We all know Kernel Dara is our style guru, she loves all things style and design, I just never knew there would be so many films about design and style. In the last year Dara has given us here Top 10 Movie Interiors, the YVES SAINT LAURENT and TIM’S VERMEER movies plus more coming this year and now we get a very unique film in ADVANCED STYLE that is a film being released at the perfect time. You may have heard of the Facebook page and website for HONY – Humans of New York, one guy photographing 10000 ordinary New Yorkers. It has taken off – just under 9000000 followers on FB. Well thanks to the lovely peeps at MIFF – Kernel Dara is reviewing an eccentric eclectic take on this – this follows six spectacularly fashionable elder ladies of New York – such an interesting concept – Dara has me sold – I will be seeing this when it releases on wider release later in the year. For now we thank the peeps at MIFF for allowing Dara to see the Australian premiere – it has finished screening at the MIFF but there are oodles of more awesome films still running – suss the program HERE. Enjoy Dara’s passionate review…..all the best…..JK.
I have just gotten home from the Australian Premiere of Advanced Style and I am still beaming from ear to ear. What an absolute joy of a film, and the women in this film just make me look forward to getting older and celebrating it in style. I am not ashamed to admit that there were moments when I had tears in my eyes watching these women and how much joy Ari Cohen had brought into their lives, and all captured so beautifully by director Lina Plipolyte.
ADVANCED STYLE began as a blog written and photographed by Ari Cohen in 2008 and has become a movement within itself and the film was funded by a Kickstarter campaign. Ari was told by his grandmother, who was also his best friend, that if he wanted to be creative then he simply had to move to New York. So he did. Missing his grandmother he started interacting and taking photos of fabulously dressed women who were over 50 years of age. This, in turn, created friendships that would last up until today. Some women invited him into their homes, had him around for dinner or tea, which then turned into Lina being able to film them. This documentary was filmed over many years as the women allowed further access into their lives. Ari has not only become a friend to these ladies but also acts as a semi agent as they become ‘famous’ and are now hot property.
Now for the ladies themselves.
Firstly we have Ilona Royce Smithkin, a 94 year old who wears all the colours of the rainbow daily and even makes her own eyelashes from her hair. In the last 12 years she has started singing cabaret and teaching art classes and believes that she now having the time of her life. At 94, she has more energy and joie de vivre than I do. Simply put, I am in awe of this woman. Then there is Lynn Dell Cohen, who at 82 still owns and runs a clothing store called Off Broadway Boutique, she has a resemblance to Joan Crawford and is simply fabulous. She states that ‘I’m dressed up for the theatre of my life every day’. Oh, and if you go into her store expect to be told how to dress, or how not to dress as some customers soon learnt.
Want to wear rainbow hair at 68? Deborah Rapoport will show you how. And man, can that woman accessorize. Often seen wearing a single large earring and hats that are simply die for she mixes textures like no one else I have seen. The key to her youthfulness, love and yoga. Simple. Tziporah Salamon, 62 knows her sartorial style and is fully aware that she “takes dressing to the Nth degree, most people don’t”, she rides her bike around New York, is a performance artist and teaches style to New York public school children.
Jacquie Tajah Murdoch, 83 a towering woman dressed in furs was one of the first dancers at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theatre and assists on tours there. She was also one of the models in the Lanvin campaign. Then there was Zelda Kaplan who at 95 still loved to dance but was finding it hard purely because most of her dance partners had passed away. Her clothes were made from textiles that she had collected on her travels, the outfits were designed by Zelda and made by her favourite seamstress. In 2012 she collapsed and subsequently passed away at New York Fashion Week, which, as stated by Ziporah was the best way to go! Front row at Fashion Week, doing what she loved and out in the world. I agree.
Joyce Carparti at 80 has the most beautiful, porcelain skin I have ever seen in my life and her long grey hair meticulously braided and tied upon the top of her head is simply beautiful. An absolutely stunning woman with the classiest style, think Chanel and cashmere pashminas, she was an opera singer and one of the first women in the magazine industry.
There are so many blogs these days that turn into book deals and movies however, I believe that the Advanced Style story is simply fabulous and surpasses all of the rest. Ari and Lina have highlighted a defect in society, that we simply ignore older generations and has successfully turned this idea on its head. We should be celebrating our older generations, they should be seen in a positive light in marketing and used to sell clothes. And all because of one simple blog, they are now being noticed and, I’m not just talking advertising for their age group. A couple of the ladies landed a Lanvin advertising campaign. Lanvin. And Karen Walker, a sunglasses designer, used these women in one of her latest campaigns which resulted in an increase in sales because older women started buying her glasses. We can’t simply forget a generation, and Ari and Lina have made us pay attention and revere them. Bravo I say.
I will leave you with a little gem as told by 94 year old Ilona Royce Smithkin, “I think people expect too much of themselves, and that’s not for happy-making. In trying to be perfect you miss half of your life.”
You must simply go and see this film. There will be a general release in Australia September/October.