Ageing is beautiful: The story behind our RHS Chelsea Flower Show photo shoot

Ageing is beautiful

The story behind our RHS Chelsea Flower Show photo shoot


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Valerie Pain and Tara Pain at The Parsley Box Garden

What do you see?

When you look at this image what do you see? Do you see two striking ladies in a beautiful garden or do you zoom in on the age difference between the two models?

We see two elegant women, who happen to be mother and daughter, embracing age as a milestone of beauty.

It is perfectly fitting that this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the first, in it’s 99 year history, to be held in Autumn with late flowering plants, warm colour palettes and edibles taking centre stage. The Show is dedicated to celebrating all that is beautiful about this time of year in a blaze of colour.

Beauty that comes with age draws people close like a magnet; it has more substance than a youthful glow and touches you in a different way.

Jane Sinclair – Make up artist

Just as in nature, our autumn years bring a season of gratitude and abundance; a perfect blend of youthful spirit and the experience that comes from maturity. In autumn, we can still do anything we could in spring or summer, only we appreciate and savour it more.

Jane Sinclair, an expert make up artist who worked with the models on the shoot, explains it like this: “The ageing process allows for a deeper kind of beauty, one which works its way from the inside out. I see it in the eyes of the older clients I work with; the beauty radiates from within and the confident ways they’ve moved through life.

“Beauty that comes with age draws people close like a magnet; it has more substance than a youthful glow and touches you in a different way.”

Tara Pain and Valerie Pain at The Parsley Box Garden

Download our RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant List

High fashion transcends common ideas of age and beauty

Alice MacColl, who designed the striking collars that the models wear, said: “When creating these collars we wanted to challenge common stereotypes surrounding young and old.

“We wanted to create high fashion pieces that transcend common ideas of age and beauty, showing that they can be one and the same. Inspired by the original rule breakers of the 1960s our collars are more punk than pintuck, using everlasting flowers with vibrant colours and beauty that are unaffected by age – just like the human spirit.”

True beauty shines from the inside out.

Valerie Pain – Model

Model Valerie Pain, aged 77 from Hertfordshire, featured in the photo shoot with her daughter Tara Pain, aged 40, said: “I feel very privileged to have reached my age and I intend to enjoy my twilight years to the full. I still have a young outlook but with the bonus of wisdom that ageing brings.

“True beauty shines from the inside out and a happy heart makes for a happy life. I want to enjoy every day and appreciate all the delights life has to offer.”

Tara, shares her mum’s view on ageing: “I feel happier in myself now and have a different confidence than in my younger years. I appreciate how time goes by so fast, how we all change and can savour the different experiences and milestones I reach.

“My mum has always inspired me growing up and I think how she ages gracefully and beautifully while still pushing the boundaries of what might be expected is really inspirational.”

Our models were an absolute hit at the show, being photographed with everyone from Anneka Rice to Jim Carter to the Chelsea Pensioners.

They spread the message of beauty in ageing to the world’s press and throughout the hallowed grounds of Chelsea.

Talk about stereotype smashing.

Be sure to keep an eye on our social media channels and BBC One and BBC Two this week for all things RHS Chelsea Flower Show.