (again) last December. Instead of suiting Madge up like a business woman, like she did in the brand's 2005 campaign, Donatella Versace dressed the pop icon to radiate power in a laser-cut leather shift and a lightning bolt-like matching crop top and skirt set. While Madonna's campaign is one step forward and was celebrated by the fashion community, pop culture still has a long way to go in shedding ageism, as the rest of the world balked at the thought of a 56-year-old singer sharing a kiss with a rapper 28 years her junior.
Then, there's literary hero Joan Didion, who came as close to Kim Kardashian in breaking the internet when her spring campaign for Céline surfaced. Her reaction to becoming a buzzed about topic on Twitter? "I don’t have any clue."
A couple days later, another 1970s West Coast legend was announced as a major campaign star: Joni Mitchell for Saint Laurent.
Now, Cher has proved that the trend wasn't just a flash in the pan for the spring 2015 collections. For fall, Marc Jacobs tapped the Queen of Quirk and A+ Twitter user—case in point—to star in his campaign. Even though the designer and the pop icon's friendship has been out in the open for a while—Cher was Marc Jacobs' date to this year's Met Gala, which he reacted to by blurting out, "Very rarely am I this intimidated"—her casting is still a major coup. Especially when you consider who starred in MJ's campaign last season: Kendall Jenner, Anja Rubik, Karlie Kloss, Joan Smalls, and Adriana Lima.
If anyone can pull off Jacobs' haunting fall collection, though, it's Cher, who has become notorious for her bold fashion risks (one of which inspired Kim Kardashian's own Met gown this year) throughout her career. Just look at her perfect facial expression in the ad—it says "You're surprised?" Of course, the answer is: Not anymore.