For the past few weeks, Ari Seth Cohen's photographs from the latest Karen Walker sunglasses campaign have been permeating the digital waves and tickling the aesthetic nerves of our collective cultural consciousness. Visual verbatim from his personal project, Advanced Style, the advertising portraits are nevertheless fresh, inspired, classic, funky, and wonderfully beautiful. The theoretical and practical arguments for diversity in fashion advertising, with regard to shape and to ethnicity, as well as age, have been building and have been disseminating for quite a long time; a campaign such as this furthers the cause and creates more points of discussion, without oozing overt moralist pedantry, and also without being too obvious. While the many women featured are ostentatiously ornate, there is natural facility that comes forth; rather than appearing as though wearing costumes or specifically contrived for the purpose, the looks are natural and have purpose. I feel as though, in a moment of great luck, I would run into one of these lovely ladies, at a coffee shop, or while perusing scarves, and we would exchange a brief, cordial acknowledgment, perhaps a nod of the head and a smile.
I first started collecting and wearing vintage costume jewelry as a young, and admirably precocious, adolescent; while many of my peers sported pieces from popular stores like Limited Too or American Eagle, I had loud and bawdy clip-on earrings from the 1960s. Needless to say, I have always been drawn to the styles of women from other eras, and especially those with the confidence and positive energy to not merely be seen, but noticed and remembered. A kindred bond between us, perhaps, of refusal to blindingly accept the expected and the mainstream. For me, such strong women with fastidious style, and, more importantly, such acute and intimate senses of self, have long been an inspiration, and I am so thrilled to be seeing some further media attention to this effect.
These two portraits in particular struck me; the women are stunning, and the style impeccable, but as I peered a bit closer, a bit longer, I realized the lure: each is wearing jewelry that I, too, currently own and love. The woman in the turquoise and silver palette dons a simple cream square ring, identical to one of mine, of what has, if I may, become my signature piece. A few months ago, I nearly broke and lost this piece forever; I was near tears at the time, and am indebted to the filmmaker for salvaging this simple but elegant favorite. Obviously, I own numerous pearl pieces, and I am pleased to see the second woman and I share identical earrings; I yearn for her matching ring. Normally, I perform the requisite sigh-groan routine when I discover some of my favorite personal styling tips are being commonly replicated; here, I feel honored and validated. To echo what has already been said by countless other women after gushing over these images, I am excited to age, to age gracefully, not necessarily in a cannot-wait sense, but in a life-is-perpetually-unfolding sense. On a related superficial note, I have a few decades to learn how to artfully tie a turban.
(images taken from It's Nice That)