Fashion fotog gets haute over stylish senior set
- Last Updated: 1:34 PM, May 16, 2012
- Posted: 11:19 PM, May 14, 2012
Many street-fashion bloggers have made names for themselves tracking down the prettiest young things on the streets of New York to document their trendiest duds. But not Ari Seth Cohen. Instead, the 30-year-old blogger is more interested in women who receive Social Security, and, in some cases, are old enough to have lived through Woodrow Wilson’s administration.
“I always looked at street-style blogs, and there was definitely a lack of older people,” says Cohen.
So after moving to New York from Seattle in 2008 and securing a retail job at the New Museum, the dilettante photographer spent his off time snapping photos of beautifully put-together older women for his blog, appropriately called “Advanced Style.”
“I was walking around and seeing all of these incredibly dressed older people ... I’ve always had a positive perspective on aging,” says the young dandy. “They’re not relying on trends or buying something that’s in a magazine.”
As he scoured the Upper East Side for grand dames — and downtown for quirky pastel-haired eccentrics — he quickly became known as a sort of sartorialist for the elderly set. Next week, he’ll release his first book, “Advanced Style,” a beautiful catalog of women who aren’t over the hill, but rather ahead of the curve.
“For inspiration I go to Bergdorf’s cafe and the Carlyle,” says Cohen.
But his biggest inspiration is his late maternal grandmother, who attended Columbia University and whom he considered his best friend.
“She was a librarian, and she would have been in heaven to know that I have a book out,” he says. Though the East Village resident is interested in chronicling their clothes, he shares a much less superficial connection with many of his golden girls. “Fashion is just a conversation starter. If you start talking, things come up about their vitality and spirit,” says Cohen.
He has many young pals in fashion, but says it’s his more mature friends who provide a helpful outlook on his career.
“These women have given me great perspective, especially in an age where everything is so quick with texting and the Internet,” he says. “These women still write letters and call me on the phone. It’s a great balance.”
The bespectacled shutterbug isn’t the only one benefiting from his relationships. Some of his subjects are experiencing a much-later-in-life career renaissance, with at least two of the women being offered modeling gigs.
“There was always a lack of older people in advertising and magazines,” says Cohen. “I think it’s changing, and hopefully I’ve been a part of that.”
Meet some of the most dazzling members of Cohen’s photographic harem.