A one of a kind documentary, oozing with sumptuous visuals, unforgettable characters and bags and bags of charm: Advanced Style is a unapologetically bold film about embracing the ageing process and challenging the constraints of beauty.
Having started its life as a street fashion blog revealing the most stylish women of New York aged 60-95, Advanced Style’s creator Ari Seth Cohen follows the lives of seven of his most fabulous mature friends, including Ilona, a 93-year-old artist, known for her bright orange hair and love of vivid colour, Deborah, a 67-year-old performer with an amazing eye for quirky pieces and statement jewellery, and Jackie, an 81-year-old dancer with a desire to be a high fashion model. This host of exotic characters light up the screen with their incredible costumes and glowing charisma, as they talk about their love for fashion and their attitudes towards ageing.
Although an uplifting film that celebrates the birth of the older woman in fashion, there is an air of sadness ever present as the women look back on their former days and their regrets as they become aware of their own morality. Certain poignant moments involving Jackie, as she touches the faces of her former performing friends unable to see who they are due to glaucoma, show the sombre side of ageing. The vibrant Ilona adds profound sweetness by lamenting she no longer commits to buying green bananas, aware that she may not have enough time left to eat them.
A very casual attitude to narrative creates a story that lags at times and isn’t always sure what it wants to say. While often talking of a need to challenge norms and push boundaries, the film at moments reverts to a more familiar, shallow message: that the key to happiness is looking good and having nice things. However, the film embodies the lively spirits of these women so well it’s easy to forgive.
A fun and glamorous guide to ageing with style, Advanced Style sure to be a hit with audiences young and old.
Advanced Style is released nationwide on 9th May 2014.
Watch the trailer for Advanced Style here: