Tuesday 17 February 2015

film review : advanced style

Last week I finally sat down to watch the delightful documentary Advanced Style.

Ilona Royce Smithkin - she makes her own
eyelashes, among her other charms.

Based on the blog and book by the same name by Ari Seth Cohen, Advanced Style introduces us to a number of stylish, sassy, and unique New York women who are not only aging gracefully, they are aging with style. My only wish is that we'd been able to get to know these ladies a little bit more in depth, as I suspect there are a lot of great stories to be told beyond just their ability to dress. However, based on what I did see, I found myself falling in love with each of them as I watched the film; Zelda in particular stole my heart when she proclaimed:
I am a happy person.
I think I was born happy - I was a 10 pound baby!
Zelda Kaplan, who sadly passed away during the filming of the documentary.

There is so much to love about this film - the fashion, the creativity, the personalities, the accents, the joie de vivre - but ultimately what I loved the most was the overarching message that age doesn't mean you lose your beauty, you become more beautiful because of it.

A number of the women featured in the documentary have been hired for fashion campaigns - ranging from Kmart to Lanvin - and I hope these campaigns are not merely a trend, but a sign of the fashion industry becoming more inclusive with the types of people used in advertising campaigns.

Jacquie Tajah Murdock

So what does this have to do with sustainability?

Well, what all these women know is that trends come and go, but good style is timeless - quality over quantity! Also, it's important to take care of your fashion pieces.

I loved seeing Joyce Carpati take out her beloved Chanel bags to show her granddaughter - the bags gently cared for over the decades and stored in protective cloth bags - and explaining that they will be hers one day. I also admired Joyce's overall elegance, her demeanor, and her hair is magnificent.

Joyce Carpati

Tziporah Salamon spoke of the care that she puts into her clothing - both in terms of planning outfits (which may take up to 7 years to get just right!) as well as mending and handwashing to care for the clothes properly.

Tziporah Salamon

And it's not surprising that a number of these style mavens own or work in vintage clothing shops, like the vivacious Lynn Dell, who owns the Off-Broadway Boutique.

Lynn Dell

Debra Rapoport - who featured in the Kmart advertisement - also creates many fashion and jewellery pieces form recycled materials, including paper towel and toilet paper rolls (read this great interview on Recycled Fashion). Debra also shares my love of yoga, and her outfits are even louder than mine!

Debra Rapoport

So overall, a lot of lessons to learn from our stylish elders - take care of your clothes, take time to dress and express yourself, and life really does keep getting better with age (except the aching bones, of course).

Have you seen Advanced Style? I'd love to know what you thought of it!

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