Here are some of my favorite shots from 2012. It's been such an incredible year and I can't wait to share what's happening with Advanced Style in the upcoming months. Thanks for all of your amazing comments, emails, and support. Let's all continue to dress up and heed the advice of our 101-year-old friend Ruth Kobin:"Celebrate everyday and don't look a the calendar." Have a happy and healthy new year.
All My Love,
Ari Seth Cohen
I passed by this lovely couple walking downtown. I stopped them right at the crosswalk and asked if I could take their photo. The man said, " Of Course", while his date annonced. " Hurry up we are heading to a party my dear."
I hope everyone had a great holiday so far. I just got a wonderful email from Danny Roche after he gave his grandmother the Advanced Style book for Christmas. Read the story below to see how she reacted.
This christmas I gave my grandmother “Advanced Style” Two hours
later she comes back all dressed up in a big fur hat, pearls, diamonds a
fur coat and a red scarf/turban. I took pictures of this rare occasion.
I had a talk with her and asked her why she doesn't dress up anymore
and this is what she had to say:
“ I grew up in the shadow of manhattan in a town called Jersey City.
Looking across the hudson I often said to myself as a child one day I'm
gonna go over there to enjoy the beautiful sites to see. The most
popular past time growing up as a child in the depression was the going
to the movies. I was always fascinated by all these beautiful actresses
in these gorgeous clothes which made me become fashion conscious as I
aged. I believe it influenced me in wanting to become a hairdresser to
make people look glamorous When I became older (late 40's) I stopped
dressing up because I moved into the suburbs of New Jersey where
it wasn't as fashionable. When I put on the old clothes again the other
day I felt young again! I really miss dressing up.” -Adeline Roche
This stunning lady was walking across Madison Ave when I noticed her wonderful coat, gloves, lovely red lipstick. I asked if I could take her photo and she kindly replied in French that she didn't speak English. My friend Fanny, a native French speaker, was with me and I asked if she would tell the woman that I thought she looked very beautiful and that I would like to take her photograph. Fanny asked and she replied that she had just received some very sad news and that my compliment had brightened her spirits and made her day. She posed for me on the corner of 65th and Madison, still a bit sad with a tinge of hope. Before she went on her way she gave Fanny and me a big hug and kiss on the cheek and told us that her day would be better now that she ran into us. It is she who truly made my day!
I want to wish everyone a very happy and health holiday season. I am spending some time with my family in San Diego and finishing up some end of the year projects. This has been an incredible year and I want to thank you all for your support and encouragement. We have a lot to look forward to in 2013 with the Advanced Style Documentary being entered into festivals and some other great new projects. Let's continue to dress up, celebrate, and show the world that style and creativity only get better with age.
Yippee!!! The Advanced Style Coloring Book is now available for preorder HERE. My pal Ilan hand drew each wonderful page based on my photos of the Advanced Style ladies.Check out more details and photos of the coloring book below:
The coloring book features 20 original drawings proving that fashion isn't just for the young, and
now neither are coloring books! Fun for ages 1 to 100.
This is a self published endeavor and thus will be a limited run. Books will be hand numbered out of 150.
Book dimensions are 8.5" x 11" and is staple bound.
I saw this woman on the Upper West Side coming out of the grocery store. I love how she dresses up her outfit with a wonderful pair of animal print gloves. I just got to San Diego for some much needed rest and relaxation with my family. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!
Ilona Royce Smithkin Teaching Painting Classes in Provincetown(Still From The Advanced Style Documentary)
Lina just sent me this great still, from the Advanced Style Documentary, of Ilona teaching painting class at the Provincetown Art Museum. I can't wait until we can finally show everyone the full length documentary and share more of these wonderful ladies' stories with the world. Ilona is a wonderful painter and teacher whose work and living spaces are just as colorful as the wonderful outfits she puts together everyday.
This gorgeous woman always has the most dazzling and colorful array of accessories. I am constantly delighted by her wonderful combinations of patterns and textures and hope to one day be able to hear more about her style inspiration.
Our resident Countess of Glamour, Lynn Dell Cohen and her wonderful husband Sandy have been happily married for 61 years! Sandy just celebrated his 87th birthday with his stunning wife by his side. I hope to look and feel as good as this gorgeous couple when I'm their age.
