Dame Joan Collins, 86, Decks the Halls in Diamonds in New Valentino Holiday Commercial

Joan Collins attends the BFI Luminous Funraising Gala at The Guildhall on October 6, 2015 in London, England.

Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

At age 86, Dame Joan Collins is having a renaissance moment as the fashion world re-discovers this legendary soap star and style icon. 

A few days ago, Valentino, the luxury fashion label, unveiled their holiday commercial starring the Dynasty actress glamorously dressed in an all-red evening outfit and sparkling in diamonds. The video shows her arriving at a modest house in London for what looked like the dullest holiday party ever, hosted by a bunch of millennials. Exhibiting a touch of Alexis Carrington’s waspish tongue, the siren-clad Collins wasted no time in the telling the young party guests, “I see it’s not just the champagne that’s flat,” and she proceeded to liven things up with gifts and dancing.  

The Paris-based fashion brand could have cast this Christmas-themed commercial with any of fashion’s current stars, such as 27-year-old It-girl Cara Delevingne (the model/actress also happens to be Collins’ goddaughter) but it’s noteworthy they opted for someone legendary — both in status and age. This has been trending for the past couple of years, first with the luxury fashion and beauty brands — see octogenarian Joan Didion in Celine, L’Oreal’s Jane Fonda on just about every red carpet and the popular Advanced Style blog that celebrates the eccentric fashion of the older and bolder.

But the Valentino holiday ad  is just one of several high-profile fashion moments Collins has been celebrating in 2019.  

Earlier this fall, she made headlines as an octogenarian starring in a cosmetic advertising campaign for uber cool British makeup brand, Charlotte Tilbury, appearing with the namesake celebrity makeup artist and a troupe of models practically just out of their teens. 

Back in May, she lit up the ultimate of red carpets — the annual Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala — an event of colossal star wattage from the worlds of fashion, music, movies and sports. Yet despite all the competitive peacocking for attention on the red carpet, she still managed to send social media into a frenzy when she appeared dripping in diamonds — including a tiara — and dressed in a frothy white feathered Valentino Couture ball gown. Tongue planted firmly in cheek, she was playing along with the MET gala’s camp theme this year, and who better personifies camp than night time soap opera’s all-time campiest diva, Alexis Carrington.

The Dynasty character, introduced in the second season of the prime time show was created to spice the show up, which was losing the ratings battle with rival soap Dallas. It was a role which Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren both turned down. When Collin’s LA agent phoned her in London to offer her the job she hadn’t even heard of the show. It would become a career defining moment for her and also elevated her status as a style icon. The show’s costumer Nolan Miller captured the excesses and exaggerated fashion looks of the 1980s — shoulder pads, swaths of sequins, swanky jewellery — a style Collins also emulated in her glamorous off-screen life.  

But it was the designer Valentino Garavani with whom she shared a friendship. She has been wearing his clothes since the 1960s, and since Valentino’s retirement, she continues her relationship with the Paris-based fashion house and with the new creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, who created her white feathered MET gala gown.   

The legend recently lamented to vogue.com on what she views as the sorry state of fashion today. “I really hope that people will spend more money on clothes, because nobody dresses up anymore,” she said. Despite living in Los Angeles, a city where casual dressing reigns supreme, she admits she can’t bring herself to wear jeans or T-shirts with logos. “I like to be comfortable, but I want to be elegant, too.” 

And with the holiday party season approaching, that’s style advice worth noting.


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