Silver & Sassy fashion and beauty event at John Lewis Leeds puts women with grey hair centre stage

Women should not see themselves as invisible as they age, say two Yorkshire-based campaigners who became models later in life. Stephanie Smith reports.

Silver & Sassy models Rachel Peru and Anne Stirk will fly the flag for grey, silver and white-haired women when they host an empowering evening of styling and beauty tips at John Lewis Leeds next month.

Silver curve model and body confidence activist Rachel Peru, from Ilkley, and former TV food stylist turned mature model Annie Stirk, from York, have joined forces to celebrate grey style and spread the word that there is no need to dye grey hair to remain relevant and visible.

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“Why are men known as silver foxes, but there are no positive older female alternatives?” says Annie, who became a mature model in her 70s. “We live in a society that celebrates ageing men but often makes older women feel ugly and invisible.

Annie Stirk and Rachel Peru. Picture by Olivia Brabbs.

“Through our campaign we want to help mature women feel happy to let their grey hair down – and grow out. We want this campaign and our second fun, empowering event to celebrate grey, silver and white-haired women, and those going grey, and give them the confidence to wear bold, bright colours or get a new haircut that better reflects their new look.”

Rachel Peru adds: “While for some women going grey is transformational, for the majority it is the visible representation of an ageing process they are not happy with. The menopause may have come and gone or is still in progress, the nest is empty, retirement looms and there may be physical and bodily changes – and suddenly the clothes, colours, 'the look' they have previously always enjoyed doesn’t work so well anymore.

“This Sassy & Silver event will hopefully encourage a new way of thinking, without the dyes and the cover ups. It’s time to boot out the ‘going grey gracefully’ mentality and celebrate a whole new look."

Annie and Rachel staged a successful Silver & Sassy event at Goldsborough Hall, near Knaresborough, last October when they and a group of like-minded women, all blessed with grey, silver and white hair, took to the catwalk to model new fashion collections before an audience enjoying afternoon tea. It was hosted by Christine Talbot and featured brands including Jigsaw, Cabi, Figleaves, Fenwicks, Copper & White and Natalia Willmott jewellery, and White Hot Hair.

Next month’s event will showcase some of the latest John Lewis collections with styling advice and beauty tips, with time to shop in-store after.

The Silver & Sassy Evening at John Lewis Lewis Leeds is on Thursday, May 19, 2022, 7.15pm to 9.30pm. Tickets £22.50 with a welcome drink, visit Instagram @silverandsassy_

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