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Iris Apfel, fashion icon, dies at 102

2024-03-02T16:04:41.478Z

Highlights: Iris Apfel, fashion icon, dies at 102. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York dedicated an exhibition to her. Her wardrobe was one of the most original and without prejudices in the world of fashion and her charisma led her to enjoy a long and extraordinary life. She celebrated every moment of the 102 years of her existence; just two days ago she shared a photo on Instagram in which she celebrated having turned 102 and a half, posing in front of some silver fringe curtains with a lavish cape.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York dedicated an exhibition to her, her wardrobe was one of the most original and without prejudices in the world of fashion and her charisma led her to enjoy a long and extraordinary life.


Iris Apfel was a small woman, but her charisma filled everything.

The fashion prescriber, interior decorator, New York socialite and accessory designer died this March 1 at the age of 102 in her home in Palm Beach, Florida, as reported on her personal social networks.

She lived a long and extraordinary life, full of color and extravagance.

And she celebrated every moment of the 102 years of her existence;

In fact, just two days ago she shared a photo on Instagram in which she celebrated having turned 102 and a half, posing in front of some silver fringe curtains with a lavish cape, her inseparable glasses and her necklaces and bracelets, accessories that she turned into a sign. of identity.

Apfel, born in Queens, New York, on August 29, 1921, worked at the fashion industry leader

Women's Wear Daily

and in 1948 she married Carl Apfel, owner of a textile company, with whom she shared her life ( he died in 2015, aged 100) and his passion for beautiful fabrics and interior design founded the company Old World Weavers.

Apfel went on to work as a decorator for nine presidents in the White House, made collaborations with brands of all kinds (one of the last, in 2022, with the textile giant H&M, and became a fashion reference: the Met in New York dedicated an exhibition to her in 2005, Rara Avis: Selections from the Iris Apfel Collection, to celebrate, according to the museum, “one of fashion's quintessential style creators,” exploring her taste for fashion, accessories, and accessories. examining the power of clothing and accessories to affirm style over fashion, the individual over the collective.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Iris Apfel (@iris.apfel)

“I am a person who does everything moved by his gut.

When I get dressed, too.

I improvise and I don't make strategies.

The same doesn't work for someone else, but I never judge people.

If it works for you, don't agonize, be happy.

It is better to be happy than to be well dressed,” she explained to

S Moda

in 2015, when she went to Barcelona to receive a tribute from the 080 Barcelona Fashion catwalk.

Years before, at the age of 91, on March 30, 2013, the charismatic Apfel had starred on a cover of

S Moda.

She then hosted the magazine at her New York home to share her very personal universe with readers.

We remember here that photo session and that interview.


*This article was originally published on the 'S Moda' website in March 2013.

Iris fills everything.

Ninety-one years old and this living legend of interior decoration, a true character in New York society, lights up every place he enters.

After two months of calls, we have managed to close the meeting.

Mrs. Apfel doesn't like technology.

«Anyone who wants me can find me by phone.

Email and cell phones have only made young people clumsy and boring.

"They no longer know how to speak and communicate," she comments with her pronounced sense of humor.

Fame came to Iris Apfel at the age of 84 after being the target of a major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2005 (Iris Apfel: rare avis).

There you could see more than 80 of her outfits from her peculiar fashion collection in which there are pieces by Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Nina Ricci, Geoffrey Beene, Lanvin, etc.

His style, however, broke the mold a long time ago, when with his peculiar taste he demonstrated that fashion was intuition and that combining designer pieces with flea market clothing was not only allowed, but was a way to succeed, ignoring the stereotypes.

The exquisite textile and interior design firm that she created with her husband Carl, Old World Weavers, led her to have clients such as Greta Garbo, Patricia Nixon and Estée Lauder and to decorate the White House for nine presidents, from Harry S. Truman to Bill Clinton.

«Suddenly I have become a geriatric star.

My husband and I laughed a lot about the situation.

I've been doing this my whole life and now I find loads of magazines, especially European ones, writing about me.

But I'm not doing anything different from what I've done for the last 70 years! », he says, laughing as he takes me by the arm and we try to hail a taxi.

Heading to her home on Park Avenue, Iris confesses that she never imagined she would be so active at 91 years old.

«At my age, having to do all these races and be in all the places at the same time is incredible.

I am designing glasses, bags and shoes, in addition to doing a program for the University of Texas because they made me a professor! », she says tirelessly.

Her apartment looks like a prop warehouse because of the amount of various objects and treasures from all over the world that she owns.

«I like to collect objects from the trips I take.

Have you seen the photo of the salon? », she asks proudly while she refers to a striking image of the campaign she carried out with the cosmetics firm MAC, for which she designed a vibrant collection of lipsticks, shadows and powders inspired by she.

And after offering me tea in the cozy wooden dining room of her house, she begins to remember.

Vintage coat by Gianfranco Ferré and jewelry by Rara Avis by Iris Apfel for HSN.

(Styling ALEJANDRA MUSI & SONNY GROO).

How did your interest in art and style arise?

I always had it.

My mother was a very well dressed woman and we had a beautiful house.

And my father worked in the import business and brought beautiful things from all over the world.

One of his sisters, who I admired a lot, was in art school and later became a designer, so I grew up with that interest.

She always talks about her mother and the advice she gave her to be well dressed despite the difficult times they had to live through.

I'm a girl from The Great Depression, we didn't have much money.

Nobody had it.

And when you got a little, you learned to spend it wisely.

I have been buying my own wardrobe since I was 11, because my mother worked and didn't have time to go shopping with me.

The first year I did it was because Easter was coming up and I thought, "My God, I don't have a new model for the occasion."

