Tag: books

Advanced Style: Ageless Fashion

k150_28Stiletto_City_heel_iconSZDIt all started with an inspiring grandmother. After losing her, photographer Ari Seth Cohen moved to New York, a city she always told he’d do well in, and began shooting older stylish women in an attempt to feel he’s grandmother’s spirit in his life again. Starting a blog Advanced Style, the photos became an internet sensation. These women, in their 60’s, 70s, 80s, even 90s weren’t invisible, grey-haired, frumpy-clothed, withering flowers. They were vibrant, full of color and a fantastical sense of ageless fashion. Their stylish looks as alive as they were, telling the world they were living life to the fullest and looking their best, no matter what anyone thinks.

Valerie, Jean, Debra Rapoport, Diana Gabriel, Carol Markel: Advanced Style
                  Valerie, Jean, Debra Rapoport, Diana Gabriel, Carol Markel: Advanced Style

Then came a book,  and a film showcasing these wonderful, stylish women. Ari started a movement – to see older women for their delightful, fashion-loving selves, all that they’ve accomplished and all they represent as bold, beautiful personalities full of world experiences that serve and an uncontainable force and inspiration to others.

Now he has a second book, “Advanced Style: Older and Wiser,” and I had the pleasure of seeing many of Ari’s women in person at the recent panel discussion at Book Soup – an iconic indie bookstore on the Sunset Strip that serves as a cultural epicenter for authors and those who celebrate a culture of enlightenment through books.

Valerie Von Sobel, Advanced Style
Valerie Von Sobel, Advanced Style

I stood in the audience as the ladies in the book entered the store and took a seat in the front. The tiny space allotted for readings forced them to step carefully through chairs squeezed between bookshelves, but also gave us a chance to check out their awe-inspiring beauty and amazing outfits. (Book Soup, you really need to a bigger space for these events!)

Colleen Heidermann, Advanced Style
Colleen Heidermann, Advanced Style

We learned a little about each lady and their lives. There’s Colleen, age 75, a stunning beauty who stays active by jogging 5 miles a day. Joy, age 77, a cancer survivor who has dedicated her life to the helping the developmentally disabled through her fashion-focused charity Helpers. Pearl, age 61, who was once married to the bass player in the Clash, performs in her own alternative band, has a handbag line, and uses music to feed her spirit.

Pearl Harbour, Advanced Style
Pearl Harbour, Advanced Style

Every lady shared a bit of their extraordinary life, not as a star, but as a message that everyone has their own story that is worth sharing. It was funny to hear how many had worn uniforms in school and relished the freedom they now have to express themselves and most were inspired by their mother’s fashion sense.

They all displayed their unique sense of style and urged their audience, hungry for their wisdom, to be yourself, go forth and never let age be hindrance.

I couldn’t help but approach some of these ladies to sign a copy of the book I bought for my mother, who has been my own fashion inspiration. And I have to give a heartfelt thank you especially to Joy, who upon learning my mother was in the hospital, wrote a loving note to her that brought tears to my eyes. Her kindness will never be forgotten.

With Joy Venturini Bianchi, Advanced Style
With Joy Venturini Bianchi, Advanced Style

What a wonderful bunch of ladies! There are few times in life that we want to feel older instead of younger, but these ladies make it look so good I wish I too was “Advanced” so I could join their pack and hang with them all day!

What I Wore

I couldn’t go see a bunch of stylish ladies without a bringing some color to the party myself. So I put on my bright, vintage, ‘60s shift dress and go-go-style leather boots, paired with a swirly multi-colored bakelite bracelet and ‘60s-style clutch by V’s Bellos Tesoros, that I won by vying for it in an Instagram contest.

OOTD 1960s vintage style

What to Wear

If books are an inspiration to you like they are to me, show how much you love them by letting some bookworm style and ageless fashion sense shine through with this adorable bookshelf skirt topped with a ruffle-collar, vintage-inspired top. A snappy pair of wedge-heeled shoes will keep you comfy while browsing through bookstores and you can pay for your new reading finds by reaching into a book-shaped handbag. Click the links to shop* this look!

