Iconoclastic Doc Focuses Lens on Ageless Fashion Plates
We live in a culture which unfortunately equates beauty with youth. Why else are so many women keen to make a joke of their own faces so long as the skin remains as tight as a ten year old’s? As the late Joan Rivers, a big fan of cosmetic surgery, might ask: Can we talk?
For, flying in the face of this conventional wisdom is Ari Seth Cohen, a street photographer who roams around Manhattan looking for flamboyant elderly females to capture with his camera. He even has a blog, Advanced Style (http://advancedstyle.blogspot.com/) dedicated to portraits of these classy ladies ranging in age from 60 to 95.
The website generated so much interest that we now have Advanced Style, the movie, a documentary featuring some of his most attractive subjects. The picture marks the “Fabulous!” directorial of Lina Plioplyte who makes quite the splash simply by shedding light on seven, ageless fashion plates.
There’s Jackie Tajah Murdock, 81, who was a dancer at the Apollo during the famed theater’s heyday, and Lynn Dell Cohen, 80, the self-proclaimed “Countess of Glamour.” The baby of the group is Tziporah Salamon, 62 who rides around the city on a pimped-out bicycle. And at the other extreme we have the group’s elder stateswoman, Zelda Kaplan, 95, who has a good sense of humor about being a little addlepated.
Rounding out the crew are Ilona Royce Smithkin, 93; Joyce Carpati, 80; and Deborah Rapoport, 67. What they all seem to share is an infectious zest for life and for looking their best that they can’t help but share with anyone they meet. Ostensibly for the sake of a plot, the picture inexorably works its way to the ladies being feted, whether they’re landing a contract with Lanvin, making an appearance on Ricki Lake’s TV talk show, or just strutting their stuff during Fashion Week.
But it all seems secondary to the obvious fact that natural aging lines can look every bit as good if not better than botox and face lifts. The best antidote around to America’s unhealthy obsession with youth!
Excellent (3.5 stars)
Running time: 72 minutes
Watch the Advanced Style video