Date Archives March 2011

Mimi Weddell: A Model Life

People always ask me about the elegant lady in my header photo. I had the pleasure of meeting this extraordinary woman when I first moved to New York about three years ago. Mimi Weddell was an actress and model who started her career in her late 60s. She appeared in ad campaigns for Nike, Louis Vuitton, and Juicy Couture and appeared in several movies and television programs including “Hitch” and “Sex and The City”. Here are some great photos of Mimi shot by photographer Bryant Woodd. Most of theses have never been seen before so I am excited to share them on Advanced Style.
Mimi passed away on my birthday, in 2009 at the age of 94, but her spirit definitely lives on in the wonderful documentary on her life” Hat’s Off”. Enjoy this clip below:

Ilona Royce Smithkin: Before the Eyelashes

One of our very favorite ladies, Ilona Royce Smithkin, has had a very busy couple of weeks. After I wrote an article about her for The Huffington Post, NBC New York decided to interview for their nightly program LX New York. The night before, we had dinner at The Waverly Inn, and met Mayor Bloomberg. This 90 year old woman is busier than ever and there is never a dull moment when we hang out together.
Ilona was a hit even before she had her iconic eyelashes. The other day I received a wonderful email from a woman who remembered meeting Ilona as a child. Read her note and enjoy some vintage photos of this amazing 90 year old below:

There is my mother and I in front of the portrait she painted

Hi Ari,
When I was growing up in Wantagh Long Island and NYC, NY and my parents Rae (Rachel) and Ernie Miller had an art gallery in our home.They gave Ilona Smithkin a one woman show plus showed her work and sold many of her paintings to friends and neighbors.Our house was filled with her paintings. She did a fabulous portrait of my mother that she cherished till she died. Ilona came out to the shows at our house often.I have such fond memories of her. We all sat for portraits in her studio in NYC. I would LOVE to share some old photos with her and let her know how much I remember her.I am including a few old photos here, thanks for your stories on her.
Here she is in our hallway by a wall of her paintings, curled up with our dog Button

There is one of Ilona’s larger nudes in our basement part of the gallery…almost caused a scandal in our little suburbs…ha.

One of her nudes with my folks and I years later
Ilona with my mom comforting me for whatever reason. I think my long skirt itched!
For more on this amazing woman watch the clip below:

Style Is Healing

One of the great things about getting older, is gaining the confidence and  freedom to dress how you want. Debra Rapoport is a great example of a woman who isn’t afraid to express herself. She doesn’t dress for other people, and she believes that style can be healing. If you wear beautiful things and live a creative life you will feel better and be more joyful. What a great recipe for the rest or our lives. Email Debra with any style related questions to .