Advanced Style – the film, the fashion, the lifestyle

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‘! …

Last night I had the honour and pleasure of hosting and presenting a Q&A after a preview screening of the film Advanced Style at JW3 Cinema. To give you an idea what the film is about

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.

the ladies from Advanced Style - promotional image from Dogwoof  film distributor

the ladies from Advanced Style – promotional image from Dogwoof documentary distributor

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.

Kate Ross in 1970s Jaeger before the Advanced Style Q&A at JW3 Cinema on 7th May 2014

Kate Ross in 1970s Jaeger before the Advanced Style Q&A at JW3 Cinema on 7th May 2014

Kate Ross with Ari Seth Cohen

Kate Ross with Ari Seth Cohen

 

 

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.

 

Kate Ross with four of the Advanced Style ladies

Kate Ross with four of the Advanced Style ladies

Ilona Royce Smithkin from Advanced Style the film. Image from Dogwood documentary distributor

Ilona Royce Smithkin from Advanced Style the film. Image from Dogwood documentary distributor

 

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!


How I started 2013 in style – at the Chelsea Arts Club Hogmanay Ball

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.

in my tartan outft which I made for the Hogmanay ball

in my tartan outfit which I made for the Hogmanay ball

 

 

tartan2

 

tartan 3

a close up of the home made tartan fascinator and the red eyeshadow I wore

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 New York fashion find

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.

1970s dress from Cure Thrift Shop, New York

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.

the Curious Curator at Lloyd Johnson: The Modern Outfitter, private view, CHELSEA space


Costumes, Characters, Looks

some of my favourite costumes, characters and looks that I’ve created

1970s Ossie Clark dress

1970s Ossie Clark dress

1970s dress for Vintage Festival 2010

1970s dress for Vintage Festival at Goodwood 2010

1950s look

1950s look

1920 look

1920 look

my own hair do

my own hair do

fairy dress, 1970s original

fairy dress, 1970s original

traditional Ethiopian dress

traditional Ethiopian dress in Addis Ababa

White Lace look

White Lace look

Retro Swimwear

Retro Swimwear

Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts

Let Them Eat Cake!

Let Them Eat Cake!

Wilderness Festival peacock

Wilderness Festival peacock

Wilderness Festival peacock

Wilderness Festival peacock

Wilderness Festival peacock

dressed up as a peacock for arts spectacular Wilderness Festival at a beautful wooded site

Wilderness Festival peacock

dressed up as a peacock for arts spectacular Wilderness Festival at a beautful wooded site

Leighton House peacock look

in my peacock dress for a visit to stunning Leighton House, West London

Malice in Wonderland

Malice in Wonderland look I made for Halloween

Malice in Wonderland

Malice in Wonderland

mask making

mask making

Cleopatra

homage to the late Liz Taylor as Cleopatra soon after the news of her passing, for a Stars of the Silver Screen night

Istanbul theme

hosting an Istanbul themed dinner with objects collected from my trip there

Istanbul

in Istanbul, blue and white patterns all round

Kenwood House heritage look

a heritage look for a visit to Kenwood House, at the grounds by the lake

Vintage Festival 2011

1970s Hawaiian print dress for Vintage Festival 2011 at the Southbank, London

Enchanted Palace fairy

as a fairy for Enchanted Palace evening at Kensington Palace, London

Glyndebourne evening wear

in evening wear for Glyndebourne festival

Enchanted Palace fairy

as a fairy for Enchanted Palace evening at Kensington Palace, London

1980s but 10950s style

1980s but 1950s style dress for a day out at Osterley Park House grounds

at the ballet, Royal Opera House, London

'Absinthe Makes the Mind Go Wander' in my costume as the Green Fairy (Absinthe) for the Belle Epoque night at Shoreditch Studios, London