Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ilona Shines in 'Advanced Style'

Ilona Royce Smithkin, a Provincetown treasure, appears in Advanced Style, a delightful documentary
about fashion, style and spirit among women who are turning heads even as they are turning older.
Provincetown's own Ilona Royce Smithkin, at the age of 94, charms the audience as she shares the screen with a number of other stunning women of a certain age, each creating their own fabulous look and sense of style, despite their advancing years. This upbeat documentary is the feature film debut of Lina Plioplyte, who one day discovered the blog Advanced Style by fashion enthusiast Ari Seth Cohen, and she became intrigued by the attitudes of the women she found in Cohen's photographs. The film debuted this past September and was screened in PTown several times during Women's Week.
Cohen's blog had taken shape when he began noticing stylishly dressed older women on the streets of New York City, and began photographing their spirited use of colors, hats, shapes and all sorts of accessories, each one creating an absolutely unique style for herself. He wanted to share his photos and show the individuality and self-confidence these women were exhibiting as they dressed exactly as they pleased, regardless of anyone else's opinions, and as he asked permission to take their photos, friendships began to form with a number of these very independent doyennes of style.
One of these women is Ilona, who divides her time between her Provincetown and New York apartments, spending her summers swimming in Provincetown Harbor and enjoying the view and the sea breeze from the balcony of her third floor, water front Commercial Street apartment in the East End, in the heart of Provincetown's Gallery District. Ilona's distinctive paintings and drawings can be found in the Karilon Gallery, at 441 Commercial Street, on her website Ilona and Friends, in the permanent collection of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and in a number of important private collections. Her work has included landscapes, nudes, still lifes, and portraits of Tennessee Williams, Ayn Rand and a host of other famous subjects.
A renowned artist, teacher, and in the last few years, a chanteuse, Ilona now performs in Eyelash Cabaret, the wildly popular annual PAAM fundraiser, sharing the stage with singer, songwriter and "band in a body" musician Zoe Lewis, who met Ilona many years ago, and wrote a song about her unique eyelashes.
Click this link to find "90 Is The New 40," a Huffington Post article on Ilona written by Ari Cohen in 2011, as Ilona was turning 90, and watch the four-minute video you'll find there. If you don't already know Ilona, you'll fall in love with her on the spot. You'll find out the story behind those eyelashes, too. See more of Ilona, and other strong, stylish women, when you watch Advanced Style, streaming on Netflix, and watch for the DVD to be released at a future date.

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