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Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion
May 20 through September 7, 2008
Over a half century, Iris Barrel Apfel has perfected a style of dressing that constitutes nothing less than a personal art form Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion, drawn from Apfel's closets, drawers and shelves, reflects her adventures in bazaars, thrift shops, souks, flea markets, houses of haute couture and handicraft workshops that have created a singular look -- one marked by fantasy, exuberance, exoticism and, most of all, whimsy and humor. The exhibition, which originated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where it was on view in the Costume Institute from September 2005 through January 2006 and was later at West Palm Beach's Norton Museum of Art, opens at Nassau County Museum of Art on May 20, 2008.
The exhibition has been adapted for Nassau County Museum of Art to include even more stunning items of clothing, accessories and jewelry from Apfel's collection than have been seen in the previous showings. At Nassau County Museum of Art, Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion is organized into a series of fully-accessorized tableaux that create an exciting viewing environment from the moment the visitor enters the galleries. The exhibition is curated by JoAnne Olian, curator emeritus of the Museum of the City of New York, and designed by Joe Pescatore, professor at Nassau Community College and Parsons the New School for Design.
An American original in the truest sense, Iris Apfel is one of the most vivacious personalities in the worlds of fashion, textiles and interior design and is widely treasured for a personal style that is both witty and exuberantly idiosyncratic. Her originality is revealed in her mixing of high and low fashion-Dior haute couture with flea-market finds, Dolce & Gabbana striped leather trousers with a Zuni belt. With remarkable panache and discernment, she fearlessly combines colors, textures and patterns without regard to period, provenance, and, ultimately, aesthetic conventions. Paradoxically, her richly layered combinations-even at their most extreme and baroque-project a boldly graphic modernity.
Apfel and her husband Carl founded Old World Weavers, an international textile manufacturing company. Their exquisite workmanship and intricate designs attracted the sophisticated tastes of Greta Garbo, Marjorie Merriweather Post, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Estee Lauder and many others. The couple sold the company to Stark Carpet but remained involved as consultants. She has also consulted on numerous restoration projects, including renovation and refurbishment of the White House.
Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion remains on view at Nassau County Museum of Art until September 7, 2008. In conjunction with the exhibition, Nassau County Museum of Art is presenting several stimulating lectures, discussions and other activities that will serve to enhance the experience of viewing the exhibition.
Special events relating to the exhibition
All above photos are of objects from the exhibition Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion, which opens on May 20, and remains on view through September 7, 2008 at the Nassau County Museum of Art. Photos courtesy of Nassau County Museum of Art.
Please also see these essays authored in conjunction with the exhibition:
Resource Library wishes to extend appreciation to Ms. Doris Meadows, Nassau County Museum of Art, for assistance concerning the republishing of the above essays.
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