Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Freedom of Expression

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Iris Apel Fashion Icon

Iris Apfel is my hero. She's fearless, has insane amounts of wisdom under her belt and an enormous appreciation for different cultures. She started as a interior decorator reproducing fabrics from the 17th - early 20th century. Word spread of her beautiful fabrics and textile designs that even the white house was one of her clients for over 9 presidencies. Iris grew an appreciation for colors and different fabrics while traveling around the world for her business and it translates so well in her style. I love that Iris is comfortable in her own skin. She reminds me a lot like my grandmother. Very classy, and always extravagant!
My grandmother was a super model and also was Miss Shimizu (her hometown in Japan). She had incredible taste and because her family came from a generation of tailors, she knew early the quality of fabrics. In fact, my great grandfather was so ahead of the times, that he was the first person ever to introduce the American Suit to his town in Japan. Up until then, Japan had only known kimonos. Shimizu is a sea port town, so a lot of boats would come through and of course a lot of american sailors and soldiers would always show up in their suits. My great grandfather would be so amazed and so intrigued by their clothing that he decided to make his own suits. He befriended these americans and asked if he could borrow their suit to study the patterns and sewing construction. They were thrilled to do so and from then on, my grandfather studied up and made his own custom suits which he sold out of his house. He would wear his suits where ever he went and people would stop him and ask where he had gotten his suits and they would end up ordering one right there on the spot. (a great PR strategy that he probably didn't even know he was doing) Soon after, he was the hit of the town and his name became famous for its custom tailored suits. I wish I could have met him. He sounds like such a visionary. His talent was passed to my grandfather and when he eventually met my beautiful grandma, he knew she would be the spokesperson for their family business. Her beauty and charm played such an important role in my life and now, years later I understand the importance of PR. All this time I thought she was just being crazy for hosting so many parties and being such a social butterfly but in fact, she was working. She was selling her product. Her just being her. Wearing all the beautiful tailored clothes and looking amazing was a walking advertisement for the company. She was fabulous even up until she got sick. Before she died, she told me, "Never be afraid to be yourself'. And that, my friends is such an important lesson. Iris is not afraid to be herself. That's what makes her unique. She wears what she wants to wear, however she wants to. Style is such an expression of individuality, use it. Claim it as your own.
I miss my grandma so much. She was full of life and never wore a dull thing in her life. She was my Iris Apfel.

5 comments:

Steffy's Pro's and Con's said...

when im older i hope i am exactly like that.

<3 steffy
steffysprosandcons.blogspot.com

RyanBaxley said...

She's awesome. Good post.

marisa said...

individualism is something that japan is seriously lacking in my opinion, so your grandmother sounds really special ;)

robin said...

mine too I <3 her so ;)

jeannine said...

Iris Apfel, the amazing rare bird of life, fashion and textiles, accessories, texture and pattern, and a warm wonderful sage who shares herself freely... thanks for the post!

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