People often exclaim to me ‘oh you’re so dressed up!’ … which leads me to think, um am I – you ain’t seen nothing yet! Or rather, well, its all relative! I much prefer the attitude of one of the New Yorker ladies featured in Advanced Style the film (Lynn Dell) who says ‘I’m dressed for the theatre of my life‘! …
Advanced Style examines the lives of seven unique New Yorkers whose eclectic personal style and vital spirit have guided their approach to aging. Based on Ari Seth Cohen’s famed blog of the same name, this film paints intimate and colourful portraits of independent, stylish women aged 62 to 95 who are challenging conventional ideas about beauty, ageing, and Western’s culture’s increasing obsession with youth.
And here is the trailer, because you need to see these ladies, not just read about them!
I had actually been following Ari Seth Cohen’s blog – Advanced Style for a couple of years and so I was really delighted when I found out that the film was being released. You’ll see that I also love to style myself creatively using clothes and accessories which I have recorded on this blog here so I knew I was going to love this film. I also realised straight away that the film was sure to be a big hit at JW3 Cinema (in fact 4 of the ladies featured in the film – those who were at the Q&A event – are all Jewish) and so I decided to programme a run of screenings which then lead to the Q&A evening.
I was lucky enough to meet four of the ladies featured in the film as well as Ari Seth Cohen and the film’s director Lina Plioplyte who were all at the Q&A. Of course, as soon as I had decided that I would host the Q&A, my main concern was … what will I wear?! I decided to go for a 1970s Jaeger dress and jacket suit that I got from a vintage shop in Aldeburgh, Suffolk in the UK. The outfit felt suitably smart but special and I’m really glad I wore it. I think I fitted in well with the Advanced Style team.
The Invisible Woman (whose work I love reading and have followed for some time) who writes about fashion for older women, wrote a wonderful piece about the film and I absolutely agree with her words that
I’ve seen the film six times now and could happily watch it six more because it truly is that much-abused term life-affirming.
The film really IS absolutely life affirming, uplifting and inspirational and the ladies themselves are all of these things. The film is just as much about a love of style as it is about a love of life. The characters of these strong women is something I admire as much as their unique styles.
What a wonderful and fascinating woman Joyce is, who trained as an opera singer in Milan and told us last night about how she was one of the first women to work in advertising with magazines. A real life Peggy of Mad Men! I so admire Joyce’s elegant style which she makes look so easy and I must say I envy her Chanel bag collection! I love how Joyce practically danced down the steps of the cinema last night when she arrived, singing out ’82, I’m 82!’ – Indeed, go Joyce! She was so friendly to chat to and has a really genuine manner in the way she was telling the audience her beauty and style tips.
Another of my favourite ladies from the film is Ilona Royce Smithkin who is 94 years old. She sings in nightclubs, teaches painting classes, is high spirited and makes her own false eyelashes out of her own fiery orange hair – just, wow!!
In the end, all I can say is that I very much hope that by time I’m their age, I’ll still be singing, dressing up as much as I like and having a wonderful time immersing myself in the cultural life of the best cities in the world just like the Advanced Style ladies do!
As it is the 1st February, 2013 I have decided at the end of a busy month to look back at how I spent the arrival of the 1st January 2013. On New Year’s Eve I went to the Hogmanay Ball at the Chelsea Arts Club where I am lucky enough to be a member this year, thanks to the fact that I’m the Chelsea Arts Club Trust/ CHELSEA space Research Fellow, which you can read more about here.
The Chelsea Arts Club was founded in 1891 and is a private club for artists for all genre. The balls are famous for their lavishly and eccentrically costumed dressed guests according to the particular theme of the ball. The Hogmanay was of no exception with guests adorned in tartan which had been manipulated in the most creative ways. There was a live band playing Scottish folk music and we all took part in the traditional Scottish Ceilidh dancing. We even had a bagpipe player on stage to bring in the midnight hour.
Photography is understandably not permitted inside the Club but I took some photographs of my outfit before leaving to the ball. I made my costume myself and I tried to be imaginative in my use of tartan for the Hogmanay theme and created a punked up tartan image inspired by a Vivienne Westwood meets Helena Bonham Carter look. I made a sash out of spare material and a hair fascinator as well. I also wore red eye shadow to make the whole look a bit more punk!
A few months ago I visited New York for the first time. I knew that I was going to love it there, having been told so by friends I know who had already been. But also, since there is so much cultural influence I rate highly, that comes from there – art, architecture, design, fashion., food, film and so on which I admire. Some of my favourite discoveries were the thrift shops, better known as charity or vintage shops in the UK.
I was very lucky to come across this original 1970s Jonathan Logan dress at the wonderful Cure Thrift Shop. The dress was just right on and I counted my lucky stars that no-one else had snapped it up.
The dress is brown, of course, being from the 1970s and it’s made from velvet & lace. The Logan company was founded in 1944 by one David Schwartz. I found some interesting information about the Logan label here and was happy to be able to authenticate my New York fashion find.
I wore the dress recently in London, for the private view opening of the wonderful exhibition Lloyd Johnson: The Modern Outfitter at CHELSEA space gallery. The dress felt fitting for the occasion, as the exhibition addresses the career of the designer Johnson, a figure of great note on the London fashion scene including during the 1970s.
some of my favourite costumes, characters and looks that I’ve created