I am constantly overwhelmed and inspired by the brief and powerful interactions I have with people I meet on the streets of New York. Oftentimes I am left breathless by the insight and wisdom shared by those that I approach and have realized that style and personal expression can have a profound effect on the way we live our lives.
This week I met an incredible woman named Marta Ventos, while walking down Madison Avenue. When I told Marta how beautiful she looked, she began to tell me that she is in New York from Spain, seeking treatment for cancer. She explained that she was wearing a head wrap due to hair loss and that she always has a positive outlook on life. I asked Marta if she would answer a few questions and share her story on Advanced Style. She happily agreed, check out her wonderful responses below:
"This is my second Cancer in three years and I have never used
"peluca" that means fake hair. I always
prefer to change the look of the day depending
on how I am dressed.I have found beautiful hats and foulards and I myself make different arrangements. I never want to give the image of a person with an illness, even I have
never thought that I have a cancer, and in some way that helps me."
1.How does dressing up affect your mood and ability to deal with your illness?
It helps me to join ordinary life instead of retreating from normal activities.
2. Have you always had a love of style and personal expression?
3. On trying days what inspires you to put yourself together and look your best?
To think that there are always others in worst conditions than me: I can't complain.
4. Any Advice to people dealing with an illness?
Everyone has their own recipe. I have never think about the fact that I have an illness.
5.Has your style changed in the last few years?
No, I have never follow trends, even in furniture, which I am working with, I like the intemporal, not fashion.
This gorgeous, statuesque women was walking down Madison when I caught up with her just as she was crossing the street. The minute I announced that I photograph stylish women her friend replied, " She is always the best dressed, she has great style." I asked her if she dresses this beautifully everyday and she answered, " I am dressed down today," and joked "If I didn't dress up, I would be cold." I handed her my card and continued on my merry, photo hunting way. I hope that she will email me very soon.
I have been seeing so many festively dressed Advanced Stylers around town over the last few days. This delightful woman was rushing down Madison Ave yesterday when I asked if I could take her photo. Although we didn't get a chance to converse much, her wonderful smile will stay in my memory for a long time.
I went over to Ilona's to check out her new feather gloves and chat about a big shoot we are working on over the weekend. There is so much happening in the world of Advanced Style this week including shoots for an incredible brand, working on The Advanced Style Coloring Book, interviews with the ladies, and we are getting ready to submit our documentary to festivals. I promise I will hit the streets in between all the wonderful chaos!!!
Everyday I have the great privilege to meet and interact with the most incredible people. It's been so wonderful to watch the "Advanced Style Ladies' become friends, and witness how they support and encourage each other's creativity.
Although Joyce and Debra have very different approaches to style, they have very similar approaches to lifestyle. I asked Joyce and Debra to share a few words on why they appreciate each other's style.
Joyce on Debra: I appreciate her excitement with color. The different pieces she makes, they are so very her, you don't see them anywhere. She is unique in her style. It's fun and entertaining and everybody loves it. I love it.
Debra on Joyce: I appreciate her elegance and her clarity about who she is. Joyce is a very dynamic, yet tender person. She is so sharp and smart in both her personality and style decisions.
Yesterday I met up with my good friend Fanny Karst and her new pal Liz Friedman. We first met in London a few years ago and discovered that we share a great appreciation for older people inspired by our wonderful grandmothers. Fanny designs a gorgeous collection of made to measure printed dresses called The Old Ladies Rebellion . She is in New York until the end of the month showing her latest designs (by special appointment) and finding inspiration along the way. It was great to meet Fanny's new friend and muse, Liz, who was a great sport when I asked if she would jump in the air for a quick street style snap!
I am so lucky that my work allows me the opportunity to meet and spend time with so many incredible ladies and gentleman. Debra Rapoport's hat workshop at the Etsy Holiday Shop, this past weekend, was a huge success. So many of the Advanced Style Ladies came to visit and everyone made such inventive head pieces. I hope to have some photos to share of their wonderful creations in the near future.
