And so are our friends Judith Boyd (also known as The Style Crone), Lynn Dell (the Countess of Glamour) and Tziporah Salamon. The only person we haven't yet met is Linda Rodin, and we hope to rectify that before too long. In addition to coverage in LOOK ("Britain's Best Selling Fashion Magazine"), the other thing we all have in common is our various appearances in Ari Seth Cohen's Advanced Style, which LOOK celebrates for spotlighting the eclectic styles of older women everywhere.
We had to laugh at the variety of clever names LOOK came up with to describe our group. (We know from experience that this is hard to do.) The article itself is called Meet the Pensionistas. We're also referred to as senior stylistas and chic grannies. We were stumped when we read expertly dressed OAPs, though. We know to say 'boot' instead of 'trunk', 'flat' instead of 'apartment', and 'fizzy drink' instead of 'soda', but we had to look up OAP, which it turns out, is short for Old Age Pensioner. How times have changed. If Sunset Boulevard were going to be filmed today, Gloria Swanson would be considered much too young for the part at 50.
(And what we really want to find out when we get our hard copy, although we're too embarrassed to say it, is whether the Duchess of Cambridge is also in this issue. It's the print version of Six Degrees of Separation!) Click on the photos to enlarge. Don't have glasses strong enough for this fine print? Here's the full text of the article:
Street-style snapper Ari Seth Cohen’s been snapping chic silver-haired and red-rinsed older ladies since 2008 for his 50,000-hits-a-day blog, Advancedstyle.blogspot.com. His subjects – chic grannies and expertly dressed OAPs – are all part of a new movement of senior stylistas that’s storming NYC.
“My project isn’t just about being beautiful or fashionable,” Cohen says. “It’s about spirit. I wanted to create something positive and inspiring and to show younger women that they don’t have to be afraid of getting older.”
Fast-forward five years and these advanced stylistas have become minor fashion celebrities, topping best-dressed lists and showing off their frequently repinned outfits all over Pinterest. All now have their own street-style blogs dedicated to older women, like Stylecrone.com, run by 70-year-old Judith Boyd.
“Ari was part of the reason I launched my blog,” she says. “I was inspired by his photos and stories of magnificent older women who express themselves through style. Ari has started a movement encouraging older people to remain visible, contrary to cultural norms. I now have role models who are vibrant, self-confident and creative and live their lives to the fullest, even
at the age of 100. This facilitates a sense of freedom and decreases the fear of ageing, which I believe improves health and the quality of life.”
And who’s taking the photographs for her? “My husband Nelson was my photographer until his death two years ago. Since then, my daughter Camille and, for the past year, my dear friend Diana, who I’ve known since the ’70s! My ultimate style advice? Have fun and express yourself. It’s not life or death and you can always change your outfit if it doesn’t please you. Creativity is life enhancing!”
Alongside Judith, there’s the poodle-walking New Yorker Linda Rodin, 65, a former fashion editor, boutique owner and now founder of beauty line Rodin Olio Lusso. Linda syas: “When I was 18, I moved to Rome, modelled there and met Twiggy. My clothes were wonderful – micro mini-skirts, very high over-the-knee flat leather boots and maxi coats! So much fun! My style staple now is a great handbag. My latest is a small Marni one.”
The turban-topped Lynn Dell, 80, a fabulous Manhattanite and owner of Upper East Side boutique Off Broadway, is so popular she’s known as the “Countess Of Glam”. Her motto? “Dress for yourself. If you are happy, you will make the world happy.”
Then there’s the outrageous Valerie and Jean (ages undisclosed!), dressing in their coordinating ensembles. At first glance you’d think they’re sisters, but they’re just good pals. They met when Valerie saw Jean wearing a fabulous hat and invited her to her museum show, then started blogging when people started stopping them and telling them how great they looked. “We’re not the old ladies, or the old bags, or the frumpies,” they say, hence the name of their blog, Idiosyncraticfashionistas. blogspot.com. “We embrace our grey hair while sharing the playground nicely with our younger siblings.”
Tziporah Salamon, 63, a former stylist, fashion consultant and performance artist, landed the best fashion gig going following her Advancedstyleblogspot.com debut, when Lanvin approached her for a campaign. “In my twenties, I’d never have realised I could do something like this,” she says. “It wasn’t until my forties that I began to see my beauty. How ironic that I’m having my big break as a model in my sixties?” Named one of the 50 Most Stylish New Yorkers by Time Out, the outfits on her site Tziporahsalamon.com are always well worth a drool!
Judith of Stylecrone.com concludes: “I consider the women of Advancedstyleblogspot.com my friends. I find them interesting, courageous, creative, bright, kind, witty, empathetic and talented. It’s fun and inspiring to spend time with women who have similar interests and enjoy life and all of its gifts.”
Hear, hear. Now, what we want to know is where the heck is our very own British sisterhood of Pensionistas?