Back in 2008 a young New Yorker named Ari Seth Cohen decided to grab his camera, go outside, and shoot portraits of beautiful older women in the streets downtown. The fashion blog “Advanced Style“ was born, and the rest is history. Last year Cohen released the “Advanced Style“ hardcover book, and the eponymous documentary by director Lina Plioplyte.
Cohen’s original idea, to capture mature stylish ladies and gentleman, has become something of a worldwide movement, illustrating the timelessness of style. When people watch the Advanced Style film, they become very inspired by Cohen’s subjects, their style, and their positive approach to life. Real communities have been founded around this idea in the meantime. As for me, a young editorial assistant for a New York City magazine, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet several of Cohen’s subjects in New York and abroad. First I connected with Colleen from California and she became one of my closest friends. Currently, I live with Debra, I met her at the film premier in Amsterdam, we became friends and now I stay with her while I’m in town.
This interview is part of a three-part series I’ve created about Ari and two of the ladies from Advanced Style. We are so delighted that Ari Seth Cohen took the time to be a part of it. Visit his blog at: ADVANCED STYLE
Ari, thank you so much for taking the time for answering a few questions for us. In the past few years your life totally changed, how did this blog idea started?
It started with my grandmother Bluma who was my best friend. I have always had a deep affinity for and connection to older people.
What made you do a documentary out of your “Advanced Style“ blog?
When I first moved to New York I was living in Brooklyn and just thinking about the idea for Advanced Style. I was meeting all of these really incredible and inspiring older people and wanted to find a way to share their stories style. I met Lina Plioplyte, the director of the documentary, at a local coffee shop and we became fast friends. A few weeks later she asked if she could make some short videos with the Advanced Style ladies, exploring their style and attitudes about aging. 300 hours of footage later, we realized that we had to make a film.
You always say you’ve been inspired by your two grandmothers, do you have any other role models in your life?
Yes, all of the men and women I photograph, my parents, friends, creative people in my life. Debra Rapoport has more than anyone helped me to refine my and understand my mission with Advanced Style.
How would you describe the word beauty in your own estimation?
Beauty is anything that brings you joy.
Could you describe yourself in three words?
Over The Top
What do you think about the reputation of aging and older people in general and in public life?
We tend to focus on the decline that accompanies aging rather than the freedom, creativity, and wisdom that only advance with age.
If you could chose to be a different person for one day, who would that be and why?
I would go back in time and be my grandmother’s childhood best friend. I would love to see what she was like as a child.
So many young people are inspired by the work you do, what are your plans for the future?
I am working on a new book, out in May which is a follow up to the first book with a deeper exploration in the style and philosophies of the men and women I photograph.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for us, is there anything else you want us to know? Maybe a style secret of one of your ladies?
Never do when you can overdo!
Interview: Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style – All Images Courtesy of the artist