9.05.2015

the met + meeting iris apfel: regrets

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | meeting iris apfel at the met

I will do my level best to never miss a Met Costume Institute Exhibit again. And if I happen to run into Iris Apfel (and I mean LITERALLY RUN INTO IRIS APFEL), I will simply tell her she's amazing and leave it at that.

I actually don't bother celebrities, much less ask for pictures. People are people, man. Some are famous, some are not. There are many Wondrous People worthy of a brief interlude, or a photo, in every walk of life. Several of y'all would get leveled by the sheer force of my hug were we to unexpectedly meet on the street. But still, in the Celestial Celebrity Realm, there have been a few I couldn't resist...

(lotsa museum shots in this one... click "read more" below to hear the rest of the story!)



Prime example: Luciano Pavarotti came to see Rent, and it was announced that he'd be backstage during intermission, if anyone wanted to meet him. YEAH OKAY. I never ripped off those blue plastic pants so quickly. I think I was panting at the Stage Manager's booth seven seconds after the end of Act One. The two of us first on the scene (Mark was the other) were treated to an enormous megawatt grin and a great big bear hug that enveloped us both simultaneously and lasted an eternity. He set the bar for any celebrity meeting after that. I will seriously never forget it.

Would that I could forget my encounter with Iris! I was kneeling on the ground to get a shot of one of the many amazing pieces, and as I turned to stand, a polite gentleman pleaded with me to Please, be careful! 

How silly, I thought, What needless worry, I am the definition of a Considerate Human Being in this crowded museum! I realized his concern surrounded a wheelchair, the footrest millimeters behind me. Keeping the gaze of Polite Gentleman, I soothed him with a smile: I'll just step over the footrest, and made my gentle way out of the wall of tourists almost as if by levitation.

As I floated away on my cloud of Proper Behavior, one of my cohorts breathed TELL ME THAT'S NOT WHO I THINK IT IS. I turned back to survey the scene of Polite Gentleman and his charge: saw the hair, saw the glasses, saw the inches I had just occupied in front of her...

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

I MIGHT AS WELL HAVE BEEN KNEELING BEFORE A DEITY, MAN.

That thing in me clicked: THIS IS A PERSON THAT I MUST HAVE AN INTERACTION WITH. My cohorts gave me a pep talk, and I marched back over. Excuse me, I said in hushed tones to the lovely lady manning the apparatus, Do you think she might mind if I asked her for a picture? I don't want to bother her, I just think she's amazing, I've even made outfits inspired by her...

I'm sure it's no problem, she smiled at me, A lot of people have been asking. I waited until Polite Gentleman had finished discussing the piece before her, and asked with reverent fervor if I might have a picture.

So reverent, that she couldn't hear me. There's polite, and there's mincing. I upped the volume, along with compliments, and she graciously said yes, so long as you do it quickly, they're being so kind to me here. 

I knelt in a flash, became all thumbs, and couldn't find the damn reverse button on the iphone camera. I tapped the screen once with no result, and made my escape.

I actually wish I hadn't bothered her. Although I'm fully aware that sort of thing comes with the territory, and I believe that it's part of what you sign up for when you get into the business, I don't think of her as being part of the business. At least, I don't think that's what she set out to do. She's sort of an unintentional icon. Add to that, I learned a few minutes after my bumbling episode that her husband Carl had just passed. Unimaginable.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

We were basically on the same path for the rest of that room, so my exclamations and photo snaps over the next dress in the exhibit probably looked like I was trying to get more shots of her. Which I wasn't, I mean, that would be rude, and furthermore, when you can't find the reverse button, you turn off your desire for a snap before you drop and shatter your phone in your feeble nervous attempts. And what would I do with a photo of us, anyway? It was amazing to see her in the flesh. I was close enough to verify that her glasses are the size of my head!

I'm sure she hasn't given it a second thought, but I do feel badly about it. It's a good reminder that people who ask for a handshake or a photo are probably doing it because they feel a connection to you, and a good reminder that the person of interest has a life going on.

