photo by Ken Yuszkus
Iris Apfel has been referred to as a design iconoclast. It's easy to see why . She is an interior designer, textile designer, clothing and accessory designer and style icon.
She and her husband founded Old World Weavers in 1952. It began in a walk up building on east 57th St and built it to be one of the most prestigious brands in the world of textiles.
Her taste level and desire to not cut corners gave her all the components to be a succesful high end brand. She was quoted saying "Beautiful things that have to be crafted cannot be made inexpensively". It was this thought process in her design that attracted such clients as Estee Lauder, Jacqueline Onassis, Greto Garbo and even the White House! She has upholstery fabric made on 18th century looms that retails at about $2000/ yard.
She would use some of the exquisite fabric to create clothing and accessories. It was these pieces that were on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Her company was eventually sold to Stark Carpet company.
She is a true creative force and visionary. She would search old books, flea markets and second hand shops for inspiration, she refused to compromise technique and craftsmanship, and she started small and allowed her company to grow organically and ethically. I love hearing about success stories like this. It's inspires me that I could do the same.