By: Lieba Nesis
Last night, two New York icons came together for a celebration. Fifth Avenues Bergdorf Goodman hosted a cocktail party to celebrate our favorite Accidental Icon Iris Apfel. In our honest opinion, there’s always a reason for New York’s chicest to get together and raise a glass to the always-fashionable Iris Apfel. But, last night at Bergdorf Goodman we were celebrating, not one, but three things- the gorgeous window displays now outside of BG were fully designed by Iris with looks from her personal collections as well as a few pieces on loan from the Peabody Essex Museum, the third floor of BG’s has been transformed into what we now want to call “Iris World” with a hand-picked shop of some of her favorite current items that are all for sale, and of course, we were celebrating the release of her book entitled, “Accidental Icon.”
But, who is Iris Apfel? We all know her for her eclectic style and dark framed glasses, but how did this woman become a fashion icon? Born Iris Barrel in Astoria Queens, her parents actually owned a fashion boutique and glass-and-mirror business, so you can say fashion was always in her life. She studied art history at New York University and attended art school at the University of Wisconsin. But before becoming the fashion maven we know and love today, Iris worked for Women's Wear Daily as a young woman and for interior designer Elinor Johnson. She married her husband Carl Apfel in 1948 and they launched the textile firm "Old World Weavers" which they ran unit 1992. Together they traveled throughout the world where Iris began buying and collecting artisanal clothing to wear to high-society parties. In 2005, The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art presented an exhibition about her style entitled: "Rara Avis (Rare Bird): The Irreverent Iris Apfel.” This exhibit is what really put her in the spotlight.
So you could image, that some of fashions finest came out last night to toast to Iris. Spotted in the crowd was, of course, the always fabulous Linda Fargo, Amy Fine Collins, Tommy and Dee Hilfiger, Nicky Hilton-Rothschild, Alice and Olivia's Stacey Bendet, Freddie Leiba and Christie Brinkley. Linda Fargo was seen in a black turban and sequined black-and-white Marc Jacobs outfit, which she paired with Manolo Blahnik boots. Fargo told us that she admires the "way Iris thinks and dresses because every choice comes from within." Linda met Apfel 15 years ago when she showed up with husband Carl at a lecture Linda was giving and asked her to help with the upcoming exhibit at the Met. Fargo said it was remarkable how broad Apfel's fan base was especially in the youth oriented fashion market. Linda spent 5 months collaborating with Apfel on this project at Bergdorf Goodman. At 96-years-old, Iris still was involved with nearly every aspect of her pop-up shop as well as with designing the windows, oh and yes as we mentioned, she just wrote and released a book, and also just received her very own Gucci glad Iris Apfel Barbie. Pick up your copy of Iris Apfel’s “Accidental Icon” today and learn more about the woman behind the iconic glasses.
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