Museum Exhibit Highlights Life, Fashion of ‘Queen of Lincoln Road'

The life of Irene Williams, a 90's fashion icon in Miami Beach, is now captured inside the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU.

Known as "The Queen of Lincoln Road" her couture and letters are displayed in her centennial exhibit.

"People would look at her and take her picture some people would smile, some people would laugh, but she always saw it as that she was bringing enjoyment to people's lives," said Eric Smith, filmmaker of Irene Williams: Queen of Lincoln Road.

It was Williams' eccentric look and vivacious personality that captured the gay filmmaker's attention. The duo met in the 90's and their friendship was captured throughout the years on his video camera.

In the documentary Williams shared funny anecdotes as to how she got into fashion.

"I went looking for hats and the styles were horrible the colors miserable, so I said like an idiot, I said I will make it," said Williams in the documentary. "And I never made a hat in my life, so I went home and started making hats and low and behold I am a custodian of over 100 hats."

This bright and happy display reflects the life of a Jewish woman who lived in Miami Beach for more than 40 years and persevered, triumphed and even sometimes failed. But, her attitude always prevailed.

"You can't say I'm a dull individual, that you can't say," said Williams.

This display is a stark comparison to the rest of the museum.

"We currently have an exhibition called evil a matter of intent which is a very serious exhibition which showcases man's inhumanity to man," said Susan Gladstone, museum director. "This exhibition of Irene's is the other side of the coin."

The Miami Beach celebrity died in 2004, leaving behind dozens of spunky hats, with matching purses and a collection of letters from her career as a public stenographer.

"She was innovated she wouldn't waste anything," said Smith. He said he once gifted Williams Pierre Carden beach towels which she transformed to an outfit from head to toe.

Throughout the years Williams caught the attention of Gianni Versace and Orson Welles, but her greatest gift was this lesson.

"Everyone has a hidden talent," she said in a 1995 interview. "And if you're lucky in your lifetime and you find it, it's the greatest gift in the world."

If you are interested in visiting the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU their hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday's through Sunday's. The museum is closed on Mondays and holidays.

The museum offers free admission on Saturday. Otherwise it is $6 adults, $5 students and seniors.

The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU is located on 301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. For more information call 786-972-3175.

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