Living Out Loud With Advanced Style


In inimitable fashion writer Lynn Yaeger’s touching Vogue magazine tribute to the late iconic street photographer Bill Cunningham, she cited what appealed to Bill was “an anonymous person with a deep desire to look a certain way, to see + be seen for reasons buried deeply in the psyche, as mysterious as the impulse for decoration itself,” which immediately resonated with each + every portrait of the vast array of characters within Ari Seth Cohen’s book ‘Advanced Style: Older & Wiser’, published by powerHouse Books. First incarnated as a blog of the same name eight years ago, after the passing of Ari’s grandmother + best friend Bluma, through this digital record of the style + stories of some of the city’s most inspiring older people, he was able to pay tribute to her with the profound loss of living without her inimitable guidance. Never in Ari’s wildest dreams did he think this kind of inspiration would “blossom into a global movement re-imagining the picture of the picture of aging-the idea that one can look forward to their later years as one of the most productive, liberating, and rich chapters in their life.

ascy1(photo: Barbara Chapman, Solana Beach, CA + Ignacio Quiles, Providence, RI)

And like most ‘dreams do come true’ stories, since the publication of this first book + the release of the ‘Advanced Style’ documentary, besides the rest being marked as history, it’s been quite an adventure for Ari taking him from Sydney to Tokyo, Rome to Buenos Aires, to meet incredibly stylish + inspirational ladies + gentlemen whose creativity stumps most people forty to twenty years their junior, which lots might find preposterous. But I guarantee that these same disbelievers would be awestruck as many ‘Advanced Style’ fans are upon gazing at truly unique, chic + stylish characters.


(photo: Derrill Osborn, Dallas + Sarah Jane Adams, Sydney Australia)


(photo: Angelo Gallamini Rimini, Italy + Lana Turner 5th Avenue, NY, NY)

Of course, with aging being incredibly stigmatized by American society, enabled by the rise in plastic surgery + weirdo ‘get young quick’ concoctions thanks to the Frankenstein hybrids of pharmaceuticals with beauty products, not to mention the rise in popularity of celeb beauty regimens, age-appropriateness STILL gets much attention, pushing those with ‘advanced style’ to the fringe. But with positive validation if not celebratory accolades, Ari’s subjects are anything but influencers + trendsetters amongst us all. As Creative Ambassador-at-Large of the New York City-based clothing store Barneys, Simon Doonan asks,” Are the ‘Advance Style’ gals + guys at a disadvantage because of their age? Au contraire! Age has emboldened them to adorn themselves with individuality + creativity,” + no one instills this more than ‘Advance Style’s’ cover girl Valerie von Sobel, President of the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation.


I had the pleasure of sending over a few questions for Valerie to answer, to get to the bottom of the when + how she arrived at mastering her sense of style to this high level of ingenious creativity + the following are some of her answers. I asked Valerie when did she become aware of fashion as a form of self-expression, that set her apart from everyone else + her reply was at eight years old, after having wrapped herself in a large summer scarf of her mother’s, which became part of her lecture to fellow 3rd graders about Scheherazade + the seven veils, leading her to be taken aback by their positive response.


(photo: Valerie Sobel, President, Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation)

Naming her mom as her fashion role model, she had big shoes to fill. Regarding her mom’s sense of style Valerie said, “Living under the regime of Communist Russia was a great equalizer. Since no luxuries were available to anyone, people who were capable to stand out did so on their talents and wits. I am not sure that standing out was all that safe either. How did I know she was chic? I studied her, compared her to others, and importantly had four issues of Vogue magazine among my treasures. My darling aunt from NY slipped it in a package of clothing that came regularly each Christmas. I will never forget my 90 pound body in the cornflower blue Latex bathing suit, and knew that I never wanted to wear anything that was not becoming, feminine or ill fitting,” which probably accounts for why corsets are her favorite mainstay in her wardrobe arsenal, as they accentuate her small waist.

