Ari Seth Cohen started his blog, Advanced Style, when he moved to New York four years ago. Inspired by his own grandmother’s unique personal style and the impossible-to-ignore ‘gorgeous and stylish women between 60 and death’ who were using the broad avenues of New York as their runways, the blog took on a life of its own. It soon evolved into the beautiful book of the same name released in 2012 and, ultimately, a movement.
In the doco, Cohen interviews seven eccentric New Yorkers whose eclectic personal style and spirit have had a profound impact on their approach to ageing. Advanced Style is spilling with effervescent quotes from these ladies of fashion such as: ‘The hats, the bags, the shoes, the jewellery, the scarves – they are my children. They need constant attention and upkeep.’ And: ‘I’m better with age. I’m in love all the time.’ One interviewee rides her pushbike everywhere so she can show off her outfits to everyone she passes. As every one of her outfits incorporates some type of hat, a bike helmet cannot possibly be worn.
These sassy New Yorkers unanimously share a disdain for the so-called ‘fashion’ featured in fashion magazines because they promote trends, and so everyone looks the same. In contrast, these women are living evidence that there is a lot of artistic expression to be enjoyed through fashion. For these ladies of style, fashion is about expressing their unique style and personality as well as their creativity. They wear their personalities on their sleeves and are obviously having fun and living life to the full while they do so. The doco culminates with a flash-mob fashion show for 50–90 year old women at the Lincoln Centre as part of Fashion Week. Zelda Kaplan, aged 95, faints in the front row and later dies in hospital. It was an appropriately dramatic end to the fashionista’s life, as captured by one of her fashionista friends: ‘She died looking great, doing what she did so well in the streets of New York City’. What a way to go!
These fabulously inspiring characters brought tears of joy to my eyes! I loved every minute of this doco. These women are an absolute inspiration as I approach middle age. They live by the mantra: live life to the full, look good by expressing yourself creatively and life can only get better … How can anyone disagree with that?!
Emily Harms is the Head of Marketing and Communications.