IF YOU ARE unfamiliar with the blog Advanced Style, please, do yourself a favor and become a fan. Helmed by Ari Seth Cohen in New York City, it is a street-fashion blog, but instead of focusing on the off-duty models and magazine editors, it chronicles the fabulous and often eccentric daily looks of 65-plus-year-old subjects. There's a certain brand of fabulous women of a certain age that New York is particularly adept at producing, grand dames in large hats and personality for days, alongside men who still dress for Sundays and are on a first-name basis with shoe shines. Advanced Style celebrates their un-self-conscious glory, serving as a too-rare beacon on the media landscape that actually glamorizes the aging process.
Advanced Style, like many popular fashion blogs, already has a coffee-table book on the market, so the most recent addition to the franchise goes a different route: Advanced Style: The Coloring Book. Forget the fact that this medium is perfect for further comment on age-appropriateness; the project was largely driven by the illustrator, Ilan Schraer, a friend of Cohen's since high school and Portland resident. "I didn't want to simplify it too much or have it look too cartoon-y," says Schraer. "Ari and I talked about wanting it to remain faithful to the photos as much as possible."
Schraer typically works as an artist using watercolors and shading, and was interested in translating his portraiture style into the line drawing conducive to coloring. Long a fan of his friend's blog, he was drawn to the photographs, and after floating the idea, sent Cohen some sketches. Drawn to the "expressiveness and confidence" of the subjects, he eventually compiled a small batch of drawings that they self-published in a run of 150. They put them on Etsy for $10 each and sold out in a single day. At that point, powerHouse Books—which also published the blog's photo book—approached them to do a bigger, fuller version, which just went on sale last week. After a bit of editing and the addition of more drawings, plus extras like a paper doll cutout, interviews, and word games, the new edition is being featured this week at an opening at N Mississippi's Flutter boutique in conjunction with an art show of Schraer's work.
"It's mostly just supposed to be fun," says Schraer. "We like the idea of parents buying it for their kids to give them a more positive view of aging, or having them work on it together with their grandparents. We thought people would like it for the variety." Advanced Style: The Coloring Book/Ilan Schraer art show, Flutter, 3948 N Mississippi, Thurs Sept 12, 5-8 pm.
Portland doesn't have just one fashion week anymore. The official-sounding Portland Fashion Week (PFW) is still happening, although it's under new management. The Portland Fashion Week you used to know basically turned into FASHIONxt, which isn't until October. It is confusing, isn't it? Add to that the downtown retail event and runway show Fall into Fashion, and you've got yourself a tidy little calendar of shows to attend. (All PFW events are all ages and take place at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE MLK, portlandfashionweek.net)
Wed Sept 11
Warm up with Fall into Fashion, which celebrates all that downtown Portland has to offer shoppers. Look for parties, giveaways, and trunk shows, plus a runway of new looks from participants every half hour. Fall into Fashion runway, Director Park, SW Yamhill & Park, 5:30-7:30 pm, free, downtownportland.org
Thurs Sept 12
Tonight's "Future of Fashion"-themed show kicking off Portland Fashion Week features students and graduates in the apparel design program of the Art Institute of Portland, as well as specially selected emerging designers like lingerie designer Rachel Rector, and boutiques E.G. Page and NE Portland's Adorn. w/DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid, 6 pm doors, 8 pm show, $20-140
Fri Sept 13
PFW utilizes the lunch hour slot for a runway of bridal looks by popular designers like Sophie Chang and Sunjin Lee. w/Ian James, 11 am doors, 12:30 pm show, $20-40
This evening PFW takes on ready to wear. In particular, look for designs by the clubby Hello Eliza, glammy Nelli Millard, and well-tailored, lighthearted beauties from Brady Lange. Also, there's an '80s-themed after party. Because... everyone loves the '80s? w/Ian James, Mega Music, 6 pm doors, 8 pm show, $20-140
Sat Sept 14
A morning kids' clothing show dominated by big-box retailers from the Woodburn outlets. w/Alana Raye, 10 am doors, 11 am show, $20-50
An athletic and outdoor showcase of obscure brands like Reebok and Puma. 1 pm doors, 2:30 pm show, $20-50
The "Dream Luxe Finale" features high-end designers like Seattle's Devonation, as well as a '90s themed after party. Because the '90s come after the '80s. w/Alana Raye, Mega Music, 6 pm doors, 8 pm show, $20-140
Be sure to check mod.portlandmercury.com and @MercuryFashion on Twitter for brutally honest coverage all week long!