My research on positive aging took me (virtually) to Italy, where I met Emma Pucci. A goldsmith who became a stylist months before turning 50. Her clothes are created to enhance the beauty of mature women. I was curious to know her better and to know what it was like to grow old in a country which sets the standard of fashion and beauty to the rest of the world. This is her story...
Emma Pucci is a 51-year-old Italian designer who is not afraid to show off her gray hair. Descending from a family of farmers, she grew up under the strong influence of a feminist grandmother, who had a very poor childhood and who is now 103 years old, and a mother, who despite being a farmer, managed to go to school and is 74. Three generations of women that complement each other and that affirm female autonomy and freedom of choice.
But, although autonomous and independent, both mother and grandmother followed traditional standards imposed by society, among them, conventional marriage and the habit of dyeing their gray hair. Emma says they had gray hair at a very young age, dyed it for most of their lives, only to embrace their greyness late in life. Emma, however, chose another path! Since the first strands appeared, she decided to show them off!
In Italy, according to Emma, women are still expected to dye their gray hair and hide their age. “They are 50 years old and want to be sexy. They don't want to be younger, but they want to be valued. In Italy, women do not want to be 50 - they are 40 forever!”.
Breaking with the Italian standard of beauty and the stigma of age, Emma decided to take on gray hair and start a new business at age 49.
With a keen eye on fashion, Emma points out that society still imposes how women should dress, but that is not what they want. "They want something unique, feminine and sexy".
The irreverent designer who brings good hints of humor, believes that her clothes are comfortable and elegant and the humor shows in her fashion. "If you live with humor, everything seems lighter."
Emma explains that the outfit highlights her personality and that “a woman in her 50s who wears excessively transparent clothes is not appreciating what 50s can do for her. This woman is still paying close attention to her body and not what she has become”.
Emma Pucci, at 51, does not ignore the changes brought by this new phase and says that it is important to question whether she is aging in the right direction and to make choices according to the changes that are to come.
Emma leaves us with her mother's advice: “You have to be the way you want to be, even if others don't agree with your choices. Live life your way, as long as it makes you happy. There is not just one choice!".
That's why I became her fan.
Follow Emma on @pucciemma