A touch of sass

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM - TARA BRADY


Di­rected by Lina Plio­plyte Club, Light House, Dublin, 65 min Chunky jew­ellery and tur­bans ahoy. Since 2008, Ari Seth Co­hen has been pho­tograph­ing fab­u­lously dressed women in their 70s, 80s and 90s on the streets of New York. In that time, Ad­vanced Style, Co­hen’s blog de­voted “to cap­tur­ing the sar­to­rial savvy of the se­nior set” has spawned a book and some­thing of a move­ment. Many of the women fea­tured have be­come mi­nor celebri­ties, with talk show ap­pear­ances, modelling gigs and good seats at fash­ion week.

Seven of Co­hen’s best-known sub­jects are pro­filed in Lina Plio­plyte’s lovely, up­lift­ing doc­u­men­tary. Jackie Mur­doch, 81, can re­mem­ber dancing at the Apollo Theatre as an Ick­ette. Lynn Dell Co­hen, 80, runs a glo­ri­ously gaudy bou­tique on the Up­per West Side. Ilona Royce Smithkin, 93, still per­forms from be­hind the trade­mark red eye­lashes she fash­ions her­self. Zelda Ka­plan, 95, makes her own suits and hats from tribal prints. Joyce Carpati, 80, worked at Cos­mopoli­tan back in the day. De­bra Rapoport, 66, is a thrift store mag­pie. Tzi­po­rah Sala­mon, 62, is fab with fabrics.

It’s lovely to spend time with this group. And there are lots of pos­i­tive voices re­mind­ing the viewer that style shouldn’t be the pre­serve of 14-year-olds on a cat­walk. Like Co­hen, Ms Plio­plyte is re­spect­ful of her sub­jects. Maybe too much so. Any hints on in­ter-group ri­valry are quickly sorted and never men­tioned again. It fits with the doc’s overwhelming up­beat tone. But it makes for very lit­tle drama or sub­stance.

Ad­vanced Style feels over­stretched at 65 min­utes, a scan­dalously brief run­ning time for any fea­ture, even this real life fairy­tale. No mat­ter: the same pun­ters who kept re­turn­ing to see Bill Cunningham New York will find much to savour.

This is how it’s done

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