If I do see her again, I'll send her a silent obeisance. And I just might, because for real, If I'm in town, I'm not missing another Costume Institute exhibit. I. AM. NOT. I was here the entire time for McQueen, and just let it pass me by. HUGE REGRET!!!! "China through the Looking Glass" didn't seem like my bag, and yet, since I've seen it, it's all I can think about. Matter of fact, this long winded tale serves a dual purpose of giving your device some time to load the FULL ON DUMP of pictures I'm about to throw down.

If you're in town, you have till Monday to see this amazing eye candy in person. What are you doing here? Go! Go right now!

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

oonaballoona | a sewing blog by marcy harriell | the met + meeting iris apfel

47 comments:

  1. Truly amazing show. Your pics are great. Im sure that Iris could see your genuine adoration through the camera fumbling. I think it's a sweet story...,no need for regrets.

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    1. these pics were from my phone! how crazy is that? i hope she got the vibe, i think the encounter lasted all of 9 seconds.

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  2. Caroline (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, was at the same exhibit and took some of the same pictures you did. Fabulous exhibit I wish I could go.

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    1. she was a cohort! i owe her one, i wouldn't have gone otherwise. mind blowing exhibit!

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    2. You are one of my favorite museum cohorts! We both love the designs so much and you don't want to rush through...I love that! Cause I want to take my time and see as much as possible! Jacqueline in November fo shuh!

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    3. it is a standing date!!! i feel the same way. i can't believe i maxed out before the last gallery!

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  3. Wow. I have a general policy against being on the island of Manhattan during the summer and anytime before September 15. Looks like I should have broken that rule this year. Your photos are incredible. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. i applaud this general policy! i would amend it to include an obligatory stay in the loire valley.

      and i snapped these on my iphone-- i'm starting to think it might take better shots than my old beat up canon!

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  4. I remember being in an elevator at the 4 Seasons with Alec Baldwin (like in the Kim B / totally hot days). We were the only ones. I did not say anything for 15 floors because, dammit, I'm stupid that way. I can't tell you how many, ahem, thoughts I've had of being in an elevator with young Alec Baldwin. And to make matters worse, I'd just had my kid the year before and I looked utterly post-natal hideous...

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    1. well, i'm certain you didn't look hideous, but from what i've heard, who KNOWS what he would have said. my god he's a funny man. i even love his credit card commercials.

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  5. What a momment! And if you hadn't gone over, you would have regretted it... so all's well that ends well! :)

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    1. true that, i would have always wondered!

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  6. I'm watching the Iris documentary and fabulous doesn't seem to aptly describe Ms. Iris, and can only imagine what it would be like to see her in person. I went to see China Through the Looking back in June and thought it was wonderfully curated. I love the idea of the contemporary designers created a modern interpretation. I enjoyed the exhibit.

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    1. i still haven't seen the documentary, i think i'm saving it like a prize...

      i forgot to pick up a map of the exhibit so i could remember the designers! there was so much beauty, it was hard to read & retain by the end of it.

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    2. The exhibit map only gave a diagram of the exhibit - not a lot of info at all. I started taking pictures of the little blurbs so I could remember who designed what...probably why I have so many pictures! It really was an amazing exhibit!

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    3. I always take pictures of the blurbs when I happen to be in a museum that allows pictures (not a common occurrence in the Czech Republic). It's a practice I wholeheartedly recommend; worth taking a ton of pictures.

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  7. Oh sweets! Living in LA I too have a very strict "I don't bother celebs" rule too, and honestly I only broke it once when I burst into tears telling Rickie Lee Jones how awesome she is. True story. Not sure if you recall from IG, but on our trip this year to Paris I saw Karl Lagerfeld in a bookstore. Knowing that all I would say is something like "loblbkfanoierhalfdjkvnadkjgaf... you're awesome!" I chose to stare at him like a kid watching Santa in his frickin' workshop. But you know, there are moments when I wish I had bothered him for a photo, because it's Karl for christ's sake! It's all good that you "bothered" her, which I bet as you say, didn't bother her at all. And now what a story you have :)

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    1. YES, i loved that bookstore sighting! i mean, what else can you do but stare at karl? i think he basically demands it! and i bet rickie lee jones was completely touched.

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  8. Oh wow! I wish I could go see this exhibit! Those pieces look divine. It is apparent the detail and care that went into each of these. To meet Iris Apfel on top of that is a just amazing! I love her style and I can definitely see the influence in the things you make.

