Stephen’s 2 Line Review – Advanced Style

New York’s Glamorous Grans Exude A Lust For Life. Age Cannot Wither Them, Nor Custom Stale Their Infinite Variety.

Ah New York, New York, a city packed full of style icons, and that’s just the regular peeps on the street. There’s an air of the wonderful Bill Cunningham New York about Lina Plioplyte’s gorgeously life-affirming doco that takes as its subject the glamorous ladies of Manhattan in the fifty-plus bracket. And most of the women featured here are considerably north of 50, and looking bloody marvellous for it, proving there ain’t no need for prim and proper dress codes enforcing how we’re supposed to look at any point in our lives.

Advanced Style started its life as a blog run by founder Ari Cohen who was inspired by his own glam gran and set out on the streets with his camera to find other sassy ladies with a fashion queen’s eye for style. So successful was his endeavour that a slick coffee table book followed, and now Plioplyte’s delicious film. As likeable a character as Cohen is, it’s all about the grand old broads, from the Broadway dancer to 95-year-old Zelda Kaplan, a fashion boutique owner who all but steals the show.

A wonderful zest for life emanates from these out-there retirees who refuse to be shuffled off this mortal coil quietly. They’re an inspirational, and undoubtedly beautiful, bunch. There’s a great line when one, asked to identify her age, offers saucily, “somewhere between 50 and death.”

Fashion house ad campaigns await, as do talk show appearances on Ricki Lake and the like and front row runway shows alongside Anna Wintour, but you get the sense that even as the whirlwind of fame and possible fortune descends, these women keep their fashionable shoes firmly on the ground. Full to the brim with love, laughter and even a moment of deep sadness that gives way to celebration, Advanced Style is one of the loveliest docos you’ll see this year.

Stephen A Russell