Cool old dudes in great clothes: The Wisdom Tapes

Photographer Andrew Zuckerman’s new book and video on Wisdom is a fantastic project where a whole bunch of older, successful individuals come together to pass on great stuff they’ve learnt. Good idea, but what makes this truly terrific is the way everyone looks.

We don’t have many good visual role models as we get older, the media is so blinkered towards beauty and style needing a young face and body that good looking older people are almost invisible. This book offers up some very cool dudes wearing their wrinkles with considerable style.

The men look really good. We love Desmond Tutu’s blingy silver cross, as covetable a religious symbol as we’ve ever seen, and David Amram’s jumble of silver and turquoise necklaces worn against a simple black shirt indicate a strong sense of individuality. It looks as if he’s been collecting them all his life.

Mary Quant’s tailored neatness –her signature look for design- has served her well as she still looks amazing in her navy chalk stripe trousers and perfect cotton shirt, livened up with an edgy silver-studded leather belt. A lesson in simple and chic.

The poised elegance of Lella Vignelli is a joy to observe, her sleek silver hair perfectly complimenting her sculptural silver necklace. You don’t need to be told that she’s an architect.

Ravi Shankar’s toffee coloured paisley wool shawl is swept casually over his shoulder and looks both elegant and comfortable, balanced with that enigmatic white smudge on his forhead. As an artist, Chuck Close’s glasses belie his appreciation of shape and colour balance.

But by far our favourite is the artist Andrew Wyeth, who wears his facial wrinkles like an accessory. His skin looks soft and warm and is sculpted into an undulating landscape of life-experience. Teamed with his modernist black tailored suit and retro black turtle neck, he’s one stylish dude and proof that personal style as well as wisdom, can improve with age.

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