Senior style in film, classes at Greenwich House

At the Greenwich House screening of “Advanced Style,” Debra Rapoport, who is profiled in the documentary film, sported a hat and bracelets made from “upcycled” household materials. Photos by Tequila Minsky

BY TEQUILA MINSKY | Ilona Royce Smithkin is a fire-engine red carrottop 91-year-old spitfire and Greenwich Village artist. She is also a member of the Greenwich House senior center on Barrow St.

Her puckish face graces the promotional material and the DVD cover of “Advanced Style,” a documentary film about women of a certain age and their embrace of fashion as an art form.

Smithkin is one of seven women profiled in the 2014 film, which examines how their personal style and vibrant spirit has guided their approach to aging.

Seniors at the Greenwich House center recently had the opportunity to see the flick in their “screening room” — the smaller of their dining rooms.

The film’s refreshing, light tone and its subjects’ love of life delighted Greenwich House members and left them energized.

“I’m inspired,” one member pronounced at the movie’s conclusion.

The film is an outgrowth of Ari Seth Cohen’s  photo book of the same name. The book, which includes text, is an ode to the confidence, beauty and fashion achieved through living glamorously by women in their later years.

The book evolved from Cohen’s blog, which was inspired by his own grandmother’s unique personal style and his lifelong interest in the put-together fashion of vibrant seniors.

While Smithkin was not at the event — she is currently at her Massachusetts studio — a discussion with another of the film’s creatively clad subjects followed the screening.

Debra Rapoport showed Greenwich House members photos from Ari Seth Cohen’s book “Advanced Style” during a screening of the documentary film of the same name.

Westbeth resident Debra Rapoport arrived looking fabulous, wearing apparel and accessories that she creates — including a hat from paper towels and bracelets from toilet paper rolls.

The screening was also an appetizer to a “Fabulous Fashion” series of jewelry-making workshops at the Greenwich Village senior center that Rapoport will be leading. The workshops will be held the first Tuesday of each month, starting July 5, for the next four months, at 1:30 p.m. Rapoport will guide participants in how to creatively “upcycle” paper products into wearables.

Anthony Cilione, director of the Judith White Senior Center, the Greenwich House center on Barrow St., explained that the free classes are open to anyone over age 60. Membership to the center is also free.

“We ask you to register,” he said.

The movie “Advanced Style” is part of the center’s popular film program. The center, at 27 Barrow St., shows films, including classics, Mondays and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., followed by discussion.