Peabody Essex Museum Honors Iris Apfel’s 100th Birthday With a Month-Long Celebration

The Peabody Essex Museum is honoring Iris Apfel’s 100th birthday with an extravagant exhibition.

The global fashion icon is being honored by PEM with a month-long celebration featuring special programming, a pop-up shop and the inaugural Iris Apfel Award. Apfel will present the Iris Apfel Award to Tommy Hilfiger in a virtual event on Sept. 17, which will be screened at PEM as part of its Friday late-night programming. Apfel selected Hilfiger as someone who is a creative force in the industry, and as someone who demonstrates excellence in design in balance with good business sense and entrepreneurial acumen, according to statement. The public is invited to attend this virtual event, which will feature a conversation between Apfel and Hilfiger.

A three-story Apfel-inspired window installation will be unveiled in mid-September in Salem, Mass., where the museum is located. This installation will include imagery from the Iris x Zenni Zentennial eyewear collection.

Pieces from the icon’s wardrobe and jewelry as well as limited-edition ornaments featuring the likeness of Apfel and her late husband, Carl Apfel, will be available for sale in the PEM shop. The series “Little People, Big Dreams” now includes a book on Apfel, which will also be available in the shop.

“An irreverent creative force with an entrepreneurial spirit, Iris Apfel is a true original,” said Petra Slinkard, PEM’s director of curatorial affairs and The Nancy B. Putnam Curator of Fashion and Textiles. “On the occasion of her 100th year, PEM is delighted to honor the legacy and impact of Mrs. Apfel and her late husband, Carl, in memorable ways.”

In the past, PEM hosted the blockbuster exhibition “Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion” in 2009 to 2010 and is home to one of the largest collections of Apfel fashion and accessories, which are displayed on an ongoing basis in the museum’s Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery of Fashion and Design.


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