Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel

Occasionally I feel that I have more than enough basics, that I want to move towards more statement pieces. Iris Apfel is a woman who masters the statement piece, especially in the accessory department. Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel, based off her museum exhibit, is a book full of fabulousity and witty anecdotes. So we won't be here all day, I edited it to only 3 scans.

Rare Bird of Fashion
Pink wool jacket:
Lanvin haute couture by Jules-Francois Cranbay, circa 1989

Black wool broadcloth trousers:
American, circa 1990

Silver and turquoise necklaces:
Indigenous American (Pueblo and Navajo) 1930s-1950s

Silver, turquoise, and black and white leather with Kennedy silver dollar Cuff bracelets:
Indigenous American, early 1970s

Silver, turquoise, and leather belt:
Indigenous American (Navajo) 1940s

Iris on her days as a editor/writer of Grossingers’ daily newspaper:
“One of our long-term lady guests had a fetish for wristwatches and every night seemed to relish showing off a new one. I once asked her to tell me the time. She looked down at her stone-studded timepiece and answered, ‘It’s five diamonds past eight rubies!’ Her buxom lady friend was equally emblazoned. When I admired her dazzling jewelry display on her overstuffed person, she confided modestly that these were only her Tuesday diamonds… I soon realized that money alone could not buy good taste and that what you spent did not necessarily determine the success of an outfit. If you knew what to do, however, having beaucoup bucks couldn’t hurt. As I had no Sugar Daddy waiting in the wings, I redoubled my efforts to look and experiment.”

Rare Bird of Fashion
Black and gold tipped duck feathers Coat:
Jean-Louis Scherrer haute couture, late 1990s

Leopard-printed cotton blend laminated with clear sequin effect trousers:
Roberto Cavalli, circa 2002

Gilt metal and rhinestone beads necklace:
French, 1930s

Tea-stained bone necklace:
Monies, 2005

Acrylic, glass, rhinestones, and metal necklace:
Apex Art, 1950s

Mrs. Loehman to Iris Apfel:
“I’ve been watching you. You’re certainly no beauty but you have something much much better. You have style.”

Rare Bird of Fashion
Wool, amber, coral, turquoise, and silver Headdress:
Indian (Ladakh), late 19th century

Indian embroidered silk upholstery fabric scarf:
Old World Weavers sample

Wool, silver, amber, coral, turquoise, and wood Neck ornament:
Indian (Ladakh), early 20th century

Silver and coral necklace:
Chinese, late 19th century

Composite late 19th century Tibetan silver, amber and coral frogs with amber, coral, and silver beads:
Iris Barrel Apfel, circa 2005

Iris Apfel on style: “Like charisma, you know it when you see it. Not too many possess it: unlike fashion, it cannot be bought.”

A cute video on Iris Apfel seen via The Glamourai.

all personal scans


  1. NIce post! That duck feather coat=amazing.

  2. i love that first picture with the giant piles of turquoise, and the quotations you've chosen are brilliant. no wonder this is out of stock on amazon.

  3. very bold--but beautiful--pieces. i like her use of natural elements.

  4. My goodness, -h, if you aren't the most interesting person I've ever met! I always learn something new from your posts. You're just so curious about the world, I've never seen anything like it. You're like a human sponge.

    I could swear I've read about Iris Apfel a few years ago, I forgot where. I was curious then, but I I'm even more fascinated with her now. And she wrote the Grossinger's newsletter! How in the world do you know about Grossingers? It had to have closed long before you were born. I think it was even before MY time! But it's such a part of my Long Island heritage. It's so.. Woody Allen ; )

    Wish I could be with you & S on Thursday. Oh! It's tomorrow. Keep your eyes peeled, I feel a post coming on. Miss you.

  5. What a brilliant post! Iris' style sure was incredible!

  6. oh -h, she is my oldest style icon...i love iris!! her tribal jewelry collection is truly amazing. i must get this book.

    thank you for the effort you made with this post. i'm putting the link on my FB and twitter.

    she is so inspiring. her style is timeless and unique.

  7. I went to her exhibit at one of the museums in Boston and got to meet her! She's very kind, and it would seem the secret to her eclectic style is that she never throws anything away.

    I decided then that I would become a bit of a hoarder.

  8. Thank you for this post, one of the more inspiring ones I've seen on the blogosphere in a while.

    The quotes are fabulous, besides having style she also seems to have a great sense of humor, which is just as important.

    I am trying to collect statement pieces as well, mostly jewelry. I'll take that fabulous feathered jacket any day though!!!

  9. All I have to say is wow. That is actually inspiring beyond belief, what an amazing woman.

  10. This woman is just utterly brilliant and fascinating!

  11. Fantastic outfits. Love the pink wool jacket.SarahD:)

  12. Wow, how interesting!

    Lydia xxx

  13. so inspiring! i have to get this book! great post!


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