"Advanced Style," inspired by photographer Ari Seth Cohen's blog of the same name, is devoted to showcasing women of a certain age -- 93, in one case -- and makes a solid argument about something no one's really arguing about: Namely, that if you've got it, flaunt it. And if what you've got is an outré flair for color, fabric and hats, it's never too late to make yourself into a work of art.
Cohen is in the movie, too, escorting his core group of "discoveries" from Manhattan shops to Fashion Week runway shows, and is shown at the outset in action: Politely approaching stylishly dressed older women on the streets (50 to 90 is his usual constituency), complimenting them on their dresses, taking their picture if they are willing and putting them online, where things can happen -- as they did to the seven profiled here. His mission statement: That women can be fashionable and beautiful no matter what their age, and again, no one can argue, no matter how many times the film makes the point, which is perhaps a few too many.
It's essential that director Lina Plioplyte's unpretentious documentary takes place in Manhattan. Not only is it a place where you can wear anything you want without fear of retribution, but it's also a place where the backdrops seem set-designed, and are used that way. As glorious as some of the women's outfits are (and some are simply mad), Plioplyte is meticulous about where she shoots her subjects, using the light of various neighborhoods, the surfaces of buildings, the palette of the streets -- a Soho awning matching a woman's umbrella, for instance -- to make the women even more stunning than they already are, and the movie a compositional work of art.
"Advanced Style" is appropriately fun, frivolous and baroquely ornamented by its subjects who sing, perform, model and occasionally sound like teenagers, while dressing a lot better.
PLOT Seven maturing icons of personal fashion are profiled by Ari Seth Cohen, creator of the blog Advanced Style. Unrated.
CAST Joyce Carpati, Lynn Dell Cohen, Zelda Kaplan, Jacquie Tajah Murdock, Debra Rapoport, Ilona Royce Smithkin, Tziporah Salamon
PLAYING AT Sag Harbor Cinema
BOTTOM LINE The usual adjectives -- sassy, brassy, bold -- aren't sufficient for these babes.