A significant slice of fashion icon Iris Apfel’s wardrobe is going to one lucky recipient: the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The 600-piece collection, which includes designs from Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Dior, and Alexander McQueen, has been amassed over five decades.
All 600 pieces were originally featured in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2005 show “Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel,” which then traveled to the Peabody Essex in 2009. Although the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute expressed interest in acquiring the collection, Apfel chose the Peabody Essex because she liked the museum and its staff, according to the Boston Globe.
She originally started donating 80 to 90 pieces of her clothing and jewelry annually to the museum in 2010; together with this latest gift, she has earmarked almost 900 pieces for the Peabody Essex in total. Neither Apfel nor the meseum would speculate on the value of the collection (which spans Lanvin gowns, vintage Halston, 19th-century haute couture, and flea-market finds), but she and her husband Carl will also bequeath an undisclosed sum for a fashion gallery to be opened at the museum in 2017.
“I think Peabody Essex is a fabulous place,’’ Apfel said. “Having dealt with a lot of art museums, I can tell you that I was very pleased with the way that it’s run. I think they’re quite cutting edge. This museum is much more cross-cultural than others I’ve worked with and mixes it up a bit.’’