Iris – the review

When I interviewed Toronto Styilst Annie Aldworth she mentioned that her style icon is Iris Apfel. I had read about Iris in Vogue (June 2015 issue) and was intrigued. I had to see what this “rare bird of fashion” was all about and I was not disappointment. The documentary “Iris” by Albert Maysles follows Iris around New York as she shops, gives interviews, attends events and talks candidly about her life.

iris-apfel3Iris started her career as an interior designer and then started a weaving company – Old World Weavers with her husband Carl. The film documents her rise to “octogenarian stardom” as she calls it but what makes this such a wonderful story is it’s also about the love story between Iris and Carl. Maysles captures their tenderness and adoration so beautifully.

Iris has one of the biggest vintage designer clothing and couture costume jewellery collections in the US. The film shows many amazing pieces from Iris’ collection that it’s easy to understand why it has been exhibited in many museums, including the Costume Institute at the MET. iris_dollSlowly, Iris is donating some of her collection to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem Mass. She says in the film that “it’s better to know where your stuff is going while you’re still vertical.” The Peabody held the Iris Apfel exhibition in 2010. Click on the link and try the interactive dressing room. Check out modacarta’s Iris look.

Iris is currently playing at the Bloor Cinema in rotation with another fashion documentary – Mr. Dior.

Other Fashion Documentaries worth watching:

Valentino: The Last Emperor 2008

September Issue 2009

In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye 2012

Paper Art – IRIS header created with Japanese paper from The Paper Store , Toronto. There is no dress this week but I had a little fun turning the doll into Iris.barbie_1

Interview with a Stylist – Part 2

We continue the interview with Annie Aldworth. A stylist and photo producer in Toronto.

mc: Who’s your favourite Canadian Designer?

AA: I really like David Dixon, Lucien Matis, and Lida Biday.

mc: Who’s your fav designer overall?

AA: You should know the answer to that one. We became friends because of him.

mc: Memory refresh please!

AA: You had just been to New York and you were talking about the show Savage Beauty

that you had seen at the Costume Institute at the MET. So when I was in New York I saw the show and was so impressed with Alexander McQueen’s clothes. His ability to create a tailored jacket and then deconstruct it. You got me hooked and I recently returned to the Costume Institute to see Death Becomes Her.

mc: How was that show?

AA: It was great. Mostly Victorian era mourning clothes. A lot of the pieces will not be shown again due to their fragility.

mc: What defines great style?

AA: Someone who thinks outside box. Mixing different elements and making it work as a whole look.

mc: Who’s your style icon?

AA: Iris Apfel. I recently saw the documentary on her entitled Iris and she is fabulous. She is a 93 year old New Yorker that’s influenced fashion for decades. She has the biggest collection of couture costume jewellery in the US. She is not afraid of colour or accessories.

mc: What’s your favorite piece of clothing?

AA: Can I say my shoe collection? For me having a vintage or really unique shoe really elevates an outfit and takes it to another level. I saw a lot of floral shoes in the magazines for SS2015 but I haven’t seen anyone wearing them. These would be an example of what I’m talking about. Floral pumps with jeans. That’s style.

mc: If money was no object what luxury fashion piece would you buy?

AA: Because this is hypothetical I am going to say fur. I know it’s taboo but nothing feels as luxurious as fur. I was working on a photoshoot and one of the items I had to style was a mink lined and trimmed parka. I tried it on for fun and thought to myself – this is what luxury feels like! Please mention that I would never buy one.

mc: What¹s a classic, timeless piece?

AA: Hermes Kelly Bag. Almost every designer does their own rendition of it.

It was great chatting with Annie and I learned a lot about the biz and about her. This is modacarta’s homage to Alexander’s McQueen’s famous flower dress from his SS2007 collection. It was also featured in the Costume Institute’s 2011 show Savage Beauty.

Coming up in modacarta – film review of Iris.

Paper Art 

When I started this blog I really wanted to create this Alexander McQueen dress in paper. I saw it at the MET exhibit and was amazed that a dress could be made of flowers. This dress was a labour of love and made me appreciate how much work a designer and his/her team puts into to making one couture dress let alone a whole collection.

flower_dress AlexanderMcQueen1

Dress – painted tissue paper

Flowers – painted dryer sheets and coloured tissue paper


MET – Lori Tonizzo

Alexander McQueen Runway show SS 2007