Monday, February 22, 2016

Advanced Adventure with Ari S.

Is there any woman who is interesting, old, or as we tend to say "older", colorfully and stylishly dressed - who doesn't know who Ari S. Cohen of "Advanced Style" and his truly original and wonderful work and websites is? I don't think so. I've been following him from day or week one while I was living for a while in Germany, and almost screamed "YES" when I saw his page for the first time. That had several reasons.

First of all, I'm an ex-New Yorker (lived there for 22 years) and everything that reminds me of that city is worth noticing, and Ari Seth is for me the ultimate New Yorker. No, make that, was. Like me, he's now an Angeleno. A very enthusiastic one! Anyway, secondly, I was exactly in that age group - so I felt personally discovered, addressed and understood. Could I maybe become the German female Ari S.? I thought, roaming the streets of Berlin, Hamburg and Munich in search of amazing older female species? Nope.
Looking around and seeing the German seniors (sorry, Ladies, I don't mean all of you!!), is mostly a sad sight since they have a very s-t-r-o-n-g and equally strange love affair with beige jackets and coats, shoes and bags (the men, too), and basically suffer from the dreaded "Dowdy-Syndrome". Women like me - with long gray hair and rather hip clothes - make them nervous and hostile. So instead I posted this photo of me on Ari's website. He liked it. Good.

Sabine in Hamburg, Germany 

OK, fast forward. Back in LA now for over a year, I kept following him, bought the book, met a few beautiful "Advanced Style" women, saw the film, met Lina Plioplyte, the fantastic director, in New York, but not Ari. He was in LA.!
So when he got in touch right here in L.A. recently I was delighted and also thought: "It's about time!" We agreed on a day and the time, no extensive discussion and planning, that's not Ari. He's a busy man on a mission! Simple, precise, short sentences for him - for a chatterbox like me - Torture!

Well, we've met at 9 am. He is very punctual. I like that. I'm German, we are punctual! Since I have most of my Mostly Vintage clothes still in Germany and live here a life of  Modish Moderation, besides being a true minimalist, this was a really nice challenge. I'm quite resourceful and can sew well, I can basically put an outfit together from a handkerchief, underpants, a belt, safety pins and spit. But I decided for simplicity in black and white, topped off with green Bakelite jewelry. Lucky me, Ari totally approved.

Ari's Vision in Hollywood

He is a very charming, very smart and very pleasant man - good-looking, too. Sound simple, restrained and classy? Nope, he's among the craziest dressers I've ever seen live or in print. I guess - me being the eternal investigative hobby-psychiatrist - that he doesn't want to be the gray mouse and disappear amongst the wildly made-up women he usually picks.  So he was wearing one of his big "happy pants" (my expression), meaning lots of plaid, arranged in a dizzying pattern. Around his neck, a nifty Cowboy-bow-thing made of shimmering brocade. Why not? And very nicely patterned gold-framed glasses. Sadly, I didn't have a smartphone or a camera with me, so I have no proof. But I'll steal a photo somewhere on his website...
Ari

The great thing about Ari is that he is a rebel - dare I say like me? - and that's why we got on fabulously. A kindred spirit. I'm always happy when I meet kindred spirits. There aren't enough in this world!
So he snapped very nice pictures of me, leaning against my old Hollywood Deco Building; told me to smile, not to smile, head more back, hand on hip, chin down, feet crossed, back straight - and so on. We talked about feistiness, rebelliousness, foxiness (all the good words ending with  -ness) and also pride, confidence and a renegade spirit which are all good to have when the years go on.

At the end of our whirlwind session something very interesting happened. And since I'm an honest woman I'll share it with you. "So, make sure I don't have a too wrinkly turtle-neck," I laughed with a wink (kinda meaning it, of course) - and I didn't mean a sweater! He shook his head matter- of-factly. Oops. I felt so vain and a little embarrassed.

Ari doesn't do photoshop!

Ari apparently likes wrinkles; and women "au naturelle". Sure, he's a man, he doesn't see us women as we do ourselves; with too critical, brutal, skewered eyes. More than men do! 



So, I began to think, how DO I see myself. What is my Self-Image




What am I afraid of? Being too old? Too old FOR WHAT? That's a good question I think....will look at it later...

I myself do not own that software but I'm guilty of having been playing a bit with simple iPhoto-stuff once in a while. Yes, I/WE are nuts. I totally admired Ari, he re-inforced something I often say, write, and truly mean: "I don't owe anybody eternal beauty and youth! I'm not in debt to society."  Repeat after me: I'm allowed to take up space and BE MYSELF. And so are you!

I think we can all be grateful to Ari Seth Cohen for giving us a huge juicy slice of INSPIRATION, ATTENTION, SPACE and therefore EMPOWERMENT, something we definitely deserve!