IRIS pairs legendary 87-year-old documentarian Albert Maysles with Iris Apfel, the quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 93-year-old style maven who has had an outsized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades. More than a fashion film, the documentary is a story about creativity and how, even in Iris’ dotage, a soaring free spirit continues to inspire. IRIS portrays a singular woman whose enthusiasm for fashion, art and people are life’s sustenance and reminds us that dressing, and indeed life, is nothing but an experiment. Despite the abundance of glamour in her current life, she continues to embrace the values and work ethic established during a middle-class Queens upbringing during the Great Depression. “I feel lucky to be working. If you’re lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows.”
Interior designer Iris Apfel, 93, is fast becoming one of the fashion industry’s most sought-after models, having just unveiled her second high-profile ad campaign in as many months.
Apfel, the fashion eccentric who’s also the face of Alexis Bittar for spring (she stars alongside Tavi Gevinson in the campaign), shows off her quirky, colorful sense of style in the ads, pairing one of Spade’s pink handbags with green trousers, blue polka-dotted socks and a giant white bow. Kloss, who favors a more classic, all-American look, is elegantly dolled up in white. Each model’s aesthetic couldn’t be more different, but they look lovely and harmonious sitting on a park bench together.
With her oversized owl-glasses, cropped silver hair and lashings of jewellery, Iris Apfel is fashion’s unexpected hero. From her multi-coloured rooster coats and Chinese robes to her collection of artisan couture and precious stones, she is a unique fashion icon for all generations. Apfel spent much of her life working as one half of Old World Weavers, the textile company that she built with her husband, before the Metropolitan Museum opened her wardrobe to the masses in 2005. Since then, she has become a national treasure, renowned for her ability to mix elegance, eccentricity and an artful eye, referring to herself as “the world’s oldest living teenager.”
as featured in Another
On the eve of her 93rd birthday, Iris Apfel, who admits she just discovered how to access the Internet, decides to sell a lifetime worth of treasures on One Kings Lane, NYC.
An avid traveler, the 92-and-a-half-year-old has spent her lifetime seeking out aesthetic inspiration in the most remote places while feeding her shopping addiction every stop along the way. Apfel—who has spent the bulk of her life working as an interior and textile designer only to be cast in the unlikley role of fashion icon, if you put it in perspective, relatively recently—has accumulated so much stuff that the storage facilities she leases in Queens are full to capacity.
Iris Apfel has become world-renowned for her eccentric sense of style. She has been called a fashion legend, a style maverick, a rara avis. The nonagenarian has developed a large following of young people attracted to her unique blend of aesthetic brilliance and self-assurance.
After starting her career as an interior designer, Apfel, along with her husband, Carl (who is now 99), founded international textile house Old World Weavers in the early 1950s. During the course of her career, she traveled the world to raid souks, bazaars, thrift shops, and countless couture houses, and completed White House restorations for several administrations, including those of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton.
Along the way, Apfel amassed a vibrant wardrobe, comprising thick bangles and necklaces, her signature glasses, wildly printed dresses, and eveningwear, that has been known to lend her—in the words of Harold Koda, curator in charge of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art—“a Fellini-esque theatricality.”