Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Advanced Style"

I recently listened to an interview on CBC radio with filmmaker Ari Seth Cohen. Originally a Montrealer, Cohen seeks out "women of a certain age", say 60 and older, who love to dress up. These ladies, many of whom worked in the fashion industry or as performing artists, embrace colour, pattern and chunky jewelry to express themselves and their joie de vivre. Their choices could be seen as positively disruptive, as the triumph of the human spirit and a refusal to become invisible, in a time when fashion is seen as the purview of the young.

Cohen's blog celebrates his subjects, mostly women, mostly New Yorkers, posting pictures of them in their natural habitat. He has published a book of their profiles and an "Advanced Style" colouring book, and has produced a film, essentially a compilation of interviews. (Prepare yourself to see a lot of leopard skin print.) Cohen was deeply influenced by his own grandmother, a woman of style.

I enjoy expressing my love of colour and texture with a sparkly red shoe or an interesting print scarf. While I'm not yet ready to cross over into "wacky" territory, I applaud these women and their enthusiastic flouting of convention.

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