I am often asked if I have an age limit for Advanced Style and this is something I constantly think about when I go out taking photos. I started the site as a means to connect to New York city and learn from the people who have made it the culturally rich place that it remains.Walking around I have had the amazing opportunity to meet women like 95 year old model and actress Mimi Weddell. Mimi started her career in her 60s and continues to go on auditions today, always looking gorgeous and always wearing a hat. The other day I met the lovely Steinberg Sisters. These two fabulous ladies live above one another and frequent their local library to look at fashion books. They love to share their stories and remain passionate and creative about fashion, an industry they have worked in for over 50 years.
My grandmother Bluma lived into her 90s and never complained about a thing. She'd share stories about her childhood growing up in Iowa and later her move to New York to attend library school at Columbia University.While looking through her old scrapbooks one time, she told me that because her father was in the apparel industry, that although she may have had holes in her shoes during The Great Depression, she never went without a pretty dress.Bluma always had a new mystery novel by her bed. She seemed to have some kind of magic power that made spaghetti taste even better and had a rare and beautiful sweetness about her. I grew up in San Diego spending most weekends at my grandma's house. It was she who told me to move to New York and she who continues to inspire me everyday.
All of the people I photograph have a story to tell and much of their character is revealed by their unique and individual styles. I have noticed that older people wear their clothes with confidence and pride,whether they are still wearing the beloved pieces of clothing that they have cherished for many years or tend to dress in more contemporary fashion. There is a certain romanticism that accompanies the way they speak about their clothing as if a favorite coat or pair of gloves can inspire memories of the past. Mimi Weddell says in the clip below" I can't imagine going without a hat. The only Romantic thing left in life is a hat."
Advanced Style is about an attitude that accompanies aging, an appreciation of life, and a look at the creativity and vitality that can be expressed through style. I am constantly drawn to and inspired by older people and hope that my project has influenced others to feel the same.
Ari Seth Cohen