Rebecca Kamm

Poking a stick at ladies' issues, pop culture, and other cutting-edge curiosities.

Rebecca Kamm: Shining a spotlight on senior style

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Ilona Royce Smithkin doesn't let age get in the way of fashion.
Photo / Supplied
Ilona Royce Smithkin doesn't let age get in the way of fashion. Photo / Supplied

A little while ago I wrote about 83-year-old model, Daphne Selfe.

According to the scientific criterion that is Facebook 'Likes', people quite liked that post. Which made me especially happy, because the invisibility of seniors in the media - particularly fashion - is a subject close to my heart. Also, my grandmother was stoked.

So I was excited to see the following trailer for Advanced Style, a new documentary project about stylish older women living it up in New York City.

Advanced Style the documentary is the offspring of Advanced Style the blog, both of which are the brainchildren of 30-year-old photographer and writer, Ari Seth Cohen.

If you ever needed proof that style is ageless as well as timeless, you will find it on Cohen's increasingly popular blog, which puts most other street style sites to shame. I'd chuck all my Karen Walker for one tenth of his subjects' dress sense.

Make sure you visit the blog's 'Wisdom from a 90-year-old lady' section, too. It features clips of quirky 91-year-old artist Illona Smithkin, who gives humbling advice like "Perfection is a man-made construct," and, "I'm very proud [of my age], because it took a long time to get there."

In the clip below, Smithkin and Cohen go to lunch in a taxi.



Words cannot express how enamoured I am of her eyelashes.

Cohen says Advanced Style (the documentary) will follow the daily lives and "inspiring moments" of New York's most fashionable seniors. "These portraits of women aging gracefully with tremendous spirit will challenge conventional ideas about beauty, growing old, and Western culture's obsession with youth."

The project is currently on creative funding platform Kickstarter, where it's received almost US$9,000 in donations. When and if that reaches $35,000 in the next 22 days, the film will be completed and released.

So what inspired the blogger to become a "Satorialist for the superannuated set", as the New York Times so aptly put it?

I emailed Cohen to ask. He said:

"My grandmother was my best friend, and she inspired me with her style and spirit. People tend to dismiss and treat older people as if they were invisible. I wanted to shine the spotlight on seniors and show that you are never too old to dress up and feel good. Beauty can be found within all age groups."

What a good one.

(Donations to the Advanced Style documentary can be made here.)

Follow Rebecca Kamm on Twitter.

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