The new Advanced Style documentary based on photographer Ari Seth Cohen’s blog of the same name, takes a look at the lives of seven unique New Yorkers to illustrate a few unconventional ways of aging fashionably. The documentary shares the perspective of women of ages between 62 to 95, who defied expectations when it came to conventional looks, not letting society’s expectations dictate their style.
The Advanced Style documentary directed by Lina Plioplyte was already released in the US and will be released in the UK on Friday. Among the movie’s protagonists are 81-year-old New York boutique owner Lynn Dell Cohen, 81, Tziporah Salamon, 63, a stylist performance artist, model and design teacher, Ilona Royce Smithkin, 94, an acclaimed artist, and Jacquie Tajah Murdock, 83, who became a model in the Lanvin fall/winter 2012 ad campaign that featured real people of different ages instead of traditional models.
The film, which began in 2008, also features socialite Zelda Kaplan who died during production while in the front row of the Joanna Mastroianni show at New York Fashion Week.
Rather than trying to fight aging, most of the women featured in the film tried to do their best to reveal their style. According to Ilona Royce Smithkin, who makes daring style choices that help her stand out like donning orange eyelashes, the key to fulfillment is living up to personal standards rather than looking outward for approval: “There is no time-limit to anything. When you look good, you look good.” Another common trait of the amazingly stylish old ladies from NYC that share their perspective in the film is that all agree that style isn’t something that depends strongly on money.
While the documentary focuses on “challenging conventional ideas about beauty, aging, and Western culture’s increasing obsession with youth,” the film highlights much more than eclectic style choices, also including different options on how the subject of aging is treated in different countries.
Filmmaker Lina Plioplyte offers an interesting perspective on how aging is viewed in the US: “I think we are way more into the idea of being female as a ‘girly’, sexy thing, rather than embracing women at every stage of life. I mean, an older woman is a ‘cougar’ if she tries to look good. I think here, more than in any other country that I know of, age is shunned,” she stated, adding that in other countries aging is treated with more respect.
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Photos: Advanced Style