Albert Maysles documented Grey Gardens & Iris (Apfel) and inspired Steven Meisel

7 Dec
albert-mayslesAlbert Maysles, ph. Grant Delin

Intro

Albert (born November 26, 1926) and his brother David (January 10, 1931 – January 3, 1987) Maysles  were an American documentary filmmaking team. They have shot over 30 films including Salesman (1968) , the famous Rolling Stones film Gimme Shelter (1970) and Grey Gardens (1976).

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Grey Gardens

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Big And Little Edie

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Grey Gardens is an astonishingly intimate documentary, about Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale (1895–1977), known as “Big Edie”, and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale (1917–2002), known as “Little Edie”, who were the aunt and the first cousin, respectively, of former U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The two women lived together at Grey Gardens for decades with limited funds in increasing squalor and isolation.

The house was designed in 1897 by Joseph Greenleaf Thorpe and purchased in 1923 by “Big Edie” and her husband Phelan Beale. After Phelan left his wife, “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” lived there for more than 50 years. The house was called Grey Gardens because of the color of the dunes, the cement garden walls, and the sea mist.

Throughout the fall of 1971 and into 1972, their living conditions—their house was infested by fleas, inhabited by numerous cats and raccoons, deprived of running water, and filled with garbage and decay—were exposed as the result of an article in the National Enquirer and a cover story in New York Magazine after a series of inspections (which the Beales called “raids”) by the Suffolk County Health Department. With the Beale women facing eviction and the razing of their house, in the summer of 1972 Jacqueline Onassis and her sister Lee Radziwill provided the necessary funds to stabilize and repair the dilapidated house so that it would meet village codes.

“Little Edie” is ‘discovered’ as a cult fashion Icon.

In 2010 the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. 

 

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 Albert Maysles new Documentary  ‘Iris’

iris-apfel-portrait_bruce-weber_Iris Apfel, ph. Bruce Weber

Stylishly eccentric characters are familiar terrain for the documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles — he is, after all, the man who captured the cult fashion icon Edith Beale dancing through the decrepit rooms of Grey Gardens in a lush fur and silk head scarves. Nearly 40 years later, Maysles has turned his lens to a very different, more uplifting pioneer of individual style. In “Iris” Maysles follows Iris Apfel — interior designer, businesswoman, champion of flamboyant dress. The 93-year-old Apfel’s story is full of color — from her design projects at the White House to her line of bold accessories for the Home Shopping Network and a retrospective at the Met — and Maysles’s exploration of her creative trajectory is up close and deeply personal.

albert-maysles-iris-apfel Q & A with Iris Apfel and Albert Maysels at premiere of IRIS
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Vogue Italia, May 1999, ph. Steven Meisel

Inspired by “Little Edie” & Grey Gardens

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