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Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion at Nassau County Museum of Art
The pieces in the exhibit are from flea markets, houses of haute couture, East Indian Bazaars, thrift stores, discount department stores, Old European artifacts, and handmade boutiques from all over the globe. With over 60 years worth of collecting, Iris was able to pair brand new finds and old: “mix something I bought last week with something I’ve hoarded for 30 years.”

NEW YORK.- Fashionable New Yorkers – and even some who are not all that dressy – are excited about the new exhibition at Nassau County Museum of Art which presents the incredible costumes of fashion icon, Iris Apfel.

For over a half century, Iris Barrel Apfel has perfected a style of dressing that constitutes nothing less than a personal art form Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion, drawn from Apfel’s closets, drawers and shelves, reflects her adventures in bazaars, thrift shops, souks, flea markets, houses of haute couture and handicraft workshops that have created a singular look – one marked by fantasy, exuberance, exoticism and, most of all, whimsy and humor. The exhibition opens at Nassau County Museum of Art (NCMA) on Sunday, May 20., Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion is organized into a series of fully-accessorized, dramatically-lit tableaux that create an exciting viewing environment from the moment the visitor enters the galleries. The exhibition is curated by JoAnne Olian, curator emeritus of the Museum of the City of New York, and designed by Joe Pescatore, professor at Nassau Community College and Parsons the New School for Design.

An American original in the truest sense, Iris Apfel is one of the most vivacious personalities in the worlds of fashion, textiles and interior design and is widely treasured for a personal style that is both witty and exuberantly idiosyncratic. Her originality is revealed in her mixing of high and low fashion—Dior haute couture with flea-market finds, Dolce & Gabbana striped leather trousers with a Zuni belt. With remarkable panache and discernment, she fearlessly combines colors, textures and patterns without regard to period, provenance, and, ultimately, aesthetic conventions. Paradoxically, her richly layered combinations—even at their most extreme and baroque—project a boldly graphic modernity.

Apfel and her husband Carl founded Old World Weavers, an international textile manufacturing company. Their exquisite workmanship and intricate designs attracted the sophisticated tastes of Greta Garbo, Marjorie Merriweather Post, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Estee Lauder and many others. The couple sold the company to Stark Carpet but remained involved as consultants. She has also consulted on numerous restoration projects, including renovation and refurbishment of the White House.

Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion remains on view at NCMA until Sunday, September 7. In conjunction with the exhibition, NCMA is presenting several stimulating lectures, discussions and other activities that will serve to enhance the experience of viewing the exhibition. For details on these events, log onto or call (516) 484-9338, ext. 12.

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