By Karen Rempel | Fashion Editor

A killer look often starts with one piece to build on. I put this style together around these luscious cherrywine trousers, which I found for a luxe change-of-season steal at Tiziano Zorzan on 8th Avenue. Tiziano has three locations in the West Village where you can find exclusive capsule collections designed and made in Italy—absolutely gorgeous clothes and shoes.

But the real story of this style is the Iris Apfel tee. Iris is wearing all the jewelry for me in this quirky outfit, including three gemstone rings and a Roman-coin necklace that jingles when I walk. My girlfriend Dianne Grendovich brought this unique tee back from Shanghai, right after selling my townhouse in Vancouver for me so I could buy my West Village co-op. What a great friend!

Karen Rempel voguing on Bleecker Street. Hair colored to match trousers by Dean at Salon Ziba. Photograph by Morgen Purcell.

There’s more to the story of this T-shirt. I was wearing it early one summer evening with a short, swingy skirt and sparkly platform boots on my way to a wine bar on Bleecker Street with my girlfriend, event producer and former model Heather Foley. We were walking along Cornelia Street and wandered into a vintage clothing store called Krystyna’s Place. This was a fateful moment. Krystyna loved my style, we got to talking, and the next thing I knew I had a part-time job managing the store for Krystyna while she went on vacation. For five glorious weeks in the summer of 2017, I dressed the windows, sold fantastic clothes, met all the neighbors on the block, and even photographed a collection of vintage clothes for sale on Etsy. This T-shirt literally launched my career in New York’s fashion world!

A year later, I met Iris Apfel at her award ceremony and book launch at the National Arts Club, and I shared this little story with her. It was a thrill for me to meet Iris and have a brief chat with this fashion luminary. Then, in early 2019, at age 96, Iris got her modeling contract with IMG—an inspiration for all models like me who are enjoying a modeling career in the second half of life!

Iris Apfel T-shirt by “The Best or Nothing+Design by Korea.” Gift from a friend.

Cherrywine trousers laced at the sides with black satin ribbon. Tiziano Zorzan, 69 8th Avenue.

Black mesh lace-up shoes with snakeskin detailing and acrylic heels. Rare Donna Karan storage sale, next to Urban Zen on Greenwich Street.

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