Christie Brinkley won’t let anyone define her—especially Father Time. On December 4, the Sag Harbor resident received the Style Influencer Award at the Footwear News (FN) Achievement Awards along with daughters Sailor Brinkley Cook and Alexa Ray Joel as FN’s first multi-generational style influencers. Despite her vast experience in the fashion world, this is the first fashion award Brinkley has ever won.
At the event, attended by fashion titans such as Mastic resident Anna Wintour, Brinkley spoke up about the issues many women face: ageism. “I feel like ageism is the last frontier in America that we really need to address,” she said, “because there’s so much of it going on, and women my age, they very often feel invisible.”
As a veteran supermodel, Brinkley understands more than most the effect ageism has on women, but she doesn’t want herself or anyone else to be defined by what is expected of women her age, “Everybody’s different, and everybody should make their own rules,” she said. “I want women to feel like fashion is fun. Fashion is about change, and change is good; change keeps you young.” A woman who stands by what she preaches, Brinkley organized the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Fashion Show in July that included all kinds of women: those with tattoos and prosthetic limbs and even a breastfeeding mother.
On December 5, Brinkley posted an Instagram photo of her and her daughters receiving the award. Included in her caption, she took one more shot at the arbitrary ageism of the world: “For me it’s an opportunity to give the numbers that define my generation the boot because let’s face it we have allowed those numbers to boss us around for too long…So to me after over 40 years in an industry that used to tell us we were washed up at 30 this is an amazing honor to be recognized.”
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Thank You @footwearnews and @michael_atmore for this incredible honor for my family! Thank you gorgeous @ninaagdal and @jackbrinkleycook for giving @alexarayjoel @sailorbrinkleycook and me our charming introduction. To be awarded FN’s prestigious first ever multi generational #styleinfluenceroftheyearaward means something different to each one of us. For me it’s an opportunity to give the numbers that define my generation the boot, (in the shape of a @fendi thigh high no less!) because let’s face it we have allowed those numbers to boss us around for too long “no long hair past 30! No short skirts after 40 ! No bikinis after 50! What’s “appropriate” at 60? Well as a woman about to turn 50 again for the 15th time ( Hey! I was born on Groundhogs Day!) but you know, 65 ain’t what it used to be! Thanks to science we know what to eat and how to exercise and we have a whole array of choices for dealing with wrinkles and can basically decide which ones are good enough to keep! And we are plugged in connected and ready to thrive! We are not invisible! We are vibrant and relevant and taking on challenges and we want to be represented in fashion magazines and beauty ads. So to me after over 40 years in an industry that used to tell us we were washed up at 30 this is an amazing honor to be recognized. Fashion is about change and the biggest change I’ve seen is the expansion of the perception of beauty..beauty is inclusive and found in every race color size creed and age. To stand next to my kids making their mark in their own authentic individual way and accept this on behalf of my Generation was LIT! My wig has flown! #family #love #gratitude
When they received the award, Brinkley Cook echoed her mother’s feelings with a story about Sasha, a homeless woman she met when giving out donations on Thanksgiving. Sasha just wanted to feel beautiful again, so Sailor gave her a makeover, complete with makeup, a faux leopard coat and a pair of hot-pink Reebok sneakers. Sasha was moved to tears. “She was so grateful to be able to feel that again, to be able to own that identity that fashion gives you and that I think I take for granted every day,” Sailor said.
During the awards show, East Hampton icon Martha Stewart presented FFANY Shoes on Sale with the Icon Award for Philanthropy, speaking highly of their charitable efforts. “FFANY Shoes on Sale was a bold idea 25 years ago, before there was any cause marketing,” she said. “What a big idea—to rally as an industry to save lives.” Since its creation, the organization has donated more than $55 million toward first-step breast cancer research.