Whoever says fashion is not an art form has never laid eyes on Iris Apfel; THE style icon. Known for her theatrical accoutrements and her freedom of expression through dressing, Arpel truly is a style connoisseur.
Although her name is synonymous with fashion, the “geriatric starlet” wasn’t always an identified fixture on the fashion scene. In fact, her widespread reputation began in the early 1950’s when she, along with husband Carl Apfel launched their textile firm Old World Weavers: supplier of upscale fabrics to elites like Jacqueline Onassis, Greta Garbo and Estee Lauder, to name just a few.
Iris, alumni of both the University of Wisconsin and New York University where she studied art, also worked at Women’s Wear Daily, the go to magazine for all things fashion.
Despite her popularity in the world of textiles, Apfel experienced a rebirth in 2005 when the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City premiered an exhibition about her titled “Rara Avis (Rare Bird): The Irreverent Iris Apfel”. It was the first exhibit dedicated to a fashion devotee.
The public display consisted of some of Apfel’s personal collection, featuring over eighty expressive ensembles. The exhibition was extremely successful, which led it to be featured in Florida, Nassau County and Massachusetts.
Her refusal to adhere to conventional fashion “practices” and her ability to continuously deliver glorious trappings unquestionably make her a style icon.
Nowadays, the white-haired beauty spends her time consulting and lecturing on style and fashion and continues to live by her old adage “It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it”. Sigh, truer words were never spoken.