Book Lovers Style


Book Soup is located at 8818 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Be sure to check out:

Advanced Style

Advanced Style: Older and Wiser

Advanced Style: The Film

Photos from the book courtesy of Advanced Style

Go forth and conquer – in style,

Photos edited with PicMonkey*. Get it!


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Tag: books

Discovering Little Osaka in DVF

k150_25heel iconI discovered yet another exciting area of Los Angeles this past weekend as I set out to support Small Business Saturday, or in this case “Caturday,” as Giant Robot and the gallery annex GR2 next door, featured a collection of writers and illustrators who prominently feature cats in their work.

Giant Robot has been a long-standing destination for Japanese toys, comics, books, art prints and novelties on the once desolate Sawtelle Boulevard in West LA. I was surprised to find the area has erupted in the past year as a street full of shops and restaurants. Known as Little Osaka, for catering to local Japanese-American residents and being to the west of (and rivaling) downtown’s Little Tokyo, it was quite the hot spot on this clear Saturday night with locals out in search of unique gifts, some karaoke or a taste for the boba tea, Korean tofu, traditional Japanese ramen or BBQ.

Diane Von Furstenberg Dress DVF n Little Osaka, Los Angeles

It was the perfect night to show off my first Diane von Furstenberg DVF dress. I finally scored one at a price I could afford on eBay and learned why everyone has talked about her silky jersey fabrics. It just fell so nicely around my body the minute I put it on and I just love the bold print. It made me realize why the brand claims to be for the girl who is “effortless, sexy and on the go.” I was so happy to finally be able to wear one of DVF’s designs after meeting her a couple of weeks ago. [See the report here.]

Inside GR2, authors Mari Naomi, Zoe Ruiz, Yumi Sakugawa and Jen Wang read from their books under a slideshow of some of their illustrations. I have the say Mari Naomi’s reading had me laughing the hardest with her witty writing and animated presence. I was also especially excited about the refreshments served – Hello Kitty Lotte Pies – meow!

Giant Robot Reading Los Angeles

After the reading, we strolled the bustling district in search of a good place for dinner and ended up at Hide Sushi for some super fresh and very affordable rolls. I highly recommend the yellowtail roll. Yum!

The best thing about this new lively area of Los Angeles is an opportunity to take a walk before and after dinner, and do some people watching, window shopping – and maybe show off a new DFV dress!

Little Osaka is located just north of the intersection of Sawtelle and Olympic in West Los Angeles.

Go fashionable or go home,
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Tag: books

Meeting Diane von Furstenberg at DVF Santa Monica

k150_24heel iconKnown for the iconic wrap dress of the ‘70s that made her a household name, Diane von Furstenberg is a legendary designer who has been turning out lines of gorgeous, colorful, flowing prints for several decades. The Belgian-born designer established herself not only as a fashion icon but became a strong supporter of women’s empowerment through the years. She’s a cancer survivor and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, proving she herself is pretty tough stock.

When I heard Diane would be in LA this week, I had to figure out a way to go see her. So after a long day at work, I braved the traffic for the drive across the city to attend her book signing at her new store in Santa Monica.

Kastle and DVF

Diane’s been on my mind a lot lately, I recently purchased her new memoir*, “The Woman I Wanted To Be” on audio book and I’ve been watching her new reality show, “House of DVF” on E! Entertainment. She is such a strong, stylish woman, I can’t help but be drawn to her like the many others who showed up to meet her at the book signing.

Diane Von Furstenberg, Santa Monica

Diane Von Furstenberg, Santa Monica

The new DVF store just opened in Santa Monica this month and it is like walking into a fashion candy store – with all of Diane’s trademark pop art-style splashes of color, metallics and prints inspired by nature and pure glamour – leaves, flowers, stars, animal prints, kisses. And while she is known for the wrap dress, she does so much more – accessories from iPad cases to scarves and shoes. I only wish I could afford them!

