"Advanced Style" is Ari Seth Cohen’s blog and book tribute to the femme d’un certain age, and the idea that confidence, beauty and fashion can be achieved only through a life lived boldly.

Cohen collects fashion images focused on the 60-and-over set in sophisticated cities, where the women are living their later years with grace and style, however interpreted. The visuals and words provide inspiration for everyone, proving once and for all that age is nothing but a number.

You need not fly to New York to find them, either. There are some living right here in Lafayette.

Like Texas lady Pat Olson, a trailblazer in her time and always impeccably dressed, there’s a reason businessmen file by her table to pay their respects. The unofficial ambassador of the symphony and a Petroleum Club mainstay, her favorite haunt is still La Fonda on a Friday, where staff simply refer to her as “She” with a capital S.

Then there's Gretchen Stewart, whose home mirrors her unique style and penchant for collecting, from her cowboy boots to her Corvette. The stuffed leopard prowling the back of the divan is just one of her fearless décor choices, and Champagne at her house is unforgettable. Pat Miller with her Hollywood hair recalls the days of Lauren Bacall. And, speaking of, Bacall retained her glamour until the end of her days. Penny Edwards, who may have traded fur coats for environmental concerns, still commands the room as only a redhead can.

Because in the words of the great Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, “Elegance does not consist of putting on a new dress.”

Better yet, she also said, “As long as you know men are like children, you know everything.”


Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at pgannon@theadvocate.com.

LBA Hall of Fame

The Lafayette Bar Association honored its own with an elegant Le Pavilion banquet and awards ceremony. The fourth annual event of its kind, Hall of Fame inductees are recognized for their exceptional contributions to the profession, the Bar and the public. Taking that long walk to the podium were LSU law grads Pat Ottinger and Richard Chappuis, criminal defense attorney Gerald Block, U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Eugene Davis, while posthumous awards went to Ed McGlasson and Diana Simon. Holding court and cocktails were Ed and Elaine Abell, Judge Francie and Ken Bouillion, Kyle and Monique Gideon, event chair Glenn Edwards, Lafayette Bar Association President-elect Donnie O’Pry and his next-in-line Maggie Simar.

All the President’s Men

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette hosted a dramatic unveiling of presidential portraits at the Edith Garland Dupré Library. Hosted by the UL-Lafayette Foundation Board of Trustees, the Champagne reception and speeches officially welcomed the likenesses of Edwin Stephens, Lether Frazar, Joel Fletcher Jr., Clyde Rougeou and Ray Authement. Created by artist Janine Collins, the portraits commemorate past university presidents from 1900 through 2008 and reflect the era and accomplishments of each. Heralding their arrival were Joseph and Gail Savoie, Herbert and Renee Schilling, incoming Foundation Chairman Joe Giglio Jr., athletic director Bryan Maggard and wife Kerry and emcee for the evening Wayne Elmore. Guests left with individually-wrapped acorn pins, a simple reminder of growth and strength.

The Right Stuff

This event certainly had it. The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum kicked off its fall exhibitions with a VIP cocktail party. There was rosé, chardonnay, Vodka Ritas and more as fall’s first cold front brought out the art elites to hear remarks by director LouAnne Greenwald and curator Laura Blereau. Artist Joan Tanner autographed books in honor of her exhibit, CONTINGENt while across the way, “Crafting the Louisiana Sound” opened in the A. Hays Town building, courtesy of Anya Burgess and Chris Segura. Taking it all in were Brett and Donna Mellington, David and Julie Fox, Raoul Blanco, Aaron Martin, concert pianist Chan Kiat Lim and retired visual arts professor Lynda Frese, soon to be holding some events of her own, we’re told. What we loved: May Waggoner’s silver statement necklace and the sweet pork sausage that was passed around, a culinary statement of its own.