rare bird of fashion: the irreverent iris apfel

when stylehive interviewed me for their blog a while back, they questioned me about my style icons, and who they were/are. it’s a great question! but honestly, i thought, what does that question mean? whose style do i like? whose style do i feel some affinity with? i feel as if the question sort of implies celebrities, people whose life and style are well-known.

truth be told, i find celebrities (including almost all current and former actors/actresses, models, musicians, and other “famous” folk) to be exasperatingly boring, and styleless. most don’t have a clue how to dress themselves, and depend on equally clueless stylists to dress them, and the fashion world makes it easy for them, giving them first dibs on the fashions of the moment. no thinking is involved. they so often miss the mark, and don’t exhibit any real personality. bottom line: celebrities don’t arbitrate fashion for me, so by and large, they aren’t even on my radar. i don’t let them influence me or what i want or what i’m going to wear last season, this season, or any other that might occur in the future.

so, for the most part, i stand by what i said in the interview…in general, as a personal rule…real, stylish everyday folks are more interesting to me.

but iris barrel apfel, the irreverent and envelope-pushing new york city fashionista socialite and businesswoman, is an exception to my style icon rule…and for good reason: ms. apfel is a person who follows her own muse, makes her own trends, and is unabashedly unafraid of fashion. she is a dramatic, iconic woman who thinks about and delights in the art of fashion and the art of dressing up. she is a complete original…and is the rarest of the rare birds: an individual who embodies and displays the concept of cultivating TRUE personal style. for all these reasons and more, i consider her a style icon.

(images from the metropolitan museum of art/panache mag)

i fell in love with the style and wardrobe of ms. apfel following a large and amazing display of her bold clothing and accouterments at the metropolitan museum of art‘s costume institute in 2005, called rara avis: selections from the iris barrel apfel collection. after viewing the show, i was hopeful that there would be a catalog accompanying the show that i could purchase, as i wanted to be able to peruse her wardrobe and admire her style sass over and over again in the comfort of my home and studio. alas, no catalog or book, or even a paltry postcard commemorating the show was available at that time, much to my chagrin.

i was delighted to read recently that an expanded version of the aforementioned iris apfel exhibition has now been sent to the norton museum, in west palm beach, florida and is on view between february 25 through may 27 of 2007.

and…along with the show, a catalog has been created! the book is entitled rare bird of fashion: the irreverent iris apfel, and for those of us not privy to perusing the show hosted by the norton, it is available at amazon.com.

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3 comments

  1. red_swirl

    Hello! This got me thinking about the over-use of the word fashionista. Which led me to thinking that the person I’d nominate as style icon would be Lee Lin Chin. She is a newsreader here for SBS (one of the 5 big TV channels here … but the smallest). Actually, SBS eventually made a series of short programs where Lee Lin Chin interviews fashion designers, and you can get a sense of her style watching them (a bit grainy) at: [url]http://www.sbs.com.au/fashionista/index.html?id=778[/url] I think you’d like her style đŸ˜‰

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