A new group of unaware influencers is taking social media by storm. Not only they are considered some of the most stylish women in New York City, but they’re also older and richer than your average 20-something creator online.
The Ladies Of Madison Avenue –this is their name- would have certainly kept looking cool and quietly attending posh events, celebrating their golden years if Joshua Kamei, a freelance New York-based womenswear designer, hadn’t started to capture the timeless elegance of Manhattan’s high society through digital photography, interviewing them and then documenting what they’re wearing, creating one of the most popular TikTok accounts (over 122,000 followers).
Amongst women Kamei has put his focus on are Marilyn Kirschner, former senior fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar and currently editor in chief of Look on Line, the longest-running fashion publication in the world, model and activist Bethann Hardison, and Maureen Footer, who wrote three books on Dior.
“What I found is that there’s a reason they have so much style,” he says to Refinery29. “Clothes are the reason that I stop them, but it’s always nice when they can give you a little pearl of wisdom or something about themselves.” But he says the allure also comes from seeing New York women in their habitat. “I know that because so many people who are not from New York follow and write to me. I almost feel like it’s our duty as New Yorkers to get dressed up,” he explains.
As reported by The Thaiger, Kamei’s lens has captured everyone from an elegantly dressed, nameless older couple at a traffic light to the former Welsh model and creative director of Vogue, Grace Coddington, seen strolling Park Avenue in black attire, and even a younger couple at the Metropolitan Opera, with the woman donning her mother’s sleek charcoal skirt.
Looking up to Audrey Hepburn and his own glamorous grandmother, Kamei firmly believes that age is not the determinant of chic. Sometimes, he notes, some women exude an aura that transcends their clothes and leaves an indelible impression. And we couldn’t agree more. You might argue that it’s just another way of showcasing wealth. But still, what intrigues us is the way these chic ladies show their personal style, including the time and the investment they take to develop it.
Amongst the style lessons we can learn from them is confidence, “this is what we all need to get through life“, explains Kamei to Guest Of A Guest. “Attention to detail, an effort that appears effortless, buying investment pieces, and accessories are key too. Don’t save precious items for special occasions. Wear your jewellery, use your grandmother’s silver candelabras that are in a closet somewhere, and take out the good china that is in a box or a cabinet. Get dressed up and go to the ballet. Buy fresh cut flowers, stationery and thank you notes“.
Above all, don’t forget Madison Avenue – the road- features the flagship boutiques of the finest fashion and jewellery designers, world-class art galleries, exquisite restaurants, spas and salons for exclusive pampering, five internationally renowned hotels, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. It’s the strip between East 57th and East 86th streets where the likes of the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Astors began moving to in the 1890s. It’s definitely a part of New York’s vibe and history.
Isn’t it refreshing that becoming a fashion influencer is not a matter of age but taste and zest for life? Thank you, Kamei, for spotting such a light on it.