My style icon

5 01 2010

The act of getting dressed in the morning is one of many moments that I cherished daily.  I never knew which ensemble I would come up with.  I might wear a dress that I made in school with a large brass necklace that I found in Paris along with several bracelets of my mother from Sydney.  It is a personal expressive freedom that I valued so much.

Beside having my mother and my grandmother as style icons.  Iris Apfel is my top of the list style icon.  She is fearless, thoughtful, innovative and beautiful in the way that she chooses to dressed.  I had a privileged of viewing her clothes and accessories from couture to tribal pieces via the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art several years back.  It was one of the most inspiring day that I ever had.  I felt as if someone finally understood my sensibility and spoke the same language as me.

Iris Apfel  has always been a woman who is truly ahead of her time.  More than 50 years ago as an interior designer looking for fine traditional silk-woven fabrics, she recognized an opportunity and, along with her husband, Carl, founded old World Weavers.  She built into one of the most prestigious brands in the world of textiles and interior design and the authority on an antique textile productions.  She is now 88 years old.

Installation from the MET.

Twin sweater set, Krizia, 1980s, Milan, Italy, angora wool knit. Skirt, Qing Dynasty (1644–1912), China, silk damask, brocade, satin with silk and filé thread embroidery. Mandarin necklace, Qing Dynasty (1644–1912), China, silk cord, carnelian, jade, metal. Cuff bracelet, about 1989, Europe; amber resin, rhinestones. Boots, designed by Iris Barrel Apfel and made by Canfora, about 1980, Capri, Italy, leather. Bird Cages, 1950s, China, bamboo, porcelain, metal.

Tunic, Tunisian wedding garment, early 20th century. Red and black wool gauze with gold paillette, coiled thread, and hammered metal embroidery, green and gold braided piping, and blue silk and metalic filé trapunto. Necklaces, Givenchy, 1970s. Black, red, and gray silk passementerie with rhinestones. Necklaces and bracelet, Monies, c. 2003. Gilded wood. Jacket, Oscar de la Renta, circa 2000. Multicolored patchwork of silk faille, silk damask, and cotton velvet with multicolored silk and gold filé thread and gold metal paillette embroidery. Necklaces, Angela Caputi Giugiù, circa 2001. Acrylic and metal. Boots, Kenzo, circa 1990. Taupe suede.

Tiger travel ensemble. Iris Barrel Apfel by Contessa Adriana Biglia, circa 1965. Hand-woven silk velvet on linen warp upholstery fabric. Dress, James Galanos, circa 1970. Brown and beige giraffe-printed silk chiffon. Cuff bracelet, American, circa 1981. Wood, fabric, and rhinestones. Boots, Italian, circa 1990. Brown suede with leopard-printed gold lamé.

Jacket, Nina Ricci haute couture by Gerard Pipart, late 1970s. Purple, orange, red, and green duck and rooster feathers. Trousers, Moschino, 1997. Red slashed suede. Bangles, Indian, circa 2003. Multicolored rhinestones and metal. Shoes, Anne Klein, circa 1989. Pink silk satin with orange silk faille ribbons.

My personal favorite.  Evening dress, Lanvin haute couture by Jules-Francois Crahay, circa 1985. Gold, brown, and pewter silk faille. Necklaces, Tibetan, early 20th century. Silver, amber, coral, and turquoise. Cuff bracelet, Bhutanese, late 19th century. Silver and amber. Cuff bracelet, Tibetan, late 19th century. Silver, amber, coral, and turquoise.

Cape, Nepalese, 1970s, ivory wool knit with fringe and self-fabric pompons. Skirt, Gianfranco Ferré, 1990s, black and beige buffalo-check wool. Necklace, Indian, early 20th century, silver and snail shells. Necklace, Monies, circa 1999, bone chips. Necklace, Chinese, circa 2003, carved bone. Necklace, Tibetan, circa 1970, carved bone. Bangles, Indian, early 20th century, ivory and wood. Boots, American, circa 1994, black synthetic suede cloth.

Element of Style According to Iris Apfel:

  1. Never take yourself or an outfit too seriously.
  2. Visit the animal kingdom.
  3. Consider the clergy.
  4. Travel widely.
  5. Go high and low.
  6. Don’t fret about your age.
  7. Don’t be afraid to stop traffic.

My philosophy is that you only have one trip to this so called life.  Might as well take a risk, explore, and enjoy it. Have a great week.  Thanks very much for reading.

Images courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.




2 responses

5 01 2010

Wow! I’m now a fan too! Thank you for sharing so much of her work Modi. What a great philosophy to live by. I’ll take it to heart. *angie

6 01 2010

quite vibrant colors and style..loved the tunics most.

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