Along the Gulfshore


Senior Style Is the New Black

Ari Seth Cohen, photographer behind the Advanced Style project, comes to Naples as part of a weeklong benefit celebration of women of a certain age.

It’s a drizzly day in Manhattan, and Ari Seth Cohen is going through his typical routine managing the quaint and cozy coffee shop located inside the New Museum of New York. But then, of the many people who pass through his shop, the patter of one set of footsteps causes him to glance up. When he does, he can’t help but notice the magenta-haired, petite figure shedding her rain-spotted coat before him. Debra Rapoport, a stylish, older woman, has stopped in to escape the dreary weather. As she is hanging her coat on the brass hook, Ari approaches her with excitement.

He asks her if he could take her picture, for his blog that he created for women over the age of 60. Rapoport quickly responds, “How do you know I’m over 60?”

From that moment on, the two’s relationship blossomed into one unique and vibrant.

Ari Seth Cohen is a world-renowned author, fashion photographer and well-recognized blogger. He is the mastermind behind Advanced Style, a project devoted to capturing the beauty and chic elegance of older women. Cohen credits his grandmother as his inspiration to create what he believes is an “impactful movement.” With his inventive mind and vision, he sets forth to bring visibility to the older generations and encourage their creativity.

Rapoport is an iconic fixture in Cohen’s popular blog, along with many other sophisticated women. She has also been featured in his related book, and now documentary. The chic 70-year-old is known for her quirky ensembles, untraditional yet edgy accessories, and confidence. 

Cohen and Rapoport travel to different cities and diverse communities giving motivational speeches to all walks of life. In fact, they both will be coming to Naples this month to inspire others to live life abundantly, along with the opportunity to create some of Rapoport’s iconic pieces in a series of workshops. Here’s the lineup, which benefits the Jewish Family and Community Services of Southwest Florida Senior Center:

  • Friday, Jan. 20: UP Art and Design Gallery will host the first decorative event. New York fashion artist Debra Rapoport will be showcasing her unique hats and stylish cuffs through a series of workshops. Also featured will be a special collection of jewelry art by designer Merle Weismer. 340 Eighth St. S.
  • Sunday, Jan. 22: Naples’ finest can spend the afternoon sipping tea and making conversation with both artists at UP Art and Design Gallery, at an event they say is “tailored for the curious, gregarious, older and wiser fashionista!” Same as location listed above                   
  • Tuesday, Jan. 24: True Joy Studio will be hosting an art Cuff Design Workshop with Rapoport. These aren’t your average wrist accessories—the materials used include paper, cardboard toilet paper rolls, Viva towels and more. 6240 Shirley St., Unit 201, Naples
  • Friday, Jan. 27: UNITY of Naples will also be hosting a Hat Workshop with Rapoport. Partakers will learn about the creative processes she takes when designing such unique top-wear, as well as the opportunity to exercise their own artistic expression. 2000 Unity Way, Naples                                                                               
  • Tuesday, Jan. 31: Grey Oaks Country Club hosts The Benefit Cocktail Party and Show: An Afternoon of “Advanced Style,” presented by McKenney Home Care and Preferred Travel of Naples. The talented Ari Seth Cohen will be joining his muse, Rapoport, to celebrate the unique and sophisticated style of the mature woman. 2400 Grey Oaks Drive N., Naples