Diane Von Fustenburg on aging in the September issue of Vogue --
When I was very young, I was arrogant. I used to boast that I’d retire at 30. As I got older, I became arrogant about my age in a different way. I defied it. I would be dismissive and say, “Oh, age means nothing.”
But lately, I’m not as vocal about that. I am not entirely sure what happened to change my attitude. Perhaps it was a ski accident I had at the start of 2011 that made me more humble. One minute I’d been skiing happily with Barry in Aspen, Colorado; the next minute, an out-of-control first-time skier barreled into me.
My face was mangled and bleeding. X-rays showed my eye-orbit bones had hairline fractures, my nose was broken and my ribs were fractured. The timing of the accident couldn’t have been worse. I had a couple of big months coming up—a photo shoot that week, the acceptance of an award at a gala benefit for amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) in New York, and my fall runway show during Fashion Week.
I also had a long-standing appointment to be photographed by Chuck Close.
Having your photograph taken by Chuck Close is like having an X-ray. There is nothing between you and him; no filter, no makeup, no flattering lights, and practically no space because he takes his photos close-up and head-on. I decided to keep the appointment, and the result was raw, very raw: My recovering face looked droopy and was laced with black smudges. I should have really hated the photo, but I kind of liked it because it was real.I know that people look at me and wonder why I have not succumbed to the progress of technology. Why have I not frozen or filled in the lines of my forehead. Why have I not clipped the bits of surplus skin on my eyelids. I am not sure, but probably because I am afraid of freezing time, of not recognizing myself in the mirror, the image I have been so friendly with. My image is who I am, and even if I don’t always love it, I am intrigued by it, and I find the changes interesting. Even staring at the small wrinkles that curl around my lips can be interesting. They just appear, one day at a time.
In my older face, I see my life. Every wrinkle, every smile line, every age spot. There is a saying that with age, you look outside what you are inside. If you are someone who never smiles your face gets saggy. If you’re a person who smiles a lot, you will have more smile lines. Your wrinkles reflect the roads you have taken; they form the map of your life. My face reflects the wind and sun and rain and dust from the trips I’ve taken. My face carries all my memories. Why should I erase them?
In a sense I feel more beautiful than I have ever felt because my life is full, my children and grandchildren are my pride, and so is the body of my work. I have traveled the world, seen so much beauty in nature, met so many people. I cannot pretend that I am younger than I am, and truly I feel that I have lived so fully that I should be twice my age.