What do you know about a living legend Iris Apfel? An incredible figure who works in a variety of fields, from interior design to the fabric and jewelry business. She is known for uncompromising style and a trademark pair of massive round black glasses. She has earned her reputation through hard work and major experience. She’s 93, and it doesn’t stop her from being a muse and eternal inspirational source for fashion designers, artists, photographers and all those women willing to push the boundaries and stand out.
Trendsetters all over the world never fail to follow her fashion advice. Photographers like Bruce Weber make outstanding photoshoots capturing her sophisticated look. She has her own collection of clothing and original accessories called “Rara Avis”(Rare Bird).
She has her individuality and remarkable imagination. Albert Maysles made a legendary documentary about Apfel which is definitely worth watching. Not only can you enjoy her unique style but also her wit and wisdom. She appears as an artist who composes a new vision and an outstanding owner of a Couture costume jewelry collection. Also Iris shares her perception of fashion world and style. This woman defines the meaning of self-expression through individual style. Albert Maysles managed to show her fascinating life from a new angle in his documentary “Iris”.
Iris has been active in fashion and art for many years. In 2005 New York’s Metropolitan Museum was lucky to stage an exhibition of her wardrobe. In 2011 she worked on M.A.C. Cosmetics line. MAC launched a range of colors chosen by Iris, including Pink Pigeon and Scarlet Ibis, which reflect the name of ‘Rara Avis’ and her obsession with bold colors.
By and large, her star has risen after that very ‘Early Bird’ exhibition when she was 83 years old. Yet not being so famous she led an impressive life. Iris was born in Astoria, Queens, New York. She attended art school at the University of Wisconsin and studied art history at New York University. In her young days she worked for interior designer Elinor Johnson and for Women’s Wear Daily. In 1948 she tied the knot with Carl Apfel, in 2 years they founded the textile firm Old World Weavers. She worked on different restoration projects not to mention work at the White House for 9 presidents. These days Apfel still consults and gives lectures about style and another fashion fields at the University of Texas where she functions as a professor.
Here are some quotes of this super cute, funny and wise woman to inspire you:
“I’m a color person, I’ve never been known to play it safe. Plus I like big bags. My eyeglasses are so big; they don’t fit into smaller bags.”
“Just keep in mind I’m the world’s oldest living teenager.”
“You have to know yourself and know what you can carry. If you’re not comfortable, no matter how well dressed you are, you’re not going to look right. I’d rather be happy and feel comfy.”
“If you put something together and it doesn’t look so good, the fashion police are not going to come a take you away. And if they do, you might have some fun in jail.”
“More is more and less is a bore.”
“Aging gracefully is about no heavy makeup, and not too much powder because it gets into the wrinkles, and you know, not to get turtle eyelids, and to try not to look too young. You don’t have to look like an old fuddy-duddy, but I believe it was Chanel who said, ‘Nothing makes a woman look so old as trying desperately hard to look young’. I think you can be attractive at any age. I think trying to look like a spring chicken when you’re not makes you look ridiculous.”
“Now when I walk down Fifth Avenue in the summertime I just want to throw up. It seems that the fatter and uglier people are, the fewer clothes they wear. The shorts and flip-flops and tight jeans on butts that go from here to Poughkeepsie.” She shudders. “I always say they should put people in jail for wearing clothes like that. Especially stretch jeans over size 10–they should be outlawed. Ten years ago people were starting to look like slobs in New York, now it’s an epidemic.”
“Doing your own thing is very good, if you have a thing to do.”
“If you can’t be pretty, you have to learn to make yourself attractive. I found that all the pretty girls I went to high school with came to middle age as frumps, because they just got by with their pretty faces, so they never developed anything. They never learned how to be interesting. But if you are bereft of certain things, you have to make up for them in certain ways. Don’t you think?”
“I’m a hopeless romantic. I buy things because I fall in love with them. I never buy anything just because it’s valuable.”
Words to live by from a true icon of style and taste.