From nipple slips to fashion faux-pas, we get the low down on Ari Seth Cohen's Advanced Style documentary as told by New York’s most fashion-savvy seniors
From blog, to book, to the big screen, Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style documents the life of seven fashion-savvy New Yorkers aged 62 to 95. But before you misinterpret the plot, think less geriatrics and dentures and more vintage Chanel, luxurious turbans and statement sunglasses thrown together with lashings of pearls and the occasional flamenco shaped hat or two. From timelessly elegant Joyce, to eccentric boutique owner Lynn and nonagenarian Ilona (who makes eyelashes from her own red hair), these women challenge preconceived stereotypes of age and beauty.
Exploring the idiosyncratic style of these anarchic women who rebel against the prescribed fashion system Cohen and Director Lina Plioplyte have learnt a lot: “They have taught me that there are no limits, you can be 80, 90 or 100 and still have a rich life full of new possibilities,” explains Cohen. “They have made me realise that getting old is not actually so bad.” “When you hang out with these guys you have no fear of getting old,” adds Lena. “Wrinkles-shminkles, 40 and 50 are still scary but 60 sounds like a party, right?”
With each unique sense of style comes a different philosophy on life, but one thing that each of these glamorous grandmas have in common is a sense of humour. From Lynn who invites you into her theatre of life, to Debra who considers her body an armature, we caught up with Cohen, Piloplyte and five of the cast to talk nipple slips, anti-ageing myths and fashion faux-pas…
“I NEVER WANTED TO LOOK YOUNG, I WANTED TO LOOK GREAT!”
Joyce Carpati: "I’ve never really thought about trying to look younger like most women in America. I have nothing against what they do – dyeing their hair, wearing younger clothes – but I don’t want to look younger. I don’t like anything that’s called anti-ageing! What is this ‘anti’? You know it’s not going to work, it just won’t! You’re going to age whichever way you think, but ageing well is important, oh and learning how to use make up! Less is more, that’s the key."
“I AM DRESSED FOR THE THEATRE OF MY LIFE EVERY DAY ”
Lynn Dell: "Every day I dress for the theatre of my life. What does that mean? It means we have to get dressed every day, right? But if you don’t make it fun, it becomes the most boring thing in the world. Everything is better when you’re dressed up, you feel good! Some women only wear designer clothes but that’s not style, that’s fashion, anyone can go in a store and buy a dress but it doesn’t show any creativity. My outfit was made at my store, look at the pants they’re wide with big pockets so I can eat what I want - it’s wonderful. It’s my costume."
“IF YOU CAN’T WEAR A DRESS UPSIDE DOWN AND BACKWARDS THEN IT’S NOT WORTH OWNING”
Ari Seth Cohen: "One of the funniest moments whilst filming was watching Debra thrift store shopping, it’s not in the movie, she turned her dress backwards because she has this saying…"
Lina Plioplyte: "She says: “If you can’t wear a dress upside down and backwards then it’s not worth owning.” She takes everything as an art project, every single piece of clothing!"
Ari Seth Cohen: "So when she came out to the middle of this thrift store she had turned her dress into a strapless gown but the straps were barely covering her boobs!"
Lina Plioplyte: "You mean barely covering her nipples! I mean for 67 she’s a riot!"
“I WEAR PANTS BECAUSE I’M A RIDER”
Tziporah Salamon: "I have rules. For me it’s knowing my body and knowing what looks good. I wear pants because I’m a rider. That’s a bike rider I mean. Plus I look better in pants. I like things that are timeless, I love vintage for that reason. I ask myself: “Do I want to travel with this piece for the rest of my life?” If the answer is no – I don’t buy it. It has to reflect who I am. My three style tips? Know your body, quality over quantity and forget trends so you can really hone in on what you love."
“I’M BUILDING A SCULPTURE, MY BODY IS AN ARMATURE”
Debra Rapoport: "I come from a textiles background, so whenever I would make a textile it would be a flat piece of cloth but I always found ways to drape it, cut it or change its form to become more sculptural. Mixed materials on the body create something really personal that you want to present to the world. I’m building sculpture, my body is an armature."
Advanced Style is being screened across the UK this week.