Monday, January 25, 2010

Iris Apfel: A Wise Fashionista

“I think dressing up or down should be a creative experience. Exciting. Fun." -Iris Apfel
This weekend I finally went to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. I moved to Salem in October of 09 and have been wanting to check out this museum, walking distance from my home, and never did. I was lured in by the "Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel" exhibit. A name and icon vaguely familiar to me, but not someone I knew too much about.

Upon entering, your are greeted by flashing cameras and a scene laid out as if you were an early arrive guest to a high end fashion show!

“My so-called “collection” is my wardrobe. It’s a series of pieces I’ve accumulated over these many years. I love a timeless look, and I think if you develop your own style it’s not a problem – at least it hasn’t been for me. I can mix something I bought last week with something I’ve hoarded for 30 years. I don’t follow trends or the hottest fashion. I buy what I like and my tastes are quite catholic – haute couture to street fashion. Pieces that are Zen-simple or madly baroque. I love ethnic as well as contemporary. I’m fond of serious and adore amusing. I try to make all these things work together.” - Iris Apfel
Then, you turn the corner and the security guard scolds you for taking pictures as unlike the rest of the museum, it is prohibited in this exhibit?!?!?! So, the next two shots were 'smuggled' as I wandered through the rooms of gorgeous textures, colors, fabrics, accessories and ideas.

“In the right tonalities I never met a color I didn’t like.” -Iris Apfel
I love and live for color. Look in my closet or my store and you will see this is true. But tone is crucial; know your skin color and which tones make your skin look vibrant and which make it look dull. If you have a hard time figuring this out there are two things you can try: 1) Think about which outfits you get compliments on. Start with these and take a good look at the colors and how they look against your skin. When I'm questioning a color in a store, I hold it to the back of my hand for a quick check (so I don't need to try it on if it is awful). 2) Find two items that are the same color (pink, yellow, blue) but different tones / hues of that color. Hold each to your face in the mirror. See which compliments your skin better.

My absolute favorite, must spend a good amount of time in room is the Souq. A room displaying elaborate jewelry acquired in exotic eastern markets. It really does give you a feel of a souq...took me back to one of my most favorite destinations ever...Marrakesh, Morocco! The color comibinations, textures, shapes and ideas give you the feeling of the richness and elaborateness of vendors booths packed into the souq (I prefer the Spanish word: el zocco).

Also, I highly recommend you take the time to stop and watch the film they have playing which features Mrs. Apfel speaking about what inspires her style, how she dresses, her creativity in dressing, expressing and being herself.
“I’m a hopeless romantic. I buy things because I fall in love with them. I never buy anything just because it’s valuable. My husband used to say I look at a piece of fabric and listen to the threads. It tells me a story. It sings me a song. I have to get a physical reaction when I buy something. A coup de foudre – a bolt of lightning. It’s fun to get knocked out that way!” -Iris Apfel

I identify with this mindset, and find it behind my personal style. My wardrobe is not valuable, but I love every piece in it. I too buy items I fall in love with. Thrifted items, mid priced items from the mall and the occasional splurge on to die for designer shoes.

This exhibit is worth the cost of admission (Salem residents get in free!). Also be sure to check out the trash menagerie exhibit while you're there. The Peabody Essex Museum is just 35 min by commuter train from North Station in Boston! Catch it before it is gone February 7, 2010!

Also, I should mention to you an awesome after hours event they are holding at this exhibit on the closing weekend: "Iris After Dark!

› After Hours Event
Peabody Essex Museum stays open late with music, film, signature cocktails and shopping!
Friday, February 5, 2010 from 6pm - 9:30pm

Admission $10, Free to Salem residents and Museum Members

The Peabody Essex Museum celebrates the closing weekend of Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel in style with extended hours, music, film, outrageous shopping and suitably elegant refreshments. One of PEM’s most successful exhibitions ever — nearly 50,000 visitors since mid-October­­­ ­— Rare Bird of Fashion closes to the public on Sunday, February 7 after an exceptional run at the Museum."

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