Advanced Style – Movie Review

The ever growing niche documentary genre of ‘old people doing interesting things’ has extended beyond the belly laugh-inducing Ping Pong and the oh so heartbreaking Young at Heart. Now, highlighting style of the over 50s is the colourful documentary, Advanced Style. The feature – based on Ari Seth Cohen’s remarkable blog of the same name which was started as a homage to his grandmother’s taste in fashion – follows the sartorial choices of those reaching a period in their life where most would opt for elasticated waistlines and industrial strength support bras.

The picture focuses on the comfort with one’s self and how that vibrant and creative internal character can be projected to the world through clothing. All without children and mostly living independently, the personalities we follow in Advanced Style treat their fashionable life accessories with the utmost care, as if they had birthed them. Joyce Carpati, a regal beauty with skin superior to most 30-somethings, shows off her well preserved green crocodile skin Chanel bag to a young relative as if it were her favoured child. Tziporah Salamon, often seen riding her bike (for optimum exposure) in jester-like getup – furs and knickerbockers, speaks of the importance of building an outfit til it’s perfect over the years; and of the time-consuming act that up-keeping her artful wears takes on her life.

It often borders on ‘oh look at the kind of batty but wonderful senior citizen’ territory, especially in the scenes were the rhinestone cowboy hat-wearing, remarkably brash, Lynn Dell is featured, and even more so when Joyce is prancing around singing operatic scales on The Ricki Lake Show. But it’s a charming watch, filled with carefree, silver-haired creatives that are celebrated due to the fact that they are breaking the stigma that current, interesting fashion only comes with the genetically-blessed teen models and Tavi Gevinsons of the world.

Advanced Style is in cinemas on October 2nd.



Review by Carol Bowditch.