Grece Ghanem is one of very few fifty-something-year-old fashion influencers owning Instagram right now. Proof of her style power? She legitimately had me Googling the Céline zipper boots I spotted in one of her posts on my phone one night when I was supposed to be slumbering, one eye pinched open in the dark. But that’s just for starters. Yellow floral prints mixed with houndstooth, Gucci fanny pack, white pointy pumps also on my hit list, strutting all not-a-care-like in a depanneur among the jars of Classico. She’s also been known to successfully rock purple socks with floral pumps, WHITE TIGHTS and a body suit, those super clunky Balenciaga running shoes that any women half my age would have trouble pulling off.
It’s no wonder the Montrealer has managed to parlay her full-time career as a personal trainer of 25 years into this newfound gig, which has earned 26.7K followers in the mere year and a half since it sprang into people’s feeds. “It started as a fun hobby between mother and daughter,” she writes me in an email, referring to Cheyenne, a finance major at McGill University and apparent shutterbug. “It’s actually my daughter who encouraged me to share my sense of style and the photos we always took together.” Today, the duo shoots new looks once a week while sneaking a few more candids in between. With a shared love of travel and fashion, their backdrops sure look like that of a fashion editor’s feed, from Soho in New York to the Champs Elysée in Paris, though more typically pictured are the quaint, cobblestone streets of Old Montreal.
Count the 1M follower-strong Mrs. Rodial, a.k.a. Maria Hatzistefanis, among her cohort of fellow fashion blogger fans, who frequently leave kind-hearted words or emojis on Ghanem’s posts. The blossoming street style star has garnered the attention of Farfetch, whom she collaborated with on a recent Valentine’s Day campaign. She’s also been featured by Vice, Elle Quebec and Spain, and WhoWhatWear.com. You might even recognize Ghanem in modelling campaigns, having recently posed for Simons department store in Canada. “I have not been a model before but it was my dream to become one,” she admits. Interestingly, Ghanem has also been approached of late by fashion design students for projects exploring the idea of style and age.
Ironically, that knack for cross-generational fashion appeal started early. Ghanem fondly remembers playing dress up in her grandmother’s closet as a child, and she looks forward to paying her passion forward to her daughter and future grandgirls. On dressing one’s age, she remarks, “Being in my 50’s does not mean I must have an old fashioned and classic aesthetic. I strongly believe that you can stay on trend and sport cool pieces regardless of your age, if you know how to style the piece and feel confident.” On that last note, Ghanem’s most recent investment is a pair of white denim jeans from Acne Studios, which she plans on working in the way of all-white looks come spring.
Despite her steady stream of greatest fashion hits, Ghanem says she isn’t a slave to trends.
“I follow what’s happening in the fashion world but in the end I buy the piece that I covet, not because someone told me it’s the item of the season but because it makes me feel empowered.” She adds that feeling young is definitely a state of mind (we’re guessing her regular trips to the gym help). “The way you think and feel inside of you, the way you connect with your childhood, you can keep the energy by staying curious—and having a sense of humour.” Fashion that’s not too serious, it’s the new classic.