Today Lanvin unveiled their fall campaign featuring real people as models, ranging in age from 18 to 80. We were quite taken by the campaign image featuring the most senior model–a beautiful women with her hair pulled back tight, a severe look on her face, wearing an emerald green peplum number. She looked familiar, but we couldn’t place her at first. After some scrounging we realized that, duh, she’s one of Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style icons, Jacquie “Tajah” Murdock (she’s featured on Ari’s site, his book, and in his upcoming doc) and she’ll be 82 next week. “Tajah” is her dance name. We tracked her down at home and hopped on the phone to chat with this most fascinating and inspiring woman about her background as an Apollo Theater dancer and how she wound up as the face of Lanvin.
Fashionista: So how did this campaign come about?
Jacquie “Tajah” Murdock: I was a dancer at the Apollo theater at the age of 17. [A few years ago] I was walking down by Union Square, because I live in the Village, and a young man stopped me by the name of Ari Cohen and said ‘Miss, can I take your picture?’ This happens to me quite often, and I said, ‘For what?’ He said he had this website called Advanced Style for elders who are stylish. The jacket I had on was from Paris, and I threw my hands in the air and said ‘Ta-da!’ Then he called me and told me that [Lanvin] was interviewing people for a campaign. They saw that I went on the Today Show with a few of the ladies [from Advanced Style]. So I went to the interview. The next day I had a call from Ari Cohen that they accepted me. [They said] I would be on a photo shoot for the campaign, which I know very little about.
Have you seen it?
Oh. Well, you look fantastic.
It was supposed to come out in the fall as far as I knew, and once I signed a release they could do whatever they wanted to do with it. I am pretty active at my age. I make sure that I perform sometimes still.
You still dance?
Yeah, I was honored at the Apollo with the original dancers. Of course, there were only three or four of them left because they were in their 90s. They were a generation ahead of me. They had to fill it out, so they brought in the next generation of dancers.