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Photographer and filmmaker Ari Seth Cohen shows us what style and love over age 60 look like

By Darcel Rockett, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Sometimes you feel like donning 1950s rockabilly wear, and other days you want to be a cowboy wizard.

True story when you talk to photographer and filmmaker Ari Seth Cohen, the mind behind the blog, the book and the film "Advanced Style" - media about the fashion-forwardness of the over-60 set in New York City and around the world. His recent work, "Advanced Love," is a compilation of photos and profiles of couples from around the world, sharing their stories and lessons about relationships and falling in love.

Since Cohen started the blog in 2008, names, faces and their colorful wardrobes have reflected colorful personalities.

"All the women that I photograph tend to live artful lives. It's really about their spirit, and the style is just a reflection of the energy, the curiosity and all these things that they put into their daily lives," said Cohen, 38. "I made a film a few years back, and a lot of women in that film have become some of my best friends now. We talk weekly, and I'm inspired by the way that they live their lives. Over the years, we've become teachers for one another."

We talked to Cohen about his passion for all things vintage and not going quietly into that good night as one ages. The interview has been condensed and edited.

Q: How did this all begin for you?

 

A: I studied art history and always had an interest in style, spending so much time with my grandmother and her encouraging me to be creative when I grew up in Southern California. My grandmother went to graduate school in the 1930s in New York at Barnard College. I spent a lot of time taking care of my grandmother after college. She encouraged me to move to New York, and when she passed, it just so happens that one day I borrowed my roommate's camera and started to photograph people on the streets of New York who were over the age of 60 - really as a way for me to deal with the loss that I was experiencing.

And after a month or so, I realized the images that I was taking had the power to possibly change people's ideas about getting older. I was seeing women in their 80s and 90s walking around the city looking wonderful and feeling great, and I wanted people to have an alternative perspective to beauty and also see that there's a different side of aging that we don't necessarily see.

Q: Do you find that these older fashionistas find fashion effortless?

A: I think that it's different for everyone, but at a certain age, you might have a collection of treasures to pull from. It's not that it takes effort - it's that it's something that the women enjoy every morning getting up and deciding, "Who do I want to be today, what do I want to express?" Looking at your mood for the day.

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