After looking through this book and reading the essays, I immediately thought of my own parents. I am in my mid-forties, and my parents are in their early 70s. When I was a child, my mother organized fashion style shows through her women’s group. The runway-style fashion show was hosted at a department store, and the show included a section dedicated to iconic styles leading all the way back to the suffrage movement. She has always had an independent spirit, had a career as an art teacher, and along with my father, restored the Victorian home I grew up in. My artist-mother creates Louise Nevelson inspired assemblages and collages of pattern and color from recycled materials, wears vintage finds from rummage sales, or pop art inspired outfits to festive costume parties. The men and women in Cohen’s book could just as easily be guests at those parties. Both my parents embody the spirit of Americans 60+ who live life on their terms — very much like the individuals photographed in ‘Advanced Style: Older & Wiser’.
Book Review: Advanced Style: Older and Wiser by Ari Seth Cohen
Advanced Style: Older & Wiser is the follow-up book to ‘Advanced Style’ by Ari Seth Cohen. ‘Advanced Style’ set the standard for glamour, fashion, and beauty among the over-60 set. The project was inspired by Cohen’s grandmother’s unique sense of style and her indomitable spirit. He set out to capture the creativity and wisdom of seniors to show a positive and inspiring image of aging, and igniting (in the words of New York Times Style editor Vanessa Friedman), “A Movement.”
The models in this book appear in vibrant color photos displaying plenty of attitude or enthusiasm. They glare at the camera with pouty lips, aloof glances, or striking poses with both direct and indirect gaze at the camera — displaying a full spectrum of attitudes from panache to demure. The only difference between the models in this book and any other high fashion magazine is age. And age can be measured by a number, but fashion is forever. This is exactly the point that Ari Seth Cohen makes: Fashion and beauty knows no age. And you don’t have to be a fashionista to understand dressing fashionably. As Simon Doonan discusses in his foreword essay, dressing fashionably is done as a consideration for others. Creative dressing is simply good manners, (and a) profoundly artistic endeavor.
Ari Seth Cohen presents older men and women who feel that dressing fashionably is an invigorating way of living one of the richest chapters in their lives. In Cohen’s new book, he features senior street style and inspiration from around the globe, featuring a dynamic new set of seniors aged 60–97. The book features 22 short essays written by the subjects, imparting the wisdom and lifestyle secrets of the older generation, like sharing their take on life for living without societal restrictions, defying ageism, and how not to be invisible, dismissed and disregarded. These older adults are full of vitality, and are not afraid to display it through their fashion sense and attitude — as expressed by Beatrix Ost in her essay that ends with a Dylan Thomas quote: “Do not go gentle into that good night; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
And what better way for the baby boomer generation to show the world they are not to be ignored? They are bold, beautiful and exquisitely dressed-to-the-nines.
Advanced Style: Older & Wiser by Ari Seth Cohen, with introduction by Simon Doonan
Published April 26, 2016 by powerHouse Books
Trim Size: 7 x 9.5
Page Count: 272
All photographs by Ari Seth Cohen, from Advanced Style: Older and Wiser, published by powerHouse Books, and used with permission.
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