Advanced Style

Advanced Style has done more for celebrating older women and men than any other single contemporary work I can think of.

Ari Seth Cohen’s work, Advanced Style, has manifested into a blog, several books and a film. So he photographs stylish people over 60 – but what’s so revolutionary about this?

When I was younger I was dismissed and overlooked because I looked young, had less experience and lacked the authority and expertise that naturally evolves as one matures. Cruelly, or ironically, once I reached middle age everything flipped so it was people younger than me whose opinions were sought, to whom grants were given and to whom we were asked to extend special opportunities.

In this youth-obsessed era it is easy for middle-aged and older people to feel they don’t have a voice or opinions worth listening to. Couple this with our culture’s emphasis on all things visual and our growing expectation of the perfection computer enhanced images achieve, then mainstream media telling us we have all kinds of body-related problems that can only be ‘cured’ by purchasing this product or that, and it’s easy to see how so many middle aged and older women no longer care how they present themselves, as they feel like they’ve already faded from view.

Enter Advanced Style. Ari Seth Cohen’s project is devoted ‘to capturing the sartorial savvy of the senior set.” He says, “I feature people who live full creative lives. They live life to the fullest, age gracefully and continue to grow and challenge themselves.’

Certainly he captures beautiful women over 60, and his project has helped fuel the interest in older models. But equally, he captures women who are creative, who refuse to fade, and who still have plenty to say and contribute, regardless of whether they are classically beautiful or not. Advanced Style celebrates women and men who are still vital, stylish and hungry for fun. It has encouraged middle aged and older women to have fun with their image and clothes without apologising for having lived. The world needs this refreshing approach now more than ever as it presents an alternative to an unattainable standard of so-called ‘perfection’ (that is ultimately bland) and encourages us to enjoy our personal style and embrace diversity.

You can imagine my delight when Ari Seth Cohen asked my friend, Melbourne fashion designer Andrea Nicholson, if he could photograph her – after which I couldn’t help but photograph the photographer!

and see the professional shot in Vogue Australia

Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style with Andrea Nicholson of Andrea Nicholson Designs.

Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style with Andrea Nicholson of Andrea Nicholson Designs.