Advanced Style Party at the Ace: Old School Glamour

by Laurie Henzel

If there is one motto that I’ve always believed in, it is this: You can learn a lot from the elderly set. My own grandmother was a huge inspiration to me, she had a career and a family, superb manners, lived to be 96, and always managed to look impeccable. So when I first saw the blog Advanced Style I was instantly smitten. The creator and founder, the wonderful Ari Seth Cohen, has a deep, real passion for women of a certain age who do their own thing and who love to dress stylishly, and he has been photographing and interviewing these amazing folks since 2008.

(My favorite star of the night, the charming Ilona Royce Smithkin)

At the Ace Hotel on Tuesday night, Ari teamed up with very young Tavi Gevinson–probably the most respected fashion blogger of the day –and threw a bash to celebrate the website. The fact that Tavi is the ripe old age of 15 matters not, she has a great appreciation for fashion, and knows that these ladies are the real deal. It was so refreshing to be at a NYC fashion week party where the stars were mostly all 80 or older. One reveler, Rose Sachs was about to turn 100, and the room sang happy Birthday to her. There were many famous Advanced Style ladies in attendance, Iris Apfel, the adorable Ilona Royce Smithkin (91) who crafts her false eyelashes out of her own hair (!), the “Countess of Glamour,” Lynn Dell, Beatrix Ost, Zelda Kaplan, and the inspiring Debra Rapoport (who you may recognize as our Looks opener a few years back in the magazine) plus many more. And these ladies TURNED IT OUT, fashion wise!  

There was fashion advice being doled out near the bar (for 5 cents) by the Idiosyncratic Fashionista’s aka Jean and Valerie, (you’ve seen them in the New York Times) and their advice was genuine and not ironic at all. It was such a fun night, and I’m so happy for my friend Ari who is definitely gaining notoriety and success with his project. His advice is, “If you see an interesting older woman on the street, talk to her, chances are she’ll have something interesting to say.”

Lynne Dell with Ari Seth Cohen


my hero, Iris Apfel!

Iris and Tavi

Me and Debra Rapoport

The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas!

Photos via Gabi Porter @ Metromix

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