Monday, August 20, 2012
Iris Apfel (born August 29, 1921) is an American businesswoman, interior designer, and fashion icon.
Born Iris Barrel in
, Apfel is the only child of Samuel Barrel, whose
family owned a glass-and-mirror business, and his Russian-born wife, Sadye, who
owned a fashion boutique. Queens, New
She studied art history at
York University and
attended art school at the . As a young
woman, Apfel worked for Women's Wear Daily and for interior designer Elinor
Johnson. She also was an assistant to illustrator Robert Goodman. University
In 1948, she married Carl Apfel. Two years later they launched the textile firm Old World Weavers and ran it until they retired in 1992. During this time, Iris Apfel took part in several design restoration projects, including work at the White House for nine presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton.
Apfel still consults and lectures about style and other fashion topics.
In 2005, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in
New York City premiered an
exhibition about Apfel titled Rara Avis (Rare Bird): The Irreverent Iris Apfel.