IRMA drawing done exclusively by Eric Giriat
IRMA drawing done exclusively by Eric Giriat

I met Eric a long time ago when we both had an exhibition in New York and I always liked his line and way of translating subjects into a drawing. Needless to say that he would be ideal to illustrate Mrs. Iris Apfel for an exhibition in the Paris department store Le Bon Marché.
The 94-year-old sassy New Yorker with her unique look has been delighting the fashion world. I talked with Eric about the difference of fashion trends and real style and how the fashion icon with the giant owl glasses has inspired him. In beautiful drawings he has set the cool Iris like an it-girl in front of Paris landmarks, while she selected the fashion looks. And the tongue-in-cheek drawing that Eric made exclusively of and for IRMA (above) shows that she is a muse, too. His motto? Style is not a question of age!

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IRMA: Which were the keywords and ideas that came to your mind when you started the project with Iris Apfel?
ERIC GIRIAT: Big glasses and super red lips, like a logo, strong extravagance, super woman, my nonagenarian muse…

IRMA: How did Iris Apfel inspire you?
ERIC GIRIAT: She is very inspiring for me, I love her super colorful crazy Pantone style, she is like a living painting from Rothko… And as you may know, I love drawing female characters with big glasses… Also for me, a good illustration is a good idea with style, so we match!

IRMA: What did you notice the first time you met her?
ERIC GIRIAT: She was getting her giant bracelets off before shaking hands too say bonjour.

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IRMA: What do you think when thinking about fashion today?
ERIC GIRIAT: Create and cultivate you own style instead of running after the hype. If you have to chase the trend, it would be too late anyways because by then it is already everywhere!

IRMA: How old were you when you started to illustrate? What was your first illustration?
ERIC GIRIAT: When I was old enough to hold a pencil… I remember a castle and an American Indian.

IRMA: What would you do if you weren’t an illustrator?
ERIC GIRIAT: Probably I would be a crazy architect.

IRMA: Which fashion idol inspires you?
ERIC GIRIAT: I am more inspired by the Fashion Festival of the Villa Noailles in Hyères and the energy of it and of the young designers there, more than of somebody in particular.

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IRMA: Which artist and art form inspires you most?
ERIC GIRIAT: Painting and painters like Rothko, Cranach, Marlene Dumas, Gerhard Richter, Baselitz…

IRMA: Your favorite venue in Berlin and in Paris?
ERIC GIRIAT: In Berlin I love to have a delicious lunch or a “Kaffeetrinken” in the Gestalten Pavilion, upstairs, looking at the monkeys and at the Tiergarten, in the Bikini Haus in Berlin. And to ride my bike in spring and summer around the lakes… it’s paradise.
In Paris I love to walk along the Seine, the views are spectacular and beautiful, and having lunch or dinner on the monumental terrace of the Minipalais in the Grand Palais.

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