Advanced Style: Age and Beauty

The Fashion Blog's Doyennes Give a Lesson in Sartorial Splendor

We're having a senior moment: From textile mogul Iris Apfel in her trademark owl spectacles to artist Ilona Royce Smithkin in DIY orange eyelashes, the stars of photographer Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style blog represent the most fashionable older ladies and gentlemen of New York and beyond. Today on NOWNESS we feature Cohen’s iconic style mavens in an exclusive short by filmmaker Lina Plioplyte. “Hearing them speak about clothing is so fascinating,” says Cohen, who launched his site in 2008 and also has a documentary in the works. “There is history and memories in what they are wearing and I think it’s important to show that storytelling aspect, as well as their vitality and creativity.” Cohen spoke to NOWNESS about silver-haired confidence.

Did anyone help to inspire the direction of Advanced Style?
When I first moved to New York [from Seattle] I attended a screening for the documentary Hats Off about Mimi Weddell, who in her 60s became an actress and model for the likes of Louis Vuitton and Burberry. I photographed her, and her attitude and approach to style was a big influence on me and the start of the blog.

Why do you think so many younger people read your blog?
Walking around New York taking photographs, I noticed how many young girls are appropriating style from older women: leopard print, fur, turbans and hats. In general, the older women wear these things naturally, with more confidence. With the blog I not only want to show that older women are vital and creative, but also to show people [they need not be] afraid of aging—and personal style is a great way to showcase this.

What catches your eye on the street?
I am always on the lookout for silver hair! What is important to me is self-expression and what might inspire others. I want the portrait to be respectful—that is the most important thing. An outfit might be eccentric but it has to be put together well, with care, because I don’t want to reinforce any stereotypes about older people.

Who would you most like the chance to photograph for Advanced Style?
Richard Avedon’s 60s muse China Machado; Jane Schmitt, who featured recently in the Lanvin X H&M campaign; and Yoko Ono—to name just a few.

5/22/2012: Tonight NOWNESS will host an event celebrating Ari Seth Cohen's new Advanced Style book. Follow live coverage of Cohen and the Advanced Style Ladies at the event on Twitter at #NOWNESSAdvancedStyle.
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Conversations (21)

  • msbasset
    this is fabulous - i am a nearly-70 woman who LOVES fashion and style - i LOVE getting older - so much more depth to life and living ....just learned about this site and will follow closely - go girls! look for eskandar for amazing clothes...
  • ToddAnthony.org
    Stylish ladies. Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed it very much : ) ..."the city" really drives this type of creativity, the social and the oppression. I'm still struggling to understand why humans choose living in places like NY or Chicago? These women are a positive effect of such places, and yet boredom can also be claimed as a result, boredom with the city and with humans, from the overstimulation of mass population exposure and the loss of meaning of one's self... but I do love this, and again, thank you : )
  • Styled By Him
    Grea Babes...Style knows no age Trendy is for Teengers only <a href="http://www.facebook.com/styledbyhimltd" target="_blank">www.facebook.com/styledbyhimltd</a>
  • citygal
    Rock on, Ladies! Attitude is everything!
  • Nancy Jane
    I love all the ladies, they inspire me to be more daring. I have the book and can't wait to see the documentary. I hope a 2nd book is in the works!!
  • MarieElizabeth
    I'll try my best not to worry about getting older, but I'm still scared of it ;)
  • Joshua Hernandez
    Very Cool.
  • Dayal May
    this is amazing, i love it
  • akaLizzee
    One of my favorite videos -- it makes me happy everytime I view it!
    • Posted By akaLizzee
    • July 19, 2012 at 11:19PM
    • Share Comment:
  • dVb
    Seriously... how inspirational are they?? FFS... people can be so SO dull... those girls are IT!!
    • Posted By dVb
    • July 19, 2012 at 4:40PM
    • Share Comment:
  • WendyMarie
    These women are amazing! LOVE!
    • Posted By WendyMarie
    • February 07, 2012 at 9:44AM
    • Share Comment:
  • Cynthia Salzman Mondell
    I love everyone of these women. I feel like they are my SOLE SISTERS. I sent this to my daughter....I hope she is inspired.
    • Posted By Cynthia Salzman Mondell
    • November 28, 2011 at 6:27PM
    • Share Comment:
  • Cynthia Salzman Mondell
    I love everyone of these women. I feel like they are my SOLE SISTERS. I sent this to my daughter....I hope she is inspired.
    • Posted By Cynthia Salzman Mondell
    • November 28, 2011 at 6:27PM
    • Share Comment:
  • mftrejobermejo
    i can´t wait to get old
  • vixitor
    inspiration with taste, lovely colourful women.
    • Posted By vixitor
    • July 16, 2011 at 3:12PM
    • Share Comment:
  • reverielarke
    I wouldn't worry about this short profile piece not happening to have any women of conspicuous color. An extremely diverse array of women are featured all throughout the wonderful Advanced Style blog itself.
    • Posted By reverielarke
    • May 03, 2011 at 7:47PM
    • Share Comment:
  • PiratebOy
    ***** .... I love this soooooo much.
    • Posted By PiratebOy
    • April 03, 2011 at 4:08PM
    • Share Comment:
  • ewormuth
    Beautiful! The ladies have energy and style.
  • totoro
    No women of color? Interesting.
    • Posted By totoro
    • March 24, 2011 at 4:37PM
    • Share Comment:
  • Andre Peniche
    Great video! Lovely ladies. Congrats!
  • Channely
    Hi...I love the short film you have done...many times I see myself like that georgeous old woman. I love them!!
    • Posted By Channely
    • March 23, 2011 at 10:05AM
    • Share Comment:

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