Friday, August 23, 2013

Happy Birthday, Iris Apfel

International style inspiration Iris Apfel will turn 92 on August 29, 2013. Apfel describes herself as the “geriatric starlet” due to her immense fame from just being herself, Iris.  

Lori J. Durante with Iris and Carl Apfel.  Iris celebrates a birthday on August 29th
IrisApfel’s notable career began in interior design at the company that she founded with her husband Carl Apfel, Old World Weavers in New York City, which is an internationally acclaimed textile design and manufacturing company.  The year was 1950, and Harry S. Truman was the thirty-third President of the United States, when Carl and Iris Apfel started their company Old World Weavers.  More than 20 years ago the Apfels sold Old World Weavers to Stark Carpet.  During Mrs. Apfel’s distinguished career at Old World Weavers, she was a part of many interior design restoration projects including work at the White House under nine different U.S. Presidents:  Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton. Some of Iris Apfel’s other prominent clients included Estee Lauder and Greta Garbo.
Lori J. Durante with style doyenne Iris Apfel.
Photo by Carline Jean

Born Iris Barrel in Astoria, Queens, New York, Apfel is the only child of Samuel Barrel and his Russian-born wife, Sadye.

Iris Apfel studied art at New York University and at the University of Wisconsin. Following her college graduation in Wisconsin, Apfel worked for the notable fashion trade publication Women's Wear Daily in New York City.
The organic fashion style of Iris Apfel has launched world-wide curiosity and admiration sparked by museum retrospectives highlighting Iris's attire that has been influenced by her decades of global travel.

Iris Apfel’s style is unintentionally landmark which attributes to the appeal of Iris,” says Lori J. Durante, Executive Director/Chief Curator of the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History who has studied, researched and documented Iris Apfel’s biography for a future museum exhibition.  Fashion curator Lori J. Durante of Delray Beach, Florida continues: "Iris Apfel’s style has been illuminating.”

Lori J. Durante with style icon Iris Apfel in Palm Beach, Florida.
Photo by Carline Jean

To honor Iris Apfel’s 92nd birthday, the non-profit Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History (MLFH) is creating an on-line birthday greeting for Iris Apfel.  The public and Iris fans are invited to e-mail or mail their birthday wishes for Iris to MLFH. Birthday greetings or poems are limited to 250 words and must include name, City, State, Country, phone and e-mail of the sender. Each birthday greeting is subject to review before being published and will remain the property of MLFH. Participation is voluntary and free. Birthday greetings for Iris Apfel can be sent anytime.  Email or mail to P.O. Box 6127, Delray Beach, FL  33482 USA. For more information, call 561-243-2662 or visit

Click here to read The Palm Beach Post's Tumblr blog and ode to Iris Apfel's Birthday.

The Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History (MLFH) is a non-profit 501c3 organization as designated by the IRS. MLFH was established in year 1999 in Palm Beach County, Florida. The Mission of MLFH is to offer educational programs, and history and retrospective anthropology exhibits showcasing lifestyle, cultures, people, places, fashion trends, clothes, architecture, furnishings, decorative arts, interior designs, locomotives and toys, and information about popular uses of artifacts by people/events of various periods of time. 2001 marked the year that MLFH was approved to host traveling exhibitions from the Smithsonian Institution. In year 2004, MLFH premiered the Narrated Bus Tours of Historic Delray Beach, Florida. The tours have been hugely popular and rated the Most Unique Travel Gem by AAA Travel Home & Away Magazine. The Historic Tours have hosted more than 8,000 passengers. The mission of the tours is to showcase the historic cultural lifestyle, people, and places. American Express has been one  sponsors of the Narrated Bus Tours of Historic Delray Beach.  October 2011, MLFH premiered its newest program the Taste History Culinary Toursof Historic Palm Beach County that is sponsored by Macy's, the Patricia Ann Ravo Fund and the Boris & Edith Rueger Fund. The purpose of the Taste History Culinary Tours is to infuse food history, food culture, foodways and food tastings into facts about the historic districts and pioneer people of Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Lake Worth, and Lantana, Florida (Palm Beach County) along with highlighting art galleries, historic buildings and showcasing the contributions of early settlers. There are more than thirty culinary partners for this program that include restaurants, cafes, an urban farm, historic buildings and art galleries.  And, in 2012, the Narrated Bus Tours of Historic Lake Worth, Florida was added to the program.