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(photo: Valerie Sobel, President, Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation)

Never a fan of trends, rather than observing them, Valerie’s criteria has always been about how inventive + original what she wears is, a lesson worth branding onto the brains of most amidst the sea of carbon copies devoid of any authenticity or style to call their own these days. Valerie said, “Confidence in style is a process, + you need to master some principles, before you can dismiss them. Breaking the rules comes from a discerning eye, when you know what works, rather than what is “acceptable” or fashionable. The first stage is striving for elegance + fitting in, than the desire to shine (not everyone is comfortable with standing out)… it comes much later when one throws away the rules + start experimentation…that is when you become original. Art is a bit like this,” making you, the end product, a work of art in + of itself.

Patterns, silhouettes + accessories appear to be very important to all of the subjects throughout the book, as you leaf through the pages, but for Valerie, it’s always been about one thing having said, “For me its all about accessories. From harnesses to collars, to hats + jewelry + glasses + neckties + bowties, + bibs + cuffs + belts + cufflinks + nose rings, + ear cuffs, braces for trousers + … endless,” to which I couldn’t agree more. Of course, hugely partial to patterns myself, like Valerie, I too concur on how there’s beauty to be equally found in monotones.


(photo: Valerie Sobel, President, Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation with Author + Photographer, Ari Seth Cohen)

As for Valerie’s last words of style wisdom, she said, “If you are interested, you will develop an instinct. If you have the instinct you will combine masterfully + will never again depend on a trend, you will make your own,” not before asking her if she had any comical styling advice, to which she replied, “Only wear purple feathers in your nostrils under duress,” + who could argue with any of this really?

Just remember, as you leaf through the pages of ‘Advanced Style’, losing yourself in the personification of fantasy becoming real through the many subjects throughout, remember to be like Ari + let your eyes gaze upon “those whose artful + creative dressing is a reflection of their indomitable spirits + the refusal to become invisible,” + get inspired to stand out + live life out loud!

‘Advanced Style: Older & Wiser’, by Ari Seth Cohen, published by Powerhouse Books, is available for purchase at



Throwback KangaROOS Fall Reboot


For #TBT, how’s about checking out the reboot of iconic throwback sneaker brand KangaROOS? It’s a throwback worth counting down for, as they’re set to drop at the end of this month. With reworks of three of their most popular styles-the Omnicoil, the Racer + the Ultimate Leather-they’re sure to gain many new fans with this Fall collection.

The ‘Omnicoil’ runner from the ’80s featuring the DYNACOIL shock absorption system, will drop in both navy/ultramarine + black/flame red colorways, making for an interesting texture + pattern to mix in with your knits + plaids. Whereas the ‘Racer’, a combo of mesh + leather, featuring a grey/ocean, royal blue/black, + ocean/viola colorways, has a more of that old school running kick look to them.


Finally, the ’90s ‘Ultimate Leather’, available in off white, cognac/wine + black colorways, will get a major overhaul with a full-grain leather upgrade. So be sure to check out KangROOS‘ site by the end of this month to cop a pair or two or just one of each new style. kangcy3kangcy4


WANTED: ‘Rustic Organza Trousers’ By Juan Carlos Pajares

To see these bottoms just hanging there, you can’t help but relate them to sculpture. But when worn, they take on a sense of magic + majesty after you see what’s really going on underneath.


Upon the wearer slipping into these ‘Rustic Organza Trousers’ by Juan Carlos Pajares, you get to see the different geometric shapes that give these organza culottes presence. But it’s the layers of primary colored silk organza, enshrouded by white, its base color, that gives its silhouette that eye-catching appeal. Underneath the white wide leg trousers or culottes, you have organza blue shorts with pockets decorated by a red circle on top of yellow squares, easily making them pop.

Part of a collection inspired by Bauhaus, Pop-Art and the Memphis group + influenced by three cities (Madrid, London + Paris) + two schools (ESDMadrid + Central Saint Martins), is what led to this amazing experimental pair of trousers sure to be coveted by its owner for decades to come. On the collection, Pajares told NOT JUST A LABEL, “Moholy-Nagy, Rietveld, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Lichtenstein, Sottsass + De Lucchi works dialogue + manifest themselves through shapes, layered constructions, embroidery + prints,” which is plain to see in these trousers, with each shape made to float above the other, without really being attached (Look closer + see what I mean.).

