Ari Seth Cohen has been documenting the amazing ensembles of Manhattan’s older ladies on his Advanced Style blog since 2008 – a book oh his photographs followed, a documentary is in the works and now he’s joined forces with illustrator Ilan Schraer to create Advanced Style – The Coloring Book.
Described as suitable for ages ‘1 – 100+’, it’s a collection of 30 beautifully simple black and white line drawings of some of the grande dames who have brought Ari’s blog to life. There are snappily dressed gents in there as well as elegant, eccentric women (see if you can spot Iris Apfel – clue, look for the specs) as well as a fun wordsearch and a page of questions for you to put to someone from the older generation whose style you admire.
Ari’s work is a much needed reminder that looking good isn’t determined by dress size or wealth and that age and style can go hand in hand – something the fashion industry as a whole would do well to recognise. Too many designers sadly seem to feel it’s appropriate to display their clothes on teenage girls, which creates a wholly unrealistic standard for consumers to aspire to.
There’s nothing wrong with aspiration per se, but I don’t actually aspire to look 15, I’d rather see clothes worn well by sophisticated, grown-up women – which is one reason I think street style blogs have become such a phenomenon – because they show stylish women wearing clothes their way and looking incredible in them, rather than teenage mannequins being dressed head-to-toe like dolls in one designer’s ‘vision’.
When I hit the cobbles (not literally, I hope) at Somerset House tomorrow I will be looking for fine examples of older women using their experience and confidence to wear fantastic outfits and they will be the ones inspiring me, not the models on the catwalk. Oh and read my interview with Ari here!
As the nights draw in, I can think of no better way to spend an autumnal evening than curled up on the sofa, felt tips in hand, carefully colouring in (within the lines, obvs) one of Ari's stylish seniors. But I won't be, because I'm give YOU this precious copy of Advanced Style - The Coloring Book. Just email your name and address to email@example.com and I'll pick one winner after the competition closes at midnight on Friday 20th September, 2013 (UK residents only I'm afraid.)
Advanced Style the Coloring Book by Ari Seth Cohen, illustrated by Ilan Schraer, published by powerHouse Books, £7.99, amazon.co.uk