Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverant Iris Apfel by Eric Boman


Iris Apfel has long been one of the Womens Room favourite Style Icons. We are fascinated by her eccentric style, amazing use of colour and complete refusal to conform and dress like an old lady (she’s 88).

An exhibition dedicated to her Style is currently on in Salem MA at the Peabody Essex Museum and runs until February 2010. They credit Iris with being the first women to turn jeans into a fashion item, when in the 1940’s she hounded the owner of her local Army and Navy store, until he ordered her a pair of boy sized jeans. Until then, only lumberjacks and field hands had worn them, but she wore hers with a turban and hoop earrings! The exhibition lists the essential elements of style according to Iris Apfel:

  • Never take yourself or and outfit too seriously
  • Visit the animal kingdom
  • Consider the clergy
  • Travel widely
  • Go high and low
  • Don’t fret about your age
  • Don’t be afraid to stop traffic

Eric Bowman’s book Rare Bird of Fashion was published in 2007 and is a tribute to the personal style of Apfel over the last 40 years.  Bowman styled over 90 outfits on mannequins, using the colours, textures and patterns loved by Iris.
A true inspiration and a great present for a stylish friend or relative.

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