Date Archives March 2012

Helen Drutt on The Go

At 81, contemporary jewelry collector, Arts and Crafts lecturer, and museum curator Helen Drutt is definitely not slowing down. She traveled from Germany to North Carolina, and then hopped on a plane back to New York yesterday to give an introduction to a lecture at Bard graduate center. Helen always looks divine in her signature look of all black, a beautiful hat, and amazing  piece of contemporary  jewelry.

Style Consistency

Last night, I was looking through photos of one of my favorite Advanced Style icons singer, Rita Ellis Hammer. I love how she is very consistent with her look-she has developed a personal style that works for her and she sticks with it.Rita uses accessories, like a pair of sunglasses or a great bag, to transform her look from chic and trendy, to effortlessly glamorous. Its amazing how you can change a look by simply adding or removing a few key accessories. Rita chooses comfortable styles and always adds a pop of color and great accessories, to create her signature look. How would you describe Rita’s style?

The Power Of Color

Last week my dad and I visited The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I was looking at the paintings of Surrealist women artists, including Frida Kahlo, when I noticed this women all dressed in purple. I love how she arranged the elements and color in her outfit, just as the painters whose work we were viewing had. I waited until she was finished with the exhibit to ask if I could take her photograph. What I love about style is that it is a vehicle for personal expression. Style can change your mood and the mood of others around you. As soon as I spotted this women in the gallery, I immediately began to smile. Fashion can also be used as means to making a statement-one that has the power to make you think about the world around you.Older people are often made to feel invisible in our society.I love when older women wear color because it is a way of communicating their visibility in the world.

Many people ask me if the people I photograph are looking for attention-if they are dressing up because they want people to notice them. Anyone of these marvelous ladies and gentleman will tell you that they are dressing up for themselves, because it makes them feel good. As they have gotten older their message has changed. They are no longer saying “Look At Me”, but rather “I am Here”.

Marisela Federici

When I was in Rome I was introduced to the most spectacular and inspiring women. One of these amazing ladies was Marisela Ferderici. I met Marisela at her villa “La Furibonda.” She welcomed me and my mom into her garden, dressed in a gorgeous yellow dress and perfectly coiffed hair. Marisela told me that usually wears hats(a favorite accessory amongst the Advanced Style set.) She explained that, “Wearing a hat always keeps you neat, especially when there isn’t a hairdresser around (for example when you’re traveling). Moreover when you get older and your forehead doesn’t look as it used to, a hat will always make you look stylish. I will even wear a hat when I am dressed in a gym suit in the garden.” Marisela gave us a tour of her beautiful grounds, before moving into the living room to talk a little about her life and style. Check out our interview below:Have you always loved fashion?

I don’t like Fashion. I don’t follow trends.
So you are more about style?
Yes I love style. I have had the same hairstyle since I was 12. I grew up in South America and there you are already considered a woman at 13. I always wanted to look older than I was. People tell me that I have looked the same for 40 years because I never change the way I dress, it is me.
Did you dress up when you were younger?
No I didn’t. I wanted to look like my mum, I wanted to be charming. When I was 13 or 14 my style icon was the Duchess of Windsor; she wasn’t an ordinary beauty. She had class and her hair was always gathered up.
How did your mum dress?
She was very classic, just like I am now. That was real elegance. Women from another era, international,elegant with low-heeled shoes.
When did you arrive in Italy what did you think about the style?
40 or more years ago. It was around ’68 and women were wearing jeans and taking their bras off. I’ve never worn jeans in public. I didn’t want to look like the others. I wanted to create something identifiable. I wanted a signature, something that spoke of my personality.
Do you have any style advice for younger women?
Most important is water and soap. You have to be natural and feel comfortable with yourself, in order to give a lot to others.You must be honest with the image that you see reflected in the mirror. You must ask yourself if what you see in the mirror is what you want other people to see. Any other words of wisdom?
1.”You are not what you are, you are what you want to be.”
2.”You don’t have to look like your friends, you have to be daring.”
3.”You have to look for your style the same way you look for a boyfriend.You have to keep trying until you find the right one.”
How did you develop you personal style?
It was how I always wanted to look. I used to go to fashion shows, but not anymore.People these days don’t understand fashion. Its all about brands, fragrances, fabric. Its all business now.
What is the difference between fashion and style?
Fashion is focused on brands. You enter a room and you can see a beautiful dress from a beautiful brand. When someone is stylish you remember the person, not the dress. The whole should be very natural. It shouldn’t be too aggressive; it must be harmonious.

How do you feel about getting old?

It’s hard, but you have to live your life. There’s nothing worse that a young lady wanting to be an old woman or an old woman wanting to be young. You have to live within your moment. Your body has it’s own way and you have to accept it.When you get older you love different things. You change your way of thinking. I like being a lady of my age. I have a duty to my family. I always want to be beautiful for my husband, for my family and first of all for myself. Beauty can open a lot of doors, but more important is to keep those doors open. Real and true beauty is something absolute from within. It is other-wordly. Something that never passes no matter what age or gender.

Purple Hat, Roma

This handsome gentleman was riding his bike through the Roman neighborhood of Trastevere when I caught up to him at a stop light. I asked if I could take his photo and he shrugged his shoulders and gave me a quick wink. I am always on the look out for a great hat and I think beautiful shade of purple suits this man perfectly!