Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Drawing Inspiration

Recently I visited the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. There is a wonderful exhibit right now called "Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel". Basically it is the fashions from one woman's closet! But, OH MY, what an interesting closet! And even more interesting is the way she puts pieces together.

Iris Apfel is a women of flamboyant and eclectic tastes. In her wardrobe are pieces from designers and pieces from flea markets around the world. She has a knack for pairing the most unusual with couture designs. She converts large Turkish belt buckles to brooches, Bakelite sample chips to necklaces, and unusual Tibetan carrying cases to purses.

I think my 2 favorite pieces in the whole show are an Antonio del Castillo (circa 1961) gold lame ribbon applique, beads, and rhinestone evening coat. It is spectacular! I have a friend who I know would covet it instantly!

The other piece is much simpler. It is a beautiful Krizia (1980) cornelian twin sweater set paired with a multicolored silk brocade, silk damask, and silk embroidered wrap skirt. The fabric is from the Chinese, Qing Dynasty! It is accessorized with a very long silk corded necklace of cornelian, jade, and metal. Once again from the Chinese, Qing Dynasty. (I'd love to shop at the flea markets where she shops!) I could see myself wearing this many times over!

The point that Iris makes over and over again (and she is alive and well in New York) is discover your style. Express yourself through clothes, have fun with them, and don't be afraid of what other's think. I have to add that it helps if you have a little bit of a sense of what looks interesting and fashionable together with out being costume-y or clownish! Sometimes there is a fine line!

This exhibit is only on until Feb 7 (Sunday). If you can't make the exhibit you can check out pictures on-line at There is also a wonderful article written for the Boston Globe about Iris and the exhibit. Go to and google Iris Apfel.

Hope this inspires you to be creative and express yourself through apparel and accessories. Live adventurously! Be a work of art!

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