With remarkable panache and discernment, Iris Apfel combines styles, colors, textures, and patterns without regard to period, provenance, or aesthetic conventions. She is a unique style icon.
Over ninety sumptuous color plates, photographed by Eric Boman, show off a selection of Apfel’s extraordinary outfits on wittily posed mannequins, some sporting her trademark outsized spectacles. The originality of her style is typically revealed in her mixing of Dior haute couture with flea-market finds, Dolce & Gabbana lizard trousers with nineteenth-century ecclesiastical vestments, pink Lanvin worn with ropes of Navajo turquoise. Apfel’s eclectic pieces might come from a Parisian couture house, an American thrift shop, or a North African souk, or they may have been made to her own design in a tiny studio.
Detailed captions describe every aspect of the outfits, including names and dates of designers, plus full information on fabrics and accessories. A selection of audacious accessories also comes under the spotlight: a giant necklace made of bear claws, a turn-of-the-century Indian horse ornament worn as a necklace, a parrot’s-head brooch in colored glass and rhinestones.
The book includes an introduction by Harold Koda, director of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and an essay by Apfel herself, describing her lifelong love affair with style and illustrated with vintage photographs from her personal collection.
Eric Boman is a photographer and writer, whose work has appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, and House & Garden. His publications include Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel. He lives in New York.
Harold Koda is director of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Iris Apfel is co-founder of the international textile company Old World Weavers and an authority on antique fabrics.