Last week I saw a screening of a life-affirming film that perfectly illustrates the positive power of blogging.
If anyone can show the unexpected journey blogging can take you on, its the 80 and 90-year-old women of documentary Advanced Style.
Seven women, the youngest of whom is 62, are the stars of the film that was born from the Advanced Style street-style blog by photographer Ari Seth Cohen.
Cohen only takes pictures of older New Yorkers who are stylishly or creatively dressed. Whether subjects are elegant or outlandish, the pictures are brilliant – subverting perceptions about the fashion industry and old age. No pigeon-toed hipsters here.
The blog, started in 2008, has a huge following, has sparked a book, landed three of its older subjects with professional modelling gigs for Celine and Lanvin and is now the subject of a documentary.
Not only that but the blog’s thousands of followers regularly comment on how Advanced Style has changed their perceptions of ageing and older people. Changing the way people think for the better? Blogging bingo.
The film, directed by Lina Plioplyte, examines the lives of seven New Yorkers who featured on Cohen’s blog.
Most of the group are in their eighties and nineties and we follow them as they work, socialise, enjoy family time or new love lives.
They are funny, creative, artistic, musical and bursting with joie de vivre – while being fabulously dressed of course.
Their involvement with Advanced Style has led to countless new opportunities – TV appearances, modelling, a TV show and now starring in a feature-length film.
The women could never have dreamed of this new lease of life in their later years but by god do they seize every opportunity that comes their way.
Some of them are classically elegant – dark clothing and pearls – while others love layers of vintage or vibrant African-print fabrics.
Whatever their sartorial style or personality they share an almost anarchic attitude to ageing – a punk rock refusal to go unnoticed or be ignored.
If, like me, you are finding your thirties is akin to wrapping yourself in a cloak of invisibility, this documentary will inspire you to think differently.
So ditch the grubby skinny jeans and Converse and start wearing something more fun and creative immediately. Who cares if you’re not 24 anymore?
Old age never looked so good.
Advanced Style will premiere in the UK on 06 May at the Curzon Mayfair with a Q&A with Ari Seth Cohen, director Lina Plioplyte plus special guests. Find all screenings here.
(This post is just from me from the heart. I have not been sponsored in any way to write it).
But it wasn’t just me being lazy,
Or too busy working in town.
I’ve often been known to pick up the phone,
But I recall and then put it down.
It’s not that I don’t want to see you.
In fact the opposite’s true.
I miss your face,
And your husband’s ace.
The problems are 7 and 2.
I’ve told myself ‘This is my problem’,
‘They’re just little children’ and such.
But their cold little eyes,
Bore through my insides,
I just don’t really like them that much.
I do want to see you my darling,
I know that I’m being insane,
To be made to feel small
By those three feet tall,
But they’ve never turned right on a plane.
No doubt they’re angelic when with you,
When doing things of their own accord.
But when I’m with them, alone,
My heart turns to stone,
As they exclaim very loudly ‘We’re BORED!’
I feel very bad for these feelings.
You behave the right way you do,
And tell them they’re rude,
When they won’t touch my food
Cos they say it’s a big plate of poo.
But I don’t want our friendship to suffer,
So I’m going to pick up the phone.
And suggest a quick bite
On a Saturday night
And double check you’ll leave them at home.
Suffering serious PTSD (post traumatic Sainsburys disorder) after I naively thought AJ would enjoy being pushed around in the cart while I got a few bits and bobs.
The experience taught me that there are two types of people in this world.
The type who stare/point/tut/laugh/shake their head at your shame or the type who make silly faces at your child in a vain effort to curb their apoplectic rage, who pick up his shoes and socks after he has kicked them off, who help you pack your shopping (thank you thank you amazing cashier lady) and who help you wheel your trolley to your car as you struggle to contain the thrashing wild beast that was once your child in your arms because he won’t go back in the trolley.
In an ideal world there would be a third type of person who would magically appear with a fan to cool down your scarlet face then present you with two Fruit Shoots laced with sedative (one for toddler one for me) but you can’t have everything.
Online shopping I shall never stray from you again.
“A cunt for AJ this year?”
I know my very nice colleague in her sixties cannot possibly be saying what my ears just heard, especially as she is smiling so sweetly.
I ask her to repeat the question.
“A cunt for AJ this year?”
Er…I go with “Ah, he’s a bit young” and hope that gets me out of it.
Colleague: “Yes, why bother. Wait until he’s old enough to ask for all that.”
This is getting worse. I smile and nod.
Colleague: “My son used to love them.”
Think, brain, think! What is she talking about!?
Colleague: “I used to hide them all over the garden for him.”
Now, I’m just worried. Perhaps she has dementia.
Colleague: “But he used to eat them before bringing them back.”
I’ve got it! I shout out in relief: “Egg hunt! An egg hunt for AJ!”
Colleague: “I thought you said he wasn’t having one.”
“Maybe next year.”
Definitely not this year. Mamma’s too much of a lazy egg hunt.