Thursday, 9 June 2011

“I don’t do minimal”

At the grand old age of 90, former interior designer, fashion maven and New York socialite Iris Apfel is a sudden superstar. She has been photographed by Bruce Weber; Simon Doonan devoted a whole window at swanky department store "Barneys" to her, and in 2005 the Metropolitan Museum of Art mounted a full-scale exhibition dedicated to her wardrobe!

The self-proclaimed "geriatric starlet" is certainly a walking art-form, with trademark out-sized glasses and exquisite - and deliberately clashing on occasions - outfits.

Iris Apfel by Bruce Weber

She also has a lot to say about style...
  • I never care much what people think. I honestly don’t; I don’t pay any attention to the fashion police.
  • I don't do minimal.
  • Clothes are not frippery. Properly done, they can be an art form... They are a great vehicle for explaining who you are.
  • I’ve never tried to be a rebel or upset anybody. I just figured if I pleased my husband, and my mother didn’t get upset, then I was okay.
  • People with a lot of money don’t dress as well as people who have to make do, who have to be inventive. Those are the people who are always more interestingly dressed, I think.
  • Diamond necklaces don’t appeal to me at all. I prefer fun jewellery with big stones - so large they would be untouchable if they were real.
    Now, don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate Daddy Warbucks-size stones, like a big, flawed emerald. I love stones that are inherently flawed: rock crystal, turquoise with big veins.

In September 2011, she launches her own jewellery line Rara Avis ("Rare Bird" - a nickname of hers), which we look out for with trepidation...

A fascinating woman indeed, and a worthy exhibit in the Museum of Camp!

Iris Apfel’s Exuberant Apartment in The Architectural Digest, June 2011.

The book Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel is available now.


  1. When I get old, I want to be Iris Apfel... Jx

  2. I'd like to be NOW.
    Love the idea of clothes being "a great vehicle for explaining who you are."
    I've always felt like that - also that it was okay, thanks to Adam Ant! <3


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