Every day is an adventure... dress accordingly!

City Winery

Thank You for Being A Friend

My parents, bless their hearts and extreme hard work, immigrated to this country from Turkey about 40 years ago. I was born and raised here, the first on both sides of the family, with Turkish being my first language. The mishmash, or rather clashing, of the Turkish and American cultures was, well…very interesting. I was kept under a pop cultural rock for most of my childhood, since much of American television didn’t coincide with my dad’s ways. I recall not being allowed to watch “Married With…Children” but I was allowed to watch the “Golden Girls” (which really made no sense, since Kelly Bundy may have been promiscuous and ditzy, but so were the fabulous elderly women of Miami). Anyhow, Blanche, Dorothy, Rose and Sophia are forever my homegirls and much of their style and sarcastic humor have resonated with me throughout my life. 

Cut to this past Monday, when I started my evening with dessert as my appetizer. I’ve long heard great things about the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, but never made it there. Since it was directly along my travels, I popped in for a bite (insert a “life is short” or any other meaningful quip that justifies eating ice cream before a balanced meal).


(Location: 61 Grove Street, NYC)

My sweet tooth was met with too many delicious choices, but I went with product design and voted for the “Bea Arthur.” Vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and crushed vanilla wafers came together to formulate the ultimate Golden Girl (Sophia would’ve totally been proud of her ‘pussycat’, Dorothy, who in real life is honored here in ice cream form for her major support of the Ali Forney Center, which houses homeless LGBT youth).




I also had the sweetest guy behind the counter, asking me as I was scarfing the goods like a slovenly pig if it was to my liking. I told him I would’ve ordered another if I didn’t have dinner plans. I reluctantly bid adieu to the rainbow loving unicorn mascot etched on the front window, but knew I had much more fun in store that evening.


(Love cotton candy colored sunsets during my walk – New York sure knows how to show off sometimes!)

With the company of my great friend Ricky, I attended a fabulous soiree of sorts at the City Winery in downtown Manhattan. What a beautiful venue it was, but other than the stunning ambiance and décor, the most striking thing you notice upon entering was how incredibly stylish and unique the crowd was. And I sure wasn’t the only one who noticed! The sweet garcon that walked me to my table whispered to me “I’ve never felt so underdressed!” I could only reply “Me too!”, because even though I thought I was killing it in one of my more fun ensembles (I’m really into wearing dresses and pants these days), I certainly didn’t take it to the “nth degree” like these glamazons obviously always do.


The night was celebrating the new documentary, “Advanced Style,” which is not only a blog by genius creator Ari Seth Cohen, but rather a movement drawing attention to the most stylish group that is often overlooked. Ari brilliantly showcases the elderly women of New York City, who despite their ascending ages and growing ailments, never cease to strut the sidewalks as if it were their own personal runway. In fact, many of the women grew more into their inner style during the progression of their elder years, as they have less and less cares. Some of the stars of the film were on stage alongside Ari and host for the evening (and of eccentric glamour in general), Simon Doonan for a Q & A.


DSC07383Nice to meet you, Ari!

The women rather bluntly and comically shared their opinions on plastic surgery, Kim Kardashian’s uninspiring style, boundless fashion and the beauty of life. All of the women had a joie de vivre that is sadly missing from someone in their twenties. These women have been through many things in life, yet still enthusiastically approach each day as a gift and a reason to try something new.


I mean, c’mon. AMAZING.


When I told these women I was underdressed, they told me I haven’t lived long enough yet! 🙂


I just didn’t even want to blink when I came across this work of art. Her pink streak is everything!

The most touching to me was Ilona Royce Smithkin, who is 94 years young. This artist and her befitting red hair perfectly ended the evening with a feather boa accessorized cabaret performance. Ilona gave great advice, such as “always think of one thing you accomplished today, even if it was making a great cup of coffee” and “you’re never too old to start something new.” She also never buys green bananas, fearing she may never make it to see them ripe!


Love you so much, Ilona.


She also advised to surround yourself with positive people, and not those who incessantly complain because it will affect you and your thinking. She never stops smiling and her effervescent personality is simply a glowing aura that permeates the souls of those around her – just by batting her long, fiery lashes that she creates from locks of her own hair (watch the movie!).


A blurry pic of my fashion fairy godmother, Tziporah Salamon

When Tziporah Salamon stepped on the stage, I grabbed Ricky’s arm and gasped as I felt like my fashion fairy godmother descended from the heavens. She was a geisha-inspired sensation, with embroidered Asian silks and tassels dangling from her shoulders and hat, and poses ready for an editorial. Her vivacious character and spunk is truly showcased in the film, as she demonstrates her daily bicycle riding without a helmet, because it would ruin the cohesiveness of her ensemble.


Lynn Dell Cohen perfectly voguing for me

Other notable appearances are Lynn Dell Cohen, who owns the Off Broadway Vintage Boutique on the Upper West Side. She says she dresses up daily for the theater called life and calls her get-ups her “costumes.” Also, the creative texture manipulator Debra Rapoport, who stunned the crowd when she stated that her hat was made from paper towels.


Her hat is made of paper towels. Paper towels! Floored.

I ended the night perfectly by meeting, Jacquie Tajah Murdoch, who was one of the original dancers of the Apollo Theatre. Her statuesque frame is continuously dolled up in ultra-feminine and glamorous wares, which is iconically and brilliantly demonstrated in a Lanvin ad campaign her and Tziporah starred in (though if you ask her, she was the star – love the diva attitude). She is now legally blind, yet you wouldn’t really know it because of the way she gracefully carries herself. I approached her outside and told her she was absolutely gorgeous and a magnificent fashion icon. She replied, just as she did when she was on stage during the Q&A, “No, I am not! You are your own fashion icon and you just be true to yourself.”


Love you, Jacquie the diva!

This evening summed up pretty much everything that is in my heart on a daily basis, and oh-so-perfectly during my birthday week! Aging isn’t scary, not actually living is. Count your blessings every single day. Surround yourself with those people who live and breathe light and separate yourself from those choosing to live in darkness. Do not give the slightest shit what others think if it makes you and your heart happy. Stay active and take care of yourself. Don’t put age limits on anything – everything is possible!



And if you threw a party, invited everyone you knew, you would see the biggest gift would be from me, and the card attached would say, “THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND!” (Thank you Ricky Alas for your company and photography! Love you!) 


(I’m rocking a vintage dress, Club Monaco belt, Gap pants & hat, Calvin Klein shoes and a Marc Jacobs Pan Am bag)

I’m still dreaming about Joyce Carpati’s stunning and luminous skin at 82 years young.  Make sure you see “Advanced Style”, out in select theaters today! Also, check out more of Ari’s blog here! Ciao!

Posted by Olga Turka at 2014/09/27 3:18 AM No Comments
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