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Iris Apfel Donates 600 Pieces to a Salem Museum

Iris ApfelSalem, Massachusetts is a cool little city: the town is best known as the home of the historic witch trials immortalized in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, but it also boasts a lively waterfront, an esteemed documentary film festival and independent cinema house, a gorgeous private lending library, and one of the oldest art museums in the U.S., the Peabody Essex.

And now it's going to be even cooler: Iris Apfel, the 90-year-old style icon, has donated over 600 pieces from her acclaimed couture collection to the Peabody Essex. In addition to garments, the selection includes accessories (jewels!) and art objects. Apfel and her husband will also subsidize the construction of a new fashion wing, which will open to the public in 2017.

Most of the items in the Peabody Essex's newly-acquired fashion gold mine were first displayed at the Metropolitan Museum's 2005 exhibition "Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel." A capsule version of the Met exhibit traveled to the Salem museum in 2009.

Inspired by Apfel's gift, businessman George Putnam decided to sponsor a curatorial fellowship in fashion and textiles. The Peabody Essex is about to become a major hub for fashion history and scholarship: let's go!

Image via Ivan Nikolov /

[via Boston Globe]