Eve Pollard, OBE, journalist and former editor of several publications, has recently launched her new autumn collection of clothing, catered towards the more glamorous mature woman.
Eve, who showcased her fashion label in Lancashire at Cedar Farm Studios, Mawdesley, talks to KARISHMA PATEL about the portrayal of older women in the media and the lack of suitable clothing on the high street
Eve Pollard Designs was created three years ago after Eve believed there was a gaping hole in the market for flattering clothes available to women of a certain age.
As she couldn’t find what she was looking for, she decided to take matters into her own hands and create dresses that were anything but dull while upholding an elegant outlook with a modern twist.
She says: “I created Eve Pollard Designs because there was very little out there that inspired me.
“I wanted clothes that had the capacity to make me feel good about the body beneath it, even if it is steadily moving south!”
Having started out in fashion journalism and being very familiar with the fashion industry, Eve believes it was easy to make her transition from journalism to fashion.
She says: “Clothes and fashion have long been a passion of mine. My first job was as fashion editor of Honey magazine and I went on to become woman’s editor of the Observer Magazine and the Sunday Mirror.
“I always knew what I wanted in terms of my own designs. I have very clear and strong ideas about fashion. Catering for an older demographic, I sought longer sleeves, hemlines that grazed the knees, tailored waistlines and gentle necklines.”
Although she is familiar with fashion, Eve admits she is by no means a professional seamstress and has a very good pattern cutter who has helped with the technical side of design.
Eve, who also played a part in launching Elle magazine in America, comments on the representation of older women in the glossies and whether they are taken into account within advertising for fashion.
She says: “High fashion magazines do not tend to feature older women. Once a year they might do a special for the fifty-plus market but we are not regarded as mainstream.
“Sometimes there might be fashion stories that flatter people of all ages, such as the classic-looking Crombie coats that everyone is wearing at the moment.”
With the advent of sitcoms such as Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives, more and more women want look attractive and be desired rather than wanting to hide themselves away.
Mature women are still counted as being as attractive as ever, with icons from the likes of Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez breaking stereotypes, it could be argued that these stars have directly contributed to inspiring women in their 40s and 50s to take care of themselves more.
Eve says: “I do believe that the presence of these more mature women on television and in films has helped put more of us on the map.
“We are no longer the invisible demographic. But there is still a long way to go.
“Women now work for longer than ever before and have increasingly busy and active lives throughout the decades.
“We don’t want, and often cannot afford, to slide into beige ‘cardiganism’ like earlier generations.”
In spite of all the positive media coverage of sexy and elegant women, many women are still afraid of being put into the ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ category. Shouldn’t women be free to dress and look as they please, without fearing judgmental looks from members of the public?
Eve says: “The phrase ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ is dated and you don’t hear it being aimed at men.
“Fashion is far more inclusive than it used to be when I was growing up. You get older women going into typically ‘young shops’ like New Look or Topshop as well as Marks and Spencer and Monsoon. “The reality is, if a woman knows what suits her then she should not feel restricted in where she shops.
“I am all for mixing things up a little – variety is fun.”
Eve Pollard Designs seem to have resonated with many like-minded women who want to feel attractive and sexy whatever their age may be. She has had fantastic responses to her collections via Daily Mail reader offers, QVC and Gray and Osbourne catalogues, which have inspired Eve to launch more collections.
She says: “I’ve had women say to me that my frocks have given them permission to feel feminine and desirable again, regardless of the fact they may be in their late fifties, sixties or beyond. Women still want to look glamorous and attractive to the opposite sex, whether they are silver-surfer dating or simply enjoying being at the heart of family and work networks. Long gone are the days when a woman was supposed to wear nothing but black and a string of pearls once she hit 35.
“Like me, these customers wanted sleeves that hide those upper bits of our arms that we no longer like and a hemline that was somewhere in the vicinity of our knees – not our thighs. In essence, all we wanted was glamour for grown-ups.”
Eve Pollard Designs has identified the lack of fashion for older women and Eve is pleased that other department stores are starting to do the same.
She says: “Recently, there has been an influx of new designs in department stores, the more the better, because it can feel very challenging ageing. You go to bed one night and then wake up the next morning to find your bust, chin or waist has moved south!
“It is really important that the fashion industry supports older women properly – not least because it makes good business sense. Above all, I am glad to see more sleeves, tailored styles and softer hemlines emerging into mainstream mature fashion, plus a wider choice of colours and cuts to suit every personality.”
For Eve Pollard Designs, visit: www.evepollarddesigns.co.uk