So everyone bought something brand new that day and showed it off on Fifth Avenue.

They called it the Easter Parade.

It was beautiful.

So my mother said to me, “I'm sorry, Iris.

If you want a new dress, you'll have to find it yourself.

And she gave me the magnificent sum of 25 dollars, which was a lot of money for the time.

I went to a discount store downtown where I found a piece of clothing that I fell in love with.

Suddenly I thought: “No, remember that your mother always says that you have to compare.

You can't buy the first thing you see, because you have to be sure of the value that it has.

I left him, got on the subway and went to 34th Street, where there were a dozen wonderful stores.

Everything I saw was worth three times as much as the other dress, so I went back for it.

I bought it for $12.95 along with a hat that was $3.

Then I went to a shoe store whose owner became my customer years later and whose son is now a great shoe designer, Stuart Weitzman.

For 25 dollars I had everything and I had money left to eat lunch and go home.

I remember that everyone praised my purchases.

My mother always told me that she had very good taste and my father that she was a good economist.

That has been the secret.

Jewelry and accessories are other of its strengths.

Yes, I also acquired my first piece of jewelry at that age, and I have been collecting it ever since.

It's something you learn with practice.

You may make some mistakes, but you must have some courage and interest to go to places and see, see, see.

In stores, museums, books.

You must sharpen your eye.

It is not something that comes by nature.

Everything worthwhile in life has a price that must be paid.

My mother always said that accessories are the most important thing if you own some basic clothes.

She loved architectural clothes, well cut, with good fabrics and very simple.

And me too.

I like outfits that I can embellish.

With a few accessories you can turn your daytime look into a nighttime look.

And of all of them, jewelry is the most, because when you change it you transform your entire mood.

You can look serious, fun, sexy... Whatever you want!

Shoes are also important.

Sometimes I demonstrate in museums how it is possible for people to modify their appearance with minimal details.

Dolce & Gabbana dress, vintage jewelry and colorful bracelets by Rara Avis by Iris Apfel for HSN.

(Styling ALEJANDRA MUSI & SONNY GROO)

I'm sure people often ask you what you have to do to find your own style.

Always.

And what I answer is that they have to work on it.

It's different for each person.

There is no formula.

For me, style is above all attitude.

It has nothing to do with the amount of money you have.

I know a lot of people with tons of money who have no style and people with no money who look amazing.

It's the way you think about yourself.

Be curious about yourself.

It takes time.

You must know yourself and know that it does not matter how beautiful a garment is.

If you don't feel comfortable in it, it will look like you've borrowed it.

Trying to copy someone's look is silly.

What does fashion mean to you?

It is a very serious product.

Sometimes it can be seen as something very silly.

But if you really study it, you realize that it is a reflection of politics, of social life, of the economy, of the atmosphere.

That is, our way of life.

If you compare costumes from different periods, you will see that people dressed one way for a reason.

When women were more rigid, corsets were loosened.

Things don't just happen, everything happens for a reason!

What do you think fashion reflects today?

Total chaos, daze, confusion, no sense of direction or discipline.

Unfortunately, most young designers don't want to work hard.

There are some, thank God!

But there are many who end up becoming media fans.

Many are attractive young people who only know how to do one thing: get a lot of press and win over editors.

But to make something really quality you have to know how to cut, sew and draw.

Not just sketching.

Most designers today depend on other people to do it.

Who are your friends in this industry?

Your favorite designers?

I don't have many friends because I have never been in the fashion business, but rather in the decoration business.

But I've always loved it.

So I traveled a lot to Europe and my visits always coincided with the catwalks.

After the shows I would go to the signings and ask if there was anything they wanted to get rid of, and I would buy it.

I was never able to buy anything at Valentino because they cut for very small girls.

But I didn't have to do anything to the clothes from houses like Dior or Nina Ricci, maybe a hem.

I got hold of wonderful things because they were eager to get rid of them.

Also at that time some brands had stores where they sold samples.

I have always liked unconventional fashion which, luckily, did not sell as well and was cheaper.

That's how I built a beautiful collection while spending little money.

Blouse by Chado Ralph Rucci, vintage pants and shoes, and jewelry by Rara Avis by Iris Apfel for HSN.

(Styling ALEJANDRA MUSI & SONNY GROO)

That was the one that could be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Yes, it was amazing and has already been to a lot of museums.

You worked for nine presidents in the White House, what was that experience like?

It was a beautiful job and very exciting because I got to meet them all, but the only woman I really worked with a lot was Mrs. Nixon since she was passionate about the house.

But the first thing you learn is that neither presidents nor their wives have anything to do with decoration.

Not even Jackie.

There is a Fine Arts commission whose job is to make sure that any changes made are as close as possible to the original design.

It's more of a restoration job.

Of course, on the top floor, which is where their rooms are, the presidents and their wives can make all the changes they want.

You've always said that you're a free spirit and that's what led you to leave your job at Women's Wear Daily.

Absolutely.

If you close yourself to just one thing, you don't learn anything.

Diana Vreeland said that having "too much good taste can be boring."

There are people who copy everything.

But you have to mix and match to look with personality.

I think you should be yourself.

What have you learned from your travels around the world?

All.

Living is the best inspiration.

And this comes to you from people, when reading books, visiting museums, walking down the street, seeing a play, listening to a song.

You never really know where it's going to come from.

But if one thing is clear, it is that you always have to move.

Do you think fashion has an age?

No. In fact I don't like modern.

Trends come and go.

I like timeless clothes, simple things, things that you can wear for a long time, although currently everything is disposable.


Source: elparis

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