Friday, October 16, 2009

The Apfel of My Eye

Granny chic is constantly being reworked by the younger generation and with the wide accessible vintage pieces on offer in every city in the world, it seems old clothes are becoming the new garments that don many a fashionista back. Not many people can pull the look of successfully, but one that certainly can is ‘Geriatric starlet’ Iris Apfel. At 82 years of age, this style icon has a collection of clothes that would fill hundreds of these everywhere vintage stores and markets. However, she did not buy to collect, she bought to wear, and this is the attitude that has catapulted her into the limelight.

At 12 years old, she was forced to do her own clothes shopping as her chic mother was too busy running a small chain of boutiques to help her. Working as an intern at Women’s Weekly Magazine did not suit her bubbly personality and wanted to make her (unusual) name known in the fashion industry. Along with her husband Harold, the started a textile company out of a suitcase, which counted Dorothy Draper as their first big break, and from then on their fantastic silks and antique fabrics became must-haves in the interior design industry.

With closets that house 70 years of clothes and accessories, it’s no wonder the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York asked Apfel if they could borrow some accessories to use in an exhibition. The few accessories they needed turned into outfits, 10 mannequins they wanted her to style multiplied to 82, and the it soon became her show, entitled ‘Rara Aris’ meaning rare bird, and a rare bird she is as her anthology of feather loaded pieces turns her wardrobe into somewhat of a nest. From a floor length beaded Ralph Lauren overcoat to a faux fur balero from H&M, the show that spans her long fashionable life champions every fashion trend and famous designer of almost a century.

What she brings to the fashion industry is a mind set many people cannot grasp, that clothes are to be worn and enjoyed, not put on display in a vacuum packed bag so nothing could ever penetrate it. She is an avid fan of comfort also, and mostly wears men’s Levi’s. Her iconic black rimmed circular specs can be spotted at the odd fashion week show, but with this new status coming so late in her blossoming life, she’ll be sure to get invited to many more. If you have Ralph Lauren wondering if you’re looking for a job or Lindsay Lohan demanding you to be her stylist, you’re a shoe-in!


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