Roisin Sweeney looks at Ari Seth Cohen’s new book ‘Advanced Style’, discovering that the rarely publicised style of the silver-haired-set is definitely something worthy of attention.
If Holly Golightly had a grandson…” is how the New York Times described Ari Seth Cohen, blogger and freshly published author of ‘Advanced Style,’ a street style book documenting the eccentric and elegant styles of older women in New York. The photo-based book allows you to absorb a singularity of style, the pinnacle of seventy, eighty or even ninety years of refining ideas, developing colour palettes, and playing with different shapes and lines.
One of the elements that make these women and their clothing choices so interesting is their disregard of fashion in their personal taste. It’s easy to see how trends can lose their powers of persuasion after you’ve watched each and every one become irrelevant over several generations. This is pure style, not influenced by peers, celebrities, magazines or shops but instead by the interests of these women, their life experiences, body types, and the knowledge, after having tried most things, of what looks best.
These women have a hugely different attitude towards beauty than younger generations, their real aim in dressing and putting on makeup is to look like themselves, to be a visual representation of how they feel, how they see themselves, of their personality. This is in stark contrast to younger women aiming to look beautiful and appealing, but at the same time not too different from everyone else, who, for the most part get their clothes in maybe 10 different high street shops, each which has variation on trends as well as staple piece, but nothing completely unusual or hugely dramatic.
What can be gleaned from these women stylistically may not be wholly relevant to younger people, as in order to carry of looks so personal and different to current fashions, you have to have a lot of confidence, perhaps a self assurance that comes with age. Many of the women featured spoke of the freedom they felt as they got older, “When you are younger, you dress for other people, when you are older you dress for yourself.” Standout themes in the book include hats, bright lipstick, loud accessories, and matching colours, but not necessarily matching shapes and prints. The book can certainly inspire, the vitality of these women is remarkable, and of course their style is impeccable.
Ari Seth Cohen has produced a wonderful book here, far different to the Sartorialist or Face Hunter offerings. It’s rare to fine something original in street style, but this is exactly what Cohen has done by focusing on a demographic so often ignored. These women have utterly original perspectives, have certainly seen more fashion come and go than most people and have made truly well informed decisions on what they wish to wear. The advanced style blog address is advancedstyle.blogspot.com, the video section is particularly excellent, these women have a lot to say about style, and about life.