Monday, September 7, 2020

Iris Apfel Celebrates Her 99th Birthday in Ikat

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Iris Apfel celebrating her 99th birthday in an ikat gown
Self-described "geriatric starlet",  Iris Apfel, recently celebrated her 99th birthday.

The quick-witted, flamboyantly-dressed style maven, who has had an outsized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades, chose to celebrate in a long  ikat gown.

On her Instagram account she wrote:

"Quarantine can’t spoil
My happy day
Number ninety nine
Let’s go up up & away!"


In 2014 a documentary, Iris, was released. More than a fashion film, the documentary is a story about creativity and how, even at Iris' advanced age, a soaring free spirit continues to inspire.

The film portrays a singular woman whose enthusiasm for fashion, art and people are life's sustenance and reminds us that dressing, and indeed life, is nothing but an experiment.

Despite the abundance of glamour in her current life, she continues to embrace the values and work ethic established during a middle-class Queens upbringing during the Great Depression.  She said "I feel lucky to be working. If you're lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows".

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Mattel launched the Iris Barbie doll in 2018
In her book Accidental Icon she wrote that "I never wanted to be an old curmudgeon" and she succeeded.  Iris Apfel started her second career at an age when other people have long since retired.

She was 90 when she made her first limited edition for cosmetics manufacturer MAC Cosmetics – red lipstick is Iris Apfel’s trademark alongside oversized black owl glasses.

She was 97 when she signed her first modelling contract with the modelling agency IMG and 98 when a Barbie Iris doll was created.

Working in fashion and interior design, Iris Apfel has amassed a large textile collection. In 2005 New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, organized an exhibition, Rara Avis (rare bird), showcasing fashion, accessories and antique fabrics from her collection.

Later, Iris created a fashion line Rara Avis, in which Central Asian ikat featured.

Viva Iris!

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Iris Apfel putting the finishing touches on an ikat coat in her Rara Avis collection
Related posts:
Valentino Haute Couture Meets Suzani
Fashion's Obession with Central Asian Design
Ikat Textiles in Art 
Celebrities in Ikat 





Monday, August 17, 2020

Suzani and Ikat Cakes

Many years ago, just after the opening of Chaikoff cafe (Кофейня "ЧайКоф") in Said Baraka Street, Tashkent, the pastry chef created this masterpiece decorated in the red and black style of a Tashkent suzani. No one dared eat it - too beautiful to cut.

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Finding this photograph recently I wondered whether suzani or ikat cakes had become a *thing*. And it seems they have become a small trend. Not only cakes but also cake tins and cake stands.

Here are examples of wonderful cakes made in Europe and the USA embellished in traditional Uzbek patterns. Yet none of them really measure up to this Chaikoff chef d'oeuvre, do they?

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uzbek embellishments food, art craft tours uzbekistan central asia


uzbek embellishments food, art craft tours uzbekistan central asia

Related posts:
Tea with Bread and Jam – a Traveller’s Appreciation of the Finer Things in Kyrgyz Life
The Glory of Uzbek Bread
 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Soviet Intourist Posters - Central Asia and the Caucasus

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Poster to attract German tourists to Central Asia

Soviet era propaganda posters have become highly collectible. Some of the USSR's most famous artists and designers created some of the coolest posters of all time. 

Think painter Alexander Rodchenko's instantly recognizable posters. Or the brothers Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg, originally trained as engineers, who created avante-garde movie posters. El Lissitsky typographical treatments are also readily recognisable.

Intourist, the Soviet travel agency founded in 1929, developed astonishing travel posters to attract visitors. Here is a selection of posters about Central Asia and the Caucasus.

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Poster to attract French tourists to Armenia

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Batumi, on the Black Sea, is Georgia's seaside resort. It is also well known for citrus fruits.


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The famous Georgian Military Highway, between Georgia and Russia, is 212 kms.
It follows the traditional route used by invaders and traders throughout the ages.


Related posts: Propaganda Posters of the Soviet East: 1918 - 1940