By  on September 12, 2006

Young'uns, be warned. You're not the only game in town.

Last week, 48-year-old Sharon Stone replaced 20-year-olds Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen as the face of Badgley Mischka; Madonna, 48, is touting tracksuits for H&M; Mia Farrow, 61, stars in Gap ads; Jane Fonda, 69, and Diane Keaton, 60, are spokeswomen for L'Oréal, and the officially designated "supermodels," no longer spring chickens, are starring in more ads this fall than one cares to count.

Even actress Blythe Danner is stealing some of the spotlight from daughter Gwyneth Paltrow.

The recent obsession with sophisticated women in their 40s and beyond now makes some wonder if fashion's perennial obsession with youth is starting to lose steam, and recent developments are even leading some to believe that there is a backlash against the young. While adolescence continues to be the de rigueur state on the fashion runways this week, the idea that one can never be too young or too rich in fashion is starting to look a little, well, old, at least where age is concerned.

"It was only a matter of time before people woke up and realized how dumb it was to make young people so culturally central," said Simon Doonan, creative director of Barneys New York. "Young people are not as interesting as people who are older, and guess who is buying the clothes? The high-fashion designers needed to face the reality who is really coughing up for the clothes, and the median age is older."

Michael Kors indicated that the fashion ideal often doesn't jibe with real women. "Fashion people in general — designers, retailers, editors, everyone —have that fantasy that the customer is 25, remarkably rich, a size 2 and 5 foot 10 inches, but the simple truth is, financially, you will have more customers who are over 40," the designer said. "Today, it's important to realize there is an adult customer who is still youthful. That's the change, and it's finding that balance of knowing that especially affluent women who are 40-plus are hip and plugged in, but don't want to look like kids. Sixty is the new 40, and a 40-year-old today is not what a 40-year-old woman looked like 10 years ago."

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