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    1. she reminds me of how i really want to dress every day! the exhibit was truly stunning, i bet it's going to make the rounds.

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    2. So my husband and I are binge watching NCIS and there was a nurse that I thought looked remarkably like you. I looked up the credits and sure enough it was you. That makes you celebrity in my book! One day if I ever manage to get back to New York and I run into you on the street I am stopping you to get a picture! I hope you don't mind!

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    3. haha! my hair was tv size, which is to say, small. kind of my disguise, i guess? that was a fun one, matter of fact there was talk of making the hospital a mainstay and adding that gang on for the next season. sadly, it was only talk...

      and mind? hell, i'll probably compose the shot ;)!

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  9. Ha! This made me think of when I met one of my favorite bloggers, Gertrude from Gertie's blog for better sewing. I put her right up there with you:) Excellent seamstress. So Excellent that I was actually crazy nervous to meet her. Silly over meeting a fellow blogger, but there you have it.
    We took a photo together. She put her arm around my shoulder, but I am much shorter than she is, and my hand (while aiming for her waist) lands right on her derriere.
    Seriously awkward. And then I didn't move it. I froze like I thought she might not notice.
    Geez. So I turned beet red and the photo looks like I might explode.
    I feel like sometimes I shouldn't be allowed to go into public.
    Just be warned, if I ever meet you, and you are taller, I may not put my arm around you. Just in case.

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    1. okay, i want to say something thoughtful like "not silly at all, i think there's always nerves when meeting someone new, let alone someone you've wanted to meet"... which is true... but that story is HILARIOUS. perhaps she was wearing a full skirt with crinoline and truly didn't notice you coppin' a feel.

      my booty is a bit hard to avoid, geographically speaking, so i hereby absolve you of any future transgressions.

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    2. LOL!! Well, unfortunately, she was wearing more of a curve hugging pencil skirt. I hope she doesn't remember me at all. The terrible thing was that my mind was racing as I froze there, and I kept thinking, should I move now? Maybe she didn't feel it there? Oh goodness it feels like it has been there for an eternity. Etc.
      And THANK YOU:)
      ~Michelle

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  10. Oona,
    It is unfortunate that you were not able to capture Iris...this time. You may another time under different circumstances....and aren't there so many?
    I want to tell you of my appreciation for what you did capture...moreover how you captured them. The pictures are exquisite. The framing of them is superb. Don't want to go long, but the first two pictures show the creation and then the attention to detailing in the continuation of the pattern through the seam. Both the creator and the one picturing caught that. Amazing.
    I am no longer on the east coast but on the west so thank you so much for allowing me to see this through your eyes....as many times we look for and at the same things. :-)

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    1. thank you so much for that, and dammit if i wasn't messing with the picture order probably as you were typing! i meant to insert a few pics in the story to break it up, and then completely forgot my original intention. COULDN'T LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE! i *think* i left the first two in the long queue in the original order-- did you mean the white floral dress? that seam work was unbelievable, in fact there were many several dresses that we pored over trying to find the seam line. it took every ounce of discipline not to include 50 photos here!

      and i really appreciate the photo love, part of me hates to snap away when there's real life right in front of me, but then, you take a piece of it with you that, like you said, is in your own eyes rather than the eyes of another photographer in a fashion book. i love carolyn's post too, seeing what caught her eye, and how she framed it!

      i hope the exhibit makes its way to your side of the country. it was a smash over here so i bet it'll travel!

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  11. Seriously geeking out over here!! What and amazing day, the photos really do show the beauty and oh man you were kneeling at the throne of "style icon" and handled it with grace. Send her or her people a thank you note for the interaction and maybe a print of your work she has inspired. She truly is an icon of live in what you love.

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    1. actually, that might make me feel a little less silly about the whole thing! i really just wanted her to know i admire her, would be nice to write that down.

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  12. You did get some great shots, and I thank you because I won't be able to see it in person. I have never asked anyone to let me take a picture with him/her, but I would definitely ask for a picture if I ran into you at the fabric store.

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    1. and i would happily pull a crazy face for the lens ;)))).

