In celebration of her husband Carl Apfel’s 100th birthday (August 4), interior designer and fashion icon Iris Apfel hosted a birthday soirée with industry friends at the Stark Carpet showroom Tuesday evening.
Iris and Carl Apfel
Carl and Iris co-founded Old World Weavers, a small, high-end fabric company that was acquired by Stark when the couple retired in 1992. The Apfels introduced Stark to the European textile mills, sparking the company’s transition from carpets to fabrics, and have since maintained close relationships with the Stark family.
“We always wanted to go into the fabric business and Iris and Carl wanted to spend more time enjoying their lives,” said Stark President Steven Stark. “[When Stark bought Old World Weavers] we made a deal with [Iris and Carl] where they would stay on for five years. We ended up loving them so much they ended up staying on for 10 to 15 years. They are the greatest people and it’s great to be able to share this with them.”
Steven Stark, Candice Stark, Tony Ingrao
“They are like adopted parents to me,” said showroom manager Carmen Bruni who has been working for Stark for nearly 20 years. “They used to be here every day and even when Iris was busy with her show [at the MET] Carl would still come in, sit in his office in the back and tutor all the new employees explaining to them about the fabrics and the different qualities.”
The mid-20th century themed birthday party featured Mickey Mouse decorations, Frank Sinatra tunes and even an impromptu visit from a Marilyn Monroe impersonator.
Isabel Toledo, Ruben Toledo, James Aguiar
Notable attendees included members of the Stark family including John Stark, Steven Stark, Candice Stark, Chad Stark, Ashley Stark, Architectural Digest Editor-in-Chief Margaret Russell, fashion designer Isabel Toledo and artist Ruben Toledo, Bergdorf Goodman Senior Vice President Linda Fargo, fashion designer Naeem Khanand and his wife Ranjana Kahn, and fashion designer Duro Olowu.
Ranjana Khan, Naeem Khan, Devin Bruce
Linda Fargo, Duro Olowu, Margaret Russell, Iris Apfel
“Individually they are incredible and together they are sensational,” said Olowu of Iris and Carl.
Before helping her husband blow out the candles on his cake, Iris made a toast on behalf of Carl. “Carl is so happy that you could all come and he asked that I welcome you and thank Candice for throwing this beautiful party—we are so pleased,” said Iris. “He wants you to know that while we have a lot of problems with getting old, when I look around it’s really worth it to be one hundred.”
“It is not everyday that you have a party with so many lovely people who really like you,” said Carl appreciatively.
Article by Haley Williams; photo credit Patrick McMullan