Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet’s Interview

I was reading about Dame Denise L’Estrange- Corbet in the Herald this morning. Upon reading the article I pondered how incredibly individualistic she is and how  ‘World’ is too. Dame Denise L’Estrange- Corbet has stayed true to herself and her philosophy has continued through her business and now she is being recognised for who she is.
I don’t know much about the fashion industry, although I had a distant encounter with Dame Denise L’Estrange- Corbet more than 20 years ago.
My daughter, Marie was studying textile design at Victoria University. She designed hand-dyed chunky, oversized woollen shrugs
and approached World to buy them, which they did. I remember how supportive, kind and caring Dame Denise L’Estrange- Corbet was to Marie: a struggling student.
But today I am sharing how impressed I am with how Dame Denise L’Estrange- Corbet  who embraces her individual attitude about aging.
17 years ago Denise decided to let her hair go grey. Her reasoning is we cant fight nature -‘grey hairs are like weeds, there is always another one when you open your eyes. It does not mean you are wearing tartan slippers, a dressing gown with a cord belt and rollers in your hair, I can still style it.’
 I love her common sense point of view. I, too am ruled by the fear of ‘looking old’ and dye my hair. But I see this is just about my ego and not wanting to look ‘old’. It is time to ask myself, ‘what is wrong with looking my age?’
As Denise says, ‘we can’t fight nature.’ Grey hair is as natural as aging.
Maybe it is our culture of anti-aging that needs to be addressed. And the more strong minded, individualistic, intelligent women stand up and tell the world they are proud to be who they are, the better off we women will be and things may change so we can focus on what we do, how we act, rather than how we look.
If we are talking about looking young,  we must bring into the equation  – cost.  And it does cost a lot for face work, Botox, fillers etc. I feel sorry for women who have work done, because once they start, can they ever stop? Probably not – unless they change their attitude of feeling they need to look different from what they do.
I see money better spent on preventative health care: massages, giving myself time to enjoy nature, being able to afford good quality natural food, being generous to others, learning self help health practices.
Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet carries awesome consistency into her philosophy of aging: ‘ Now I have no problem with aging. It is just a part of life as you pass through. I have never had any work done, no fillers, Botox or anything, I am not in that ‘tribe.’ It just does not appeal to me. You can have all that work done on your face, but you are getting old, and your walk, stance and ability will always give your age away. I wish more people would just embrace it, there is nothing wrong with it, and having all that work done, does not make you live any longer.’
I imagine in the fashion world that would be a novel point of view.
I do notice when women get work done on their face, I look twice because things don’t look quite right. It just doesn’t seem to be as it should be. As commented on, our faces changing with age is a natural phenomena. And there is always something to give our age away – whether it be a neck with loose skin, eyes that are not as clear as a young person’s, the way we walk and act and our entrenched attitudes etc.
And then there is Dame Denise L’Estrange- Corbet’s philosophy about her daily morning and evening skin routine. It is soap, not expensive cleansers. She uses Santa Maria Novella range which was founded in 1221. A sensible regime with cleansing, toning and moisturising and exfoliating, but never using sunblock or SPF products
‘I firmly believe in keeping the skin as clean as possible all over,’ she says.
Well, we know the skin is the largest organ in the body and  the skin breathes and is the means through which toxins are expelled. By not clogging pores with preservatives and chemicals we are doing ourselves a big favour.
I read on and could have hugged her when the final paragraph was titled, ‘ Beauty Defined’. Dame Denise L’Estrange- Corbet defines beauty as ‘Beauty to me is what you do, and how you conduct yourself, not how you look, looks are deceiving.’
You darling lady!
I am so happy we, (speaking as a New Zealander) have Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet as a role model for all those people in the fashion industry and those who are not in the fashion industry – just regular people throughout our country. May many people be inspired by her wisdom and strength of character.

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