The maverick style icon, Iris Barrel Apfel is known for her bold, colorful and playful style and her signature oversized dark rimmed glasses. In 1950, Iris and her husband launched a textile firm Old World Weavers through 1992 and have since sold their company to Stark Carpets but remain as consultants. During this time Iris took part in many restoration projects including work at the White House for nine presidents.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute featured an exhibition of her colorful and extravagantly accessorized wardrobe. More recently it was just announced she will launch a jewelry line with HSN in September.
She lives as she colorfully dresses as shown by her 3 bedroom Park Avenue apartment featured in Architectural Digest below, which include pieces she acquired on many business trips to Europe through the years.
Iris Apfel shown in a spare room that is filled with her vintage pieces.
"The living room’s bleached-oak boiserie is 18th-century French, and the door hardware is by P. E. Guerin; the screen is also French, while the chair at left, covered in an Old World Weavers tapestry fabric, is 17th-century Sicilian."
"In the library, a Dutch painting is displayed above a Louis XVI daybed covered in fabric Apfel reproduced from a 17th-century French document."
"A collection of singerie tops an 18th-century Venetian bombé chest in the living room; the back of the English chair at right is painted with chinoiserie designs."
"In the entry, an 18th-century English gilt chinoiserie mirror and an Italian console."
"An Italian tole chandelier above a Maison Jansen table draped in a woven paisley throw."
"The first painting Apfel ever bought—a portrait of the Infanta Margarita she picked up 60 years ago at an antiques shop in Florence."
"Bakelite jewelry in the paws of a hand-carved French mountain dog."
"The entry contains an 18th-century French screen (left), an early-18th-century painted Genoese corner cabinet, and Louis XVI–style chairs upholstered in an Old World Weavers cut velvet. The needlepoint carpet is English."
"A hallway is lined with dog paintings and 19th-century English bookcases brimming with volumes on fashion, decorative arts, and Chinese costumes and textiles."
A few of my favorite pieces from her vintage collection:
A circa-1970 Norman Norell evening gown and stole of ivory silk organza with silver paillettes, embroidery, and white ostrich feathers.
A wool-pile Lanvin jacket, circa 1990, designed by Jules-François Crahay, and accessorized with turquoise necklaces, silver-and-ceramic cuffs, and a silver-and-turquoise belt.
A vintage Geoffrey Beene wool-jersey jumpsuit, a silver-and-turquoise brooch and belt, and silver-and-ceramic cuffs.
A circa-1985 House of Lanvin silk-faille evening gown designed by Jules-François Crahay, a Bhutanese upper-arm bracelet, and Tibetan bracelet and necklaces.