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  13. Your photos are incredible.
    I heard an interview with Sir Ian McKellen recently where he talked about having a human connection with someone, a real moment, rather than just a photo; it seems that that's what you had with the amazing Iris!

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    1. ah! sadly it felt like the opposite of the sir's option, which is the option i prefer!

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  14. That exhibition looks amazing! I can't believe you didn't see the McQueen one... I saw the recent London one and it was so beautiful it made me cry.

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    1. truly kicking myself. i keep thinking it will come back...

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  15. I think sewing bloggers are the celebrities I would be most excited to meet. I saw you pop up in an episode of Elementary and Royal Pains, and I was so excited. (My husband didn't understand.) I do regret never asking Graham Greene, the Canadian Aboriginal actor, one of my favourites, for his autograph when I served him lunch one time!

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    1. oh no, and it was perfect, you had him at the table as a captive! (and you mentioned two of my favorite guest star spots, i loved those.)

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  16. Beautiful! Sometimes I wish I had the kind of life in which such wonderful creations were appropriate to wear.

    I have never met a celebrity and I'm kind of glad. I would probably embarrass myself terribly.

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    1. man i'm doing my level best to find a way to work this stuff in. and there were some truly decked out attendees that day!

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  17. To totally sound like a creeper, you didn't happen to be there Friday evening, did you?? Say, going downstairs into the actual Costume Institute maybe around 6ish or 7pm? I thought I saw The Hair, but only from an angle and my visitors weren't done taking pictures of all the plaques in the Egyptian halls so if that was you I missed MY chance to go all embarrassingly googly-eyed fangirl!

    We went through the exhibit a little later, I don't really feel satisfied with the cultural context (or lackthereof) of the exhibit but oh. my. god. was it gorgeous! I wish I hadn't waited til the end so I could've visited a few times slowly, though to be honest, it's also pretty amazing being at the museum late during the closing weekend when everyone's jammed in and excited and dressed to the nines to match the exhibit. So many fabulous outfits in the crowd!

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    1. matter of fact, we were in the downstairs level at exactly 6:19 because that's when i realized i'd missed my ballet class! my hair was helping us all find each other, so it was probably me ;)

      now that you say it it did seem more about fashion--especially the movement of the clothes in movies--but i was too taken away by the clothes to notice! oddly enough, when you spotted us on the stairs we were talking about a restaurant in LA named Mao's Kitchen, and whether or not that was a culturally/ethically unfortunate name (the verdict was yes).

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  18. Jaw dropping garments .. just amazing confections! The first red photo of deliciousness .. pure RICHNESS! And .. oooh Iris, there may be another encounter occasion for you yet. Empathize with the attempt and your afterthoughts. Sad, she's in mourning for her dear husband .. talk about a durable marriage and glorious long lives.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/26/t-magazine/carl-apfel-in-memoriam.html?_r=0

    What a gal ... a woman of her own insistently unique style.

    http://edgifyme.com/iris-apfel-a-fashion-legend/

    ~Joy~

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  19. Gorgeous photos! I think I would've been exactly the same if I'd bumped into Iris ;)

    Shame also about the McQueen - I missed it in London too as it was so booked out and I just couldn't get in any time I was visiting :( hopefully it'll be a good excuse for a cheeky visit to Paris to see it there though!

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  20. I have about eight OMGs to this post starting with Pavorotti and ending on that gold beaded dress...but most importantly, don't beat yourself up. I am sure she sensed your kindness. On another note, can't believe you got to take photos! They nearly rugby tackled our cameras when we took them out at McQueen!

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  21. Wow, with those amazing pics I feel like I was there! :) I actually got to meet Brian Dennehy once, and while I odn;t think he's the best actor in the world (sorry Mr. Dennehy!), I was almost overwhelmed by his presence and charm...as I watched my comparatively doll-sized hand DISAPPEAR in his when shaking his hand! Oh, and I "spotted" Peter O'Toole once shortly before his passing - what magnetism, even then! *swoon*

    I said all that because I am SO HAPPY you got to meet and idol or two you brought back memories, and I hope you get to meet many more - it's such an amazing experience, and I'm thankful you shared this with all of us! :)

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  22. Beautiful pictures! Wish I could be there!

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!