Review: Advanced Style by Ari Seth Cohen.
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Advanced Style, a collection of fashion photos by Ari Seth Cohen, who developed such a following for what he first displayed on his blog that he decided to have those images printed and bound for more permanent enjoyment and display.
No, this is not the usual coffee-table book, but you might want to put it there anyway; it takes up much less space than any big, showy volume. This one is no more than 7×10, but it packs an unusual and very welcome punch: his “models” are not professionals, but real women he’s photographed while he and they were walking the streets of New York. All are of a “of a certain age,” or beyond — that’s why he calls them “advanced.” And they are most definitely stylish!
Cohen doesn’t quote ages, but he doesn’t have to. Instead, he quotes the women themselves, who are proud of their personal, oh-so-different styles, a big surprise for people who previously thought of older women as frumpy rather than fashionable. One of them might be speaking for all when she says “You don’t want to look crazy. The object is to look as chic as you can.” She’s attired in a sleeveless, deeply V-necked dress of a color somewhere between lime green and lemon yellow, with up-to-the-minute black sandals, carrying a huge red-orange bag that almost matches her very short hair, which is really more orange. (In another shot, the same woman wears seven large bracelets adorning her left arm; they match the three pins on her white shirt and the round earrings showing so very well below that very short hair.)
Or maybe the spokeswoman should be the one in a bright floral print shirt, unbuttoned low enough to show a bit of something black and lacy beneath, with a black hat whose huge brim is at least twice the height of her head. “I think most people give up,” she says. “Never say ‘I can’t wear that because of my age.’ It’s all how you feel.”
The photographer attributes his own interest in older women’s style to his grandmothers, who had “this manner of graceful dressing, impeccable fashion sense, and the confidence to match.” And it’s certainly self-confidence that shines through on every one of these pages (unnumbered, but there are lots of them).
Advanced Style is published by powerhouse Books of Brooklyn, N.Y., at $35. For more information, visit its website: www.powerho