‘The last time I walked on a catwalk was for RuPaul’s Drag Race, and it was FABULOUS!’ recalls Andie MacDowell – actress, model, adopted national treasure after her Four Weddings role, and generally modern woman – of her appearance as a guest judge on the US reality TV show last year. She also happens to be 60 years old.
Andie is runway reminiscing because on Sunday 30 September she’ll be walking a particularly major one: L’Oréal Paris will be erecting a floating catwalk on the river Seine, with boating traffic stopped while a beauty and fashion show takes place.
A sponsor of Paris Fashion Week since 2016, this is the brand trying to up the show ante – last year it closed the Champs-Elysées for a similar event that saw Jane Fonda as well as others in its spokeswoman stable stepping out. This year, Andie will be joined by actress Eva Longoria, 43, plus a host of supermodels including the Dutch Doutzen Kroes, 33, Ethiopian Liya Kebede, 40, Italian Bianca Balti, 34, and Brazilian Luma Grothe, 24. ‘To me, it seems healthy and normal to include all ages but L’Oréal Paris has always been at the forefront for inclusive choices and they continue to pave the way,’ says Andie of the age mix of her spokes-colleagues. On a personal front, she says, ‘As far as ageing goes, the people who inspire me are those who look natural and healthy. I prefer a few wrinkles to looking pulled. I want my skin to be moist, healthy and have natural smile lines.’ Note: not wrinkles.
The theme of this year’s L’Oréal spectacle will be ‘La Parisienne’, and it will showcase 12 fashion designers (including Isabel Marant, who will be using her upcoming L’Oréal Paris make-up collaboration), 70 beauty looks created by the brand’s official make-up and hair artists, Val Garland and Stéphane Lancien, and 9,500 branded products. Not a bad marketing tool. And if you’re not lucky enough to be among the 400 VIP guests invited to watch it from a special show boat, or one of the 200,000 expected to gather round the nearby quays, the spectacle will be broadcast live in 30 countries and, no doubt, many a social-media channel. Will Andie’s be one of them?
‘I do my best to have fun with social media but I’m not terribly savvy with it,’ she says. ‘Some of social media is really negative, so I post positive messages to lighten up some of that darkness. I mostly use it to connect with friends and see what my kids are up to.’
Those kids (a son and two daughters) include Sarah Margaret Qualley, actress, dancer, model and the face of Kenzo World fragrance in the now cult ad of the bored dinner guest who cuts loose. ‘My daughters and I are very supportive of one another,’ says Andie, sounding like a very proud mother. ‘We all love to eat healthy food, work out, meditate and get a good night’s sleep. We are into self-care and positive thinking. They are very secure in being true to their own identity and convictions, comfortable with who they are – and that is the root of self-confidence.’
So what of Paris – what does the city mean to her? ‘I moved there when I was 20 and had a magical experience of living my dream of being a fashion model. I love how people are embracing mature women as models, so this will be full circle for me, returning to Paris and modelling.’
And, presumably, if it rains on the day, she won’t even notice.
Feature by Edwina Ings-Chambers