Connected \\ May 16, 2018

Fashion curator joins Iris at Bergdorf Goodman

Oh Iris! To utter her name brings a smile to many a face. And for those who might look confused, a simple “You know… the fashionable woman, with white hair and the round black glasses" usually does the trick.

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Iris Apfel at Bergdorf Goodman, March 15, 2018. Photography by Tiffany Sage/BFA

Iris’ reputation as a style maven has rapidly gained momentum since the 2005 debut of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition, Rara Avis: The Irreverent Iris Apfel. Iris, and her impressionable style, resonated with so many that when PEM was offered the opportunity to mount our own iteration (Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel), staff jumped at the chance. Impressed with PEM, its talented team and the Museum’s commitment to the fashion arts, Mrs. Apfel bequeathed her wardrobe to the museum. Since then, Iris has been the subject of a namesake documentary, launched her own furniture and accessory lines and, at 96, regularly models.

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Iris Apfel styles one of her ensembles on view in the PEM installation of Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel on view at PEM from October 17, 2009 - February 7, 2010


In March of this year, Apfel announced her latest venture, a book called Accidental Icon, published by Harper Collins. Apfel spoke with Women’s Wear Daily about her publication, filled with personal anecdotes and photographs.


She said “I didn’t want to do another coffee-table book, and I didn’t want to do a memoir — and I certainly didn’t want to do a how-to book… I find how-to books rather insulting. It’s not my place to tell you how to dress or what to do. I think it should be an individual matter. So I kept saying ‘thank you very much, but no thank you.’ And then a couple of years ago in one week I had three different telephone calls from three different publishers. And they all said, ‘What about doing a little book, musings, just what you’re thinking about. Just something for the youth market,’ because I do have a lot of young fans, and I said, ‘Gee, that sounds like fun.


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Accidental Icon.Photography by Tiffany Sage/BFA


To commemorate the occasion, Apfel teamed up with her friend and colleague, Linda Fargo, senior vice president and fashion director of the esteemed New York department store, Bergdorf Goodman. The dynamic duo worked together for five months to conceive the store’s window displays as well as the exclusive pop-up shop featuring personally selected clothing and capsule collections by designers such as Stacey Bendet of Alice + Olivia, Ralph Rucci and Naeem Kahn.


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Iris Apfel with Linda Fargo. Photography by Tiffany Sage/BFA


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Iris Apfel x BG pop-up. Photography by Tiffany Sage/BFA


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Iris Apfel x BG pop-up. Photography by Tiffany Sage/BFA


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Iris Apfel with fashion designer, Ralph Rucci. Photography by Tiffany Sage/BFA


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Stacey Bendet of Alice + Olivia. Photography by Tiffany Sage/BFA

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Iris Apfel Barbie. Photography by Tiffany Sage/BFA


To celebrate, Bergdorf Goodman hosted Mrs. Apfel and many of New York’s fashion elite to an exclusive soirée on March 15. Guests were invited to peruse the collection and the book as well as catch a glimpse of Iris with her very own Gucci-clad Barbie. Earlier in the day, Mattel announced the production of a limited edition Barbie in her likeness. The doll, which will be available in the fall, was on hand for Iris to meet for the first time. It was great fun!

The store’s windows, designed by Bergdorf’s senior director of visual presentation, David Hoey, featured several ensembles from PEM’s fashion and textile collection. Like Iris, the windows were vibrant, bright and not to be missed! Mrs. Apfel worked with Hoey and Fargo to get the look and feel of the displays just right.


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PEM’s Rare Bird of Fashion collection featured in 5th and 58th window display. Photography by Tiffany Sage/BFA


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PEM’s Rare Bird of Fashion collection featured in 5th and 58th window display. Photography by Tiffany Sage/BFA


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PEM’s Rare Bird of Fashion collection featured in 5th and 58th window display. Photography by Tiffany Sage/BFA


The event was a huge success!  Hot dogs and martinis were served to an exquisitely dressed crowd numbering over one hundred.  Special guests included members of PEM’s Fashion Visiting Committee, as well as model Christie Brinkley, fashion designer Jeffrey Banks, author and Vanity Fair correspondent, Amy Fine Collins, fashion designer Tommy and Dee Hilfiger, and Nicky Rothschild  (neé Hilton).

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Caroline Sutton, Thom Solo, PEM’s Elisabeth Buell. Photography by Tiffany Sage/BFA

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Fashion model, Christie Brinkley. Photography by Tiffany Sage/BFA

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Fashion designer, Tommy Hilfiger and author, Amy Fine Collins. Photography by Tiffany Sage/BFA

To see more photographs of the event, check out Bergdorf’s blog. To catch up on the book release, the Barbie and mentions of PEM’s involvement in the Bergdorf event, see these two recent articles from Hollywood Reporter and Architectural Digest.

Follow Petra on Instagram @pslinks. Ever thought about how hard it is to style those mannequins in museums? Petra explains in this article from Atlas Obscura. Find the new book Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon at the PEM Shop.

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