Dames in their Drawing Rooms: Iris Apfel

When it comes the style mantra ‘More is More,’ there is almost no one that embodies it more completely than Iris Apfel. The 92 year old fashion icon is the living proof of the brilliance of eccentric excess. Known for her signature oversized glasses and wonderful wardrobe, she is quite simply unmissable.

Brought to the world’s attention following the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2005 exhibition of her extraordinary vintage packed and opulent wardrobe entitled “Rara Avis’ meaning ‘Rare Bird,’ Apfel has since become a global fashion phenomenon. She started out, however, as an Interior Designer working in post war America where she was hired for her eclectic style and vision. From the get go she was known for her maximalist approach as well as her eye for the extraordinary, be that a flea market find or a rare vintage textile. Her love of the latter led her to found Old World Weavers with her husband Carl, a company that reproduced wonderful fabrics from Europe as well as an antiques business that saw them scouring the continent for finds to bring back and sell in their New York showroom.  Today, she has her own jewelry line.

A reflection of her own taste and extremely individual style, Apfel lives in a three bedroomed apartment on Park Avenue that quite simply could not be anybody else’s. Dripping in Chinoiserie, Italian baroque furniture, Louis XVI inspired interiors, costume jewelry, hand printed textiles and knick knacks picked up over a lifetime of magpie like shopping all over the world, it bursts with the same sort of eccentric glamour as it’s owner. A hallway festooned with ancient Chinese textiles, paintings of dogs, a baroque Italian console and towers of books leads to a French inspired, bleach oak paneled living room stuffed with opulent textiles. You’ll find a Louis XVI daybed in the library, a spare room stacked full of racks of her vintage clothes, rooms filled with costume jewelry draped over surfaces and antiques, paisley throws and more interesting fabric than the eye knows what do with.

Apfel has laughingly referred to herself as the ‘Geriatric Starlet.’ Looking at her apartment, it is abundantly clear however that the inspiration she provides crosses every boundary of age. She is a beacon of the brilliance of eccentricity, living embodiment of the triumph of individual style and the very best kind of Rare Bird for it indeed.

Picture 1from Daily Candy – read their interview with her here http://www.dailycandy.com/everywhere/flipbook/156919/Iris-Apfel-Interview

 Pictures 2 – 12 from Architectural Digest – for more visit


By Fiona Kotur