Thursday, September 18, 2008
Elder Chic? Hmm...
On the one hand, Advanced Style, Ari Seth Cohen's "Sartorialist but everybody's old" blog is terrific and I wish I'd done it first. (Just yesterday I followed my favorite 5'8" Polish lady three blocks out of my way to try to assimilate every detail of her typically amazing ensemble - purple print dress w/matching earring, gloves, white bag) but I was a bit concerned that the results would be patronizing or overly conceptual ("Proof from the wizened and silver-haired set that personal style advances with age"?!) - after all, why can't elderly folks just be lumped in with the rest of street fashion? Also, he was pictured with Mimi Weddell, who's essentially the Kate Moss of the over-80 set and hardly reps street fashion, however divine she might be. Luckily it seems like he's being respectful and also giving some background, etc. on each "model." I'm cautiously optimistic but will be monitoring closely.
In general I hate to think of this kind of silly fetishization (also see: Miranda July in You And Me And Everyone We Know) being the only alternative for the elderly; it smacks of Erin Wasson-style obliviousness. I hate the sense that they are interesting insofar as they can influence us, inspire us, impress us on our own shallow terms when the reality of the situation, while more proasic, is more interesting than just the superficials. Older people whose clothing intrigues me are not wearing what they do to be bold or transgressive or even to express themselves. Rather, it's because they come from a time when things were governed by custom and order and there were certain conventions you observed out of respect for yourself and society. Clothing was only one part of this, but not a small one. I'm not saying the demise of this sort of thing is uniformly tragic - of course not, given its attendant ramifications. But it's certainly wherein the fascination lies, at least for me.