A woman with fabulous personal style, incredible business smarts and eye for interior design, Iris Apfel is an influencial and inspirational maven in our industry.
"I love to dig and search and find. And if I’m shopping…You know, if it’s a piece of fabric, I listen to the threads. It’s not intellectual at all. The price is nothing. It’s the emotional content...I have to feel it in my gut. I don’t know how to explain it other than that."
- Iris Apfel
She studied art history at New York University and attended art school before starting her career at Women's Wear Daily (the fashion-industry trade gospel). As we all know and see today, fashion inspires interior design so it's not surprising that Iris began in fashion and later launched into an interior design career.
In the 1950s, Iris became an authority in the textile world and decorative arts as she and her husband, Carl Apfel, launched the textile firm Old World Weavers just two years after they married.
During her travels for work, Iris began buying non-western fashion pieces to expand on her ever-so-eclectic wardrobe. Her style both in fashion and interior design epitomizes luxury, abundance, and a flair for the dramatic. Far from a minimalist, she creates spaces (and outfits!) that have a lot to look at, yet are still easy on the eye; a true talent to be recognized and admired.
From 2005-2006 the Costume Institute at the MET hosted an exhibit of accessories and fashion spotlighting 40 objects from her personal wardrobe - Rara Avis: Selections from the Iris Apfel Collection. And 2011 Rare Bird of Fashion - The Irreverent Iris Apfel was published, spring boarding her further into the fashion spotlight and bringing her to the forefront of both fashion and interior designers minds.
Credit: Boston Globe [ source ]
A muse to many in the interiors world, Iris has surely inspired the mixing of patterns in spaces, unique furniture layouts, floor to ceiling trimmings, and the inclusion of collected antiques and fabrics from around the world.
Take a look below at spaces we've found that were inspired by Iris' six decades of more-is-more design influence:
Pattern Mixing and Unique Furniture Layout
Credit: Design Sponge [ source ]
Notorious for mixing patterns, Iris would surely approve! Global prints and floral patterns seemingly thrive together in this eclectic room.
Iris once described planning a room layout as working with a jig-saw puzzle, each unique piece of furniture finding its place to create a complete picture. The space also seems to embody her jig-saw concept, each piece carefully placed, fitting together perfectly leaving not an ounce of space untouched.
Credit: Michelle Nussbaumer [ source ]
There is lots to look at in this space designed by Michelle Nussbaumer and featured in her book, Wanderlust: Interiors That Bring the World Home. The tassel fringe on the drapery panels are to die for! Iris always includes trimmings in her interiors and as she accessories with her outfits; the more the merrier!
Global and Antique Inclusion
Credit: Gillsbrook Interiors [ source ]
With an ikat on the front pillow and a vintage bamboo hutch in the corner, this space featured by @gillsbrookinteriors includes both global touches and antique pieces as do all of Iris's spaces and ensembles.
With interior design, let's continue to take Iris' advise: listen to you own heart and surround yourself with the things (and textiles!) you love!