Diane Von Furstenberg, Santa Monica

I did splurge to purchase the large, limited-edition table top book* “DVF: Journey of a Dress” to have her sign it and because I loved the exhibit in LA earlier this year (See Disco K.’s special report about it HERE.)

As I sat down with her on the hot pink couch in the boutique, I couldn’t help but be a bit star-struck. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of celebrities since living in LA and working as an entertainment journalist, but Diane is mega, and she holds a special spot in my heart for reasons I shared with her during our brief chat.

Diane Von Furstenberg, Santa Monica


Diane Von Furstenberg, Santa Monica

Post meeting, I strolled around the store looking at her beautiful clothes and headed back to my car to listen to Diane’s fabulously-accented voice reading her memoir to me on the drive home. I’m on the last chapter and wishing there was more, but she’s left me inspired in so many ways. As I work towards the goals I have for myself, I think, ‘What would Diane do?’

“Be the woman you want to be,” I would hear her say.

Thank you Diane for being a role model, an inspiration, a girl’s girl and a creator of fabulous fashions!

Diane Von Furstenberg (DVF) Santa Monica is located at 395 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Fashion forward,


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Tag: books

Reading: Jerry Stahl, DH Peligro, Jack Grisham, Iris Berry

k150_23SZDheel iconI’m a writer. It’s been my calling since I was a kid. For luck or talent, I’ve made a career of it, writing for major newspapers and blogging for corporations and for myself. I have a memoir that’s been in the works for as long as I can remember. Writing is hard and it’s always personal. Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” That’s why I always get so inspired when I go to readings by those I respect.  Recently, I attended a reading at Stories Books in Echo Park  where writing and punk rock collided.

Iris Berry
First up was  Iris Berry, one of LA’s iconic scenesters for her bands The Ringling Sisters and Lame Flames. Iris was always known as a rocker and a poet, her bands often working spoken word and jazz riffs into their songs. She’s now a publisher at Punk Hostage Press with an impressive roster of writers. For her reading, from her book “Daughters of Bastards,”* it felt like a slam poetry session, with guitar accompaniment from Fred Spigelman. Iris poured out the hard feelings, leaving the audience in awe of her honesty. Nice job.


DH Peligro
Next up, DH Peligro, long-time drummer for the punk band, The Dead Kennedys, read from his memoir, “Dreadnaught: King of Afropunk.”* But it felt less like a reading and more like just a night of hanging out. Peligro often lost his place while reading and just took off his glasses and told the stories from memory about his old punk days in San Francisco, about being too scared to go up to Joe Strummer and coming to LA on the advice of Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was like a night around the campfire with this talented writer/musician.


Jack Grisham
Jack Grisham, of the legendary SoCal band TSOL was up next and he was having a bad day, starting off his reading by proclaiming that pretty much everywhere he goes something bad happens, especially around the holidays. And boy did his book “Untamed”* have some stories! He admitted that though he writes about “fictional” characters, all of them have a little bit of himself in them. Clearly he’s had quite a life.  He said he felt a little unprepared for this reading, but the audience didn’t feel it. His stories and personality were so entertaining, you couldn’t help but want more.


Jerry Stahl
Last but certainly not least, was one of my favorite writers, Jerry Stahl, author of one of my all-time favorite books, “Permanent Midnight.”* Jerry may not be known for being in a punk band (he’s a very successful screenwriter) but he’s punk rock for sure. He read from his latest, “Happy Mutant Baby Pills,”*  stories of a guy who writes the side effect warnings for prescription drugs and ponders the lyrical appeal of the term, “anal leakage.” Even Jerry himself had to pause and tell the audience, “When you’re writing something at 3 a.m., you don’t imagine having to say it in front of a roomful of people!” This one is definitely going on my reading list!


Read more books,

Photos by Kastle Waserman


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