I met this wonderful woman and her grandchildren walking down 5th Avenue over the weekend. I asked if I could take her photo and she politely insisted that I include her beautiful granddaughters as well. After snapping a few shots I handed them my card and continued on my photo hunting journey. Later that afternoon I got an email from one of her granddaughters asking if I would send them a few of the photographs. I told her I would send her the photos and asked if she would send me a few words about her wonderful grandmother . Check out Ilana's beautiful remarks on her 86- year-old grandmother Beverly below:
Anyone who has had the pleasure of knowing my Grandma Beverly knows that
she matches every part of her outfit to a tee, from her shoes to her
necklace. Grandma Bev moved to a new, more spacious apartment earlier
this year, and on my first visit, she took me on a tour of her new
closets. When I commented on how many pairs of shoes she has, she
replied, “You have to remember, I’m 86 years old. It’s not like they’re
Over the years, she has collected a closet full of vibrant
colored shoes… and two more filled with shirts, suits, and socks to
match. Her look is timeless and her bold taste is truly a reflection of
her character… a world traveler, a social butterfly, an avid
theater-goer, and a self-proclaimed "city girl."
But more importantly,
she's a caring person whose lively spirit brings people together and is
unforgettable to all who cross her path. She’s a dedicated volunteer at
her local senior center, an active member of her synagogue, and the
loving matriarch of our family. She is unique, bold, and bright inside
and out, and I hope that at 86, I can look as fabulous as she does and
be as wonderful as she is.
Interview by Erika Wilder Photos by Ari Seth Cohen
Ari and I recently had the pleasure of visiting with Bel
Kaufman, celebrated teacher, author, and speaker—and granddaughter to Sholem
Aleichem, the Yiddish writer on whose stories Fiddler on the Roof was based. As a poet and writer, I was honored
to tag along and meet her.
Ms. Kaufman made a striking first impression, welcoming us
into her home with warmth, radiance, and a great pair of sunglasses. One of the
first things Ms. Kaufman says with pride, when introducing herself, is, “In a
few months I’ll be 102 years old.”
Upon looking at Advanced
Style the book, Kaufman says, ““They’re wonderful-looking women with styles
that vary.” She describes her own style philosophy as being a “very personal”
thing, and that she favors a balance between a tailored and a feminine look. “I
used to live in spike heels!” Kaufman reminisces. “Students remember me running
up the stairs at school in stilettos.”
Kaufman cites the publishing of her first book, the 1965
best-seller Up The Down Staircase,
and her subsequent career as a public speaker, as helping to reveal her
identity: “I really didn’t know who I was for a long time—daughter, mother,
teacher, writer—but that’s changed now. It helped me recognize who I was.”
Confidence, it seems, is key to Kaufman’s vitality, and she will happily admit: “I do consider myself a good teacher and a good speaker.”
One of the first things I had noticed in Bel’s apartment was
her extensive library of Nabokov books (in both English and Russian), and we
discovered she & I share a favorite writer. Excited to also discover our
shared interest in poetry, Bel recited Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Keats’s Ode to a Nightingale, and Auden’s Stop All The Clocks on the spot, in their entirety, off the top of
her head. “I like to recite them in my head as I’m waiting for a bus,” she
Another of Bel’s passions—and no doubt one of the keys to
her energy—has always been dance. “I love dancing. The tango—especially the
Argentine tango—is a very sexy dance. Imagine feeling sexy at my age!” She
says. “But I do.”
I tell Bel that my mom has always told me that she never
feels any different inside, no matter how much she ages—something I haven’t
heard many other women say. “I know just what she means,” Bel says, and on the
topic of aging goes on to say, “I so enjoy being old because for the first time
I don’t have to do anything—work, teach, study. I feel very good about myself—and at my age I can say no to anything now if I don’t want to do
it. What a liberating word.”
About her lovely teeth, Kaufman notes, “One is half-false,
and all the rest are mine—they don’t fall out.”Kaufman came to the US from Russia at age twelve, and has
been a New Yorker ever since, save for a brief period in Newark, New Jersey
during her high school years, after which she “raced back to New York City” as
soon as she could.
And in a moment of beautiful coincidence as Ms. Kaufman was
explaining to us her academic career, Ari realized that she had gotten her
Master’s in literature at Columbia during the same years that Ari’s own
grandmother was earning her Master’s degree there.
Bel recalls renting a room on Lexington for $4.50 a week in
the early 1920s: “I wrote funny stories about my landlady.” Some of Bel’s short
stories will be out in two new collections this winter: Le Tigress Other Stories (fiction) and This and That (non-fiction).
As we were leaving the apartment, Bel insisted that I choose
a book I haven’t read from her Nabokov collection to take with me, as a gift. A
book and an afternoon that I’ll hang on to for a long time.