Saturday, August 27, 2011

Iris Apfel

Today’s Awesome Woman, Iris Apfel (born 29 August 1921) is an American businesswoman, former interior designer, and fashion icon.  She has long been a style icon;  her wardrobe was lavishly documented by the photographer Eric Boman in “Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel,” (Thames & Hudson, 2007), she has been the subject of a string of museum exhibitions and in 2008 was the star of a Coach advertising campaign.  And now at 90 she is on the cusp of pop stardom with her own show on HSN, featuring her exotic accessory designs, and as the subject of a documentary by Albert Maysles. She developed a style based on ingenuity forced by affordability during the Depression and has become the Queen of eccentric dressing.  The New York Times art critic Roberta Smith once wrote  “Before multiculturalism was a word, Mrs. Apfel was wearing it.”

"If you can't be pretty, you have to learn to make yourself attractive. I found that all the pretty girls I went to high school with came to middle age as frumps, because they just got by with their pretty faces, so they never developed anything. They never learned how to be interesting. But if you are bereft of certain things, you have to make up for them in certain ways. Don't you think?" - Iris Apfel

She studied art history at New York University and attended art school at the University of Wisconsin.  In 1948 she married Carl Apfel. Two years later they launched the textile firm Old World Weavers and ran it until they retired in 1992. During this time, Iris Apfel took part in many design restoration projects, including work at the White House for nine presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton.  

“Women view her as a role model: “A lot of them have told me, ‘Now that I’ve met you, I feel so liberated.’ ” Secret eccentrics, they have learned, Mrs. Apfel maintained, “that when you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else.”

**note - read this link/article!!!  So many great stories about her!