And let’s not dismiss the styling effort here; The pairing of a loosely cropped red cami, with large rivet detail, over an untucked short-sleeved white button-down shirt is perfect. Pure genius, wouldn’t you agree? Now had the designer agreed on using another fabric, I don’t think the execution would’ve been as successful in creating such flow of movement.want3

So if you too want to own a piece of art + or gain new fans, through sheer adulation, head over to NOT JUST A LABEL, for your very own ‘Rustic Organza Trousers’ by Juan Carlos Pajares.

Meditating On Being Female Never Looked So Fun + Powerful Like This


HER 3d cover

Famous essayist Anaïs Nin once said, “I take pleasure in my transformations. I look quiet + consistent, but few know how many women there are in me,” + yet, believe it or not, with the oversaturation of social media feeding everyone’s ego, therefore putting most of our many selves, if so lucky, on display, you have to wonder if we’re always putting our best selves forward for the world to see after all? But in ‘HER: Meditations On Being Female’ by Marjorie Salvattera copyright ©2016, published by Glitterati Incorporated, you get swept away on this personal journey of one woman’s quest of self-exploration. Now, such exploration knows no gender, since most humans are constantly evolving with every new person met or any new thing learned, to cause a transformation of said person, yet for this book, the reader is forced to assume the guise of a woman, in this case, that of Salvaterra.

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‘The Weight of Water’

39. UP


Through Marjorie’s lens, the viewer’s taken by their imaginary hand, to view various models in an array of scenarios, wearing simple yet subversively provocative costumes mostly comprised of huge afro wigs + different dresses. Some might even interpret the different looks shown throughout as uniforms a woman must don during her every day to assume the roles of mother, lover, martyr, survivor, temptress et al, simply to get by her pitfalls + triumphs.

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‘Bloom Where You’re Planted’

The women created here by Marjorie are full of strength, weakness, anger, humility + irony, yet beyond reproach, until you too have walked in the shoes of being a woman, which Salvaterra tries to reenact for the viewer. Most of the pics usually show a group of women performing the same movement, as if to be the extension of one woman creating an action with punctuated emotion that usually comes from the power of repetition. Sometimes, one model might be doing one action, while other model or models might be doing the opposite as if to give the picture motion through that original model’s actions, as in pic ‘Up’ above.

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‘Sheila Goes To Market’

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‘Old Venice Wash’

What’s also special about Marjorie’s pictures is how she also touches upon incredibly vital stages in every woman’s life, including aging, which is still very much stigmatized. Take the picture above entitled ‘Old Venice Wash’, showing an older model all done-up inside a Laundromat. It’s almost as if the ‘Laundromat’ signifies her life being full of routine that just keeps on moving, and yet, although she’s aging, she still looks fabulous no matter how mundane her life might appear.

4. Him


Additionally, Marjorie has an incredible sense of humor. In ‘Him’, she shows a woman laying her head down at dinner with a man who’s been caught in mid-sentence. What I love about this pic is how it symbolizes how the model doesn’t care if he’s there or not, as women no longer need men to feel validated.

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‘Her In Bloom’

Either way, this book is sure to bring a smile to anyone who has the pleasure of flipping through its pages, to witness for themselves how one woman’s meditation on being female is not a solitary journey by any means, but rather, one to be embraced by all. ‘HER: Meditations On Being Female’ by Marjorie Salvattera copyright ©2016, published by Glitterati Incorporated, is available for purchase at

Hood By Air’s Menswear Continues To Break Rules For Spring


Every season, Hood By Air’s Shane Oliver’s menswear collections provoke by making the ‘what ifs’ real with his relentless knack of foresight on what a person, regardless of gender, should be wearing. One thing that is a mainstay with Hood By Air (HBA) is logo placement, which Oliver admitted to VOGUE RUNWAY post-show, “We revisit things that people know about HBA here, like logo placement. Because it’s recognizable in the dark.” Then again, they always push newer ideas forward in the light, either in shapes or in words put together to form ideas that can be construed as stand-alone ideas if not, labels full of irony like the logo of ‘New World Loser’ seen below.


