Fashion icon Iris Apfel dies at 102

Fashion icon Iris Apfel dies at 102 - Arts and Culture - News

The Extraordinary Life and Style of Iris Apfel:

Born in Queens, New York, in 1921, Iris Apfel spent over a century defying conventions and setting her own unique style trends. Her influence extended far beyond the realm of interior design as she embraced every opportunity that came her way, from prestigious art exhibitions to magazine covers, a cosmetic line, a documentary, and even a Barbie doll made in her image.

A Passionate Shopper and Collector:

Iris, who died at the age of 102 on Friday in her home in Palm Beach, Florida, according to a post on her verified Instagram page, was known for her love of chunky accessories and her infectious energy. Her early shopping experiences during the Depression years honed her skills as a bargain hunter, collector, and hoarder.

The Early Years:

Born Iris Barrel to Jewish parents Samuel and Sadye Barrel, Iris described herself as a black-belt shopper. Her first purchase was made at the age of 11 when her mother gave her $25 to buy an Easter dress. She paid $12.95 for the dress and spent another $8 on matching shoes and a hat, all while spending just two nickels on transportation to and from the store.

Marriage and Partnership:

In 1948, Iris married Carl Apfel. Together, they founded Old World Weavers, a business that allowed them to indulge in their shared passions for fabrics and travel. Their clientele ranged from Estée Lauder and Greta Garbo to nine US presidents.

Decorating the White House:

Iris’s work included styling the White House. She described the experience as relatively easy until Jackie Kennedy arrived, at which point she had to throw out their designs and start anew.

An Accidental Icon:

In 2005, Iris was approached by the Metropolitan Museum of Art about staging an exhibition of her accessories. What started as a request for five outfits grew into a collection of 300 outfits and hundreds of accessories, making it the first time the museum had paid tribute to a living woman who was not a fashion designer.

A Late-Life Career Resurgence:

In her 90s, Iris continued to make a name for herself as a style icon. She was the face of a Kate Spade advertising campaign, created her own makeup line with MAC Cosmetics, and designed her own range of accessories, clothes, and furniture for the Home Shopping Network.

Breaking the Mold:

Despite her success, Iris never truly retired. She once called retirement “a fate worse than death.” In 2019, she became the oldest model signed by prestigious agency IMG at the age of 97.

A Unique Perspective:

Despite her huge following on Website social media integration with 2.9 million Instagram followers, Iris expressed a disdain for it. When asked to define her attitude towards life in just three words, she said “Only one trip” and added “Might as well live it up.”