Abigail Cahill O'Brien

Iris Apfel: Have Great Fun and Make a Splash

In Fashion on December 7, 2009 at 10:27 pm

After a month’s hiatus, what better way to dig in than with images from the Peabody Essex Museum’s exhibit on Iris Apfel (“Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel”) and quotes from the Great Dame herself?  Iris spoke about her style in a casual question and answer format.  She’s 88.  She looks like herself, not a version that’s been through the cheek-plumping machine.  She’s funny and relevant and adamant that style is about self-expression and humor. I can’t think of many whose style is more inspiring in terms of sheer courage and consistent brilliance. 

Here are a few of her remarks from the other night:

On day vs. night: “Most people who know me know I wear jeans most days.  The night is for rare birds – when we take out our plumage and fly.”

On investing in fashion: “If you invest you should buy architectural clothes.  Then accessorize them to make them your own.”

On mixing a Lanvin couture tiered evening gown with flea market jewelry: “I don’t think it’s a strategy.  If I find something I like I don’t care where it comes from. I looked at it and they seemed to just cry for each other.  It was great fun and it made a splash.”

On extremes: “I go from over the top baroque to really very basic Zen.  So I have to see what I’m feeling that day and what is available.”

On accessories: “People always say take one off.  I say put one on.”

While piling (noisy) bracelets onto a model’s arm: “Rackin’ and rolling!”

Get thee to the exhibit if you’re in the Boston area.  The pictures below are by no means exhaustive.

  1. Love this! I find her sense of style so interesting. Keep it coming. We missed you this last month!

  2. I agree with Amy — I’m starting to work on revising a book, spending many hours catching up on research, and I desperately needed a little more FifthJoy in my life. Keep it coming…

  3. […] The Fifth Joy blog entry about the Peabody Essex Museum exhibition (includes lots of photos) […]

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