Iris Apfel is fantasy made real. Adorned in full glory, she’s an unadulterated, unabashed expression of joie de vivre; an apostle of personal style whistling “boo” to limitations—prancing across cultural boundaries; dancing on the grave of ageism; flipping a jeweled bird at minimalism.
She is a celebration of exceptional taste and the soaring freedom of fantasy. As designer Duro Olowu puts it, “fashion is like a big box of Lego to her…. [she] appeals to a certain kind of joy in everybody.”
Her visual voice is one of inclusion, embracing feathers, furs, Tibetan accessories, Topshop finds and vintage couture. Anything goes. According to The Guardian, “Apfel has seized the imagination not as a couture fashion plate but as an example to a free-spirited, adventurous New York mindset that, these days, seems in danger of getting lost beneath the anodyne beauty of a Manhattan aesthetic that worships cosmetic dentistry and blow-drying above individuality or creativity.”
Indeed, “the biggest fashion faux paus,” she says, in an upcoming film by Grey Gardens’ director Albert Maysles, “is looking in the mirror and seeing someone else.”
Iris on Video:
Nowness: Iris and Duro at the zoo.
Advanced Style: Iris and Ari Seth Cohen.
Pop Sugar: Iris’ documentary trailer.