Fashion’s 5 Coolest Grandmas
Photos: Patrick McMullan | Illustration: Ryan Monaghan
Fashion's grand dames (from left to right): Betsey Johnson, Vivienne Westwood, Rosita Missoni, Donna Karan, and Diane von Furstenburg
Carine Roitfeld barely looks old enough to have a 31-year-old daughter (must be the sheer blouses and peekaboo lingerie), yet, sure enough, it's been announced that the former Vogue Paris editor will welcome her first grandchild next year.
But before we break out the leather and lace onesies, let's take a look at which other fabulous fashion doyennes have achieved granny status (and look fabulous doing it).
Betsey Johnson: A grandma that does cartwheels? Where can we get one? Though she's got spunkiness that would put most teenagers to shame, the 69-year-old Johnson has been a grandmother since 2006. Besides having access to a treasure trove of girlie pink creations, granddaughter Layla also had a shoe named after her and can often be seen hanging out backstage during fashion shows. And don't get us started on that Eloise tree ...
Donna Karan: Hosiery is great and all, but this New York City legend's accessory of choice appears to be a grandchild (she's got seven). Karan has been known to tote little Stefania and Sebastian de Felice (daughter Gabby's offspring) down the runway as she takes her Fashion Week bow. "I swear [she] is mini-me," Karan told the Guardian of Stefania in 2007. "It's like it skipped a generation. She loves the clothes, she loves to play in the design room. I'll be working for her in 20 years!"
Vivienne Westwood: It may be hard to imagine this punk rock icon knitting baby booties and pinching chubby cheeks, but she is in fact a grandmother thanks to her younger son, Agent Provocateur co-founder Joe Corré. Much to Westwood's chagrin, however, the fashion gene appears to have skipped out on the fabulously named Cora Corré. "She's really conservative," the designer said in a 2008 interview with the Telegraph. "I'm very disappointed in that. She wears jeans. I think jeans are terrible. Those boiled-wool trousers I was talking about that shrank, the ones I sent to her? Well, I took Cora ... and after a bit I said, 'I was really hoping that you would wear those trousers.' She said to me, 'It's more important if people are nice people than what they wear.' I said, 'Rubbish.'" Can't win 'em all, Viv.
Diane von Furstenberg: The self-proclaimed "very proud, glamorous grandmother" often welcomes her three grandchildren, Antonia Steinberg and Talita and Tassilo von Furstenberg, as front-row fixtures at her fashion shows, and is outspoken about her love for her family. "What is really unexpected and wonderful about being a grandmother is that you see your children as parents and you understand that they heard everything that you said, things you thought they didn't hear," the designer revealed in a recent video. The tykes no doubt also inspired DVF's upcoming collaboration with GapKids ... bring on the mini wrap dresses!
Rosita Missoni: Betcha Rosita's grandkids didn't have to fork over a grand for a Missoni x Target bike. This print-mad fashion matriarch may boast nine grandchildren (many of whom are featured in the label's ad campaigns), but that doesn't necessarily mean she's satisfied with the traditional granny role. "For maybe two months I enjoyed being free, playing the grandmother," Missoni told the Scotsman of her decision to hand the reins to daughter Angela. "OK, maybe it was four, five weeks, then I started to think about the Home collection ... So we relaunched that and became trend-setters again." Here's hoping we have that much energy at 80!