Of course, in the need for visibility in the ‘dark’, Oliver mentioned to VOGUE RUNWAY the apprehension to label his garments as menswear or womenswear, let alone present collections with those market restrictions resulting in boycotting the runway Paris “shows” in favor of atmospheric locales + unconventional formats. “We just want to celebrate Hood By Air in the men’s market,” said Oliver. “When people are reviewing it against something that is very tailored, it feels weird . . . we’re not competing with them.”

As usual, Hood By Air played with ideas that some might consider as totally unorthodox if not taboo including using an arm sling as an extension of a sleeve, if not, glorify the uniform as one would a pantsuit, which in + of itself can be considered a uniform by all accounts.



WANTED: ‘Corset Tie Off The Shoulder Top’ By Pixie Market

wantcytWhat’s not to love about this ‘Corset Tie Off The Shoulder Top’ by Pixie Market? Besides the stripe detailing which compliments this light blue so well, you have the exaggerated cuffs with tie detail + of course, the corset in the front! What’s even better about this top, as with anything with a corset is how it would accentuate your curves, but in case you don’t have any curves, this shirt will give life to curves that are not really there thanks to the faux peplum effect created.


Now, just because it’s a corseted top, doesn’t necessarily mean you must tie it either. It could easily be worn untied for a more relaxed look, almost avant-garde, with this ‘loose’ approach. I also adore the play of flirtation here, with the shoulders, collarbone, neck + upper back so exposed.



To start turning heads with this ‘Corset Tie Off The Shoulder Top’, head over to PIXIE MARKET.

Off-White’s Spring Swagger For Men


As cause and yvette continues to explore more of men’s fashion, there’s no denying how Virgil Abloh’s Off-White label is a true favorite. For Spring, Off-White’s surprising details continued to bring a smile to my face, including bleaching the bottom of a pair of jeans, giving one the impression of a very wide cuff, at a glance.

For Spring, the relaxed looks had an emphasis on text + symbols as decoration. The more casual looks included a black leather bomber jacket (below) with various patches on its front + sleeves, paired with black + white pinstriped long shorts, pulled-up white sneaker socks with black text  + black laced skateboarding kicks. Of course, the pant silhouette varied throughout the collection, with a choice between joggers, embellished with a sequined scorpion, an image that dominated a lot of the pieces, to long trousers + cropped light jeans with a frayed hem.


Imagery served as another form of decoration, from a knit green skeleton on a black sweater to photo-realistic digital prints either slipped into a top, including a sheer white tee (below, right), to being attached to the bottom of a black hoodie, peeking from underneath a knee-length coat (below, left). Yet, as casual as these looks might appear to most individuals, a lot of them still carry a lot of that Off-White swagger that any man with style could easily pull off.


(photos: Kim Weston Arnold |




WANTED: Ella Bomber Jacket-African Circle By Sabina Söderberg


If you haven’t met a huge pattern whore, then let me introduce myself!  When it comes to patterns, I’ve always loved them. No matter whether it’s because of their colorways or different shapes, they always lend interest to any look, + this ‘Ella Bomber Jacket-African Circle’ by Sabina Söderberg is no exception. With a color palette of black, white, yellow, blue, mint, hot + light pink + gray, + various geometric shapes, this jacket is a brilliant example.ebcy1

With its raglan sleeves, an open ended metal zip in the front + two big pockets on the chest, this jacket could easily go from day to night + vice versa due to its super interesting pattern + bright colors. Its collar, cuffs + waistband are black, which allow for the jacket’s colors to pop that much more.

Handmade in London + part of a collection with African influences, particularly the culture + appearance of a tribe called ‘The Wodaabe People’, is seasonless. Now for Summer, one could wear this jacket with striped pants, a cami + platform sandals, if not, tied around a slip dress, paired with Nike Cortez kicks + red lips. During colder months, I would wear this jacket as a liner peeking through a loudly patterned coat, paired with a rust or purple suede skirt + black turtleneck, or with a bright blue midi dress, adding silver leather opera length gloves worn over the jacket sleeves + funky shoes.


So if you want to add such interest to your already fabulous wardrobe, the Ella Bomber Jacket-African Circle’ by Sabina Söderberg is available at NOT JUST A LABEL.