2017 National Mature Media Award WINNER

2017 National Mature Media Award WINNER
The Creative Landscape of Aging Wins a NMMA Award!


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Apfel at Age 90: More is More and Less is Simply Less

Forget the old saying “Less is More”. Minimalists thrived on that belief because it validated their art but the contemporary fashion niche embraced by Iris Apfel makes a different statement. Turn your head 180 degrees and open your eyes wide and your mind even wider. There she is; a fashion maverick, an irreverent renegade, a defiant creative spirit and a marvel of exquisite opulence of wearables.

“I’m a geriatric starlet, my dear, don’t you know,” she said “All of a sudden, I’m hot; I’m cool; I have a ‘fan base’.”*

With a rising cult of diverse people spilling around her amazing presence, Apfel is taking her show on the road. The HSN road, that is. Middle America is fascinated and wants this design eccentricity to be a brand in their lives. Naturally much will be in translation. For example, her classic owl shape eyeglasses will be featured in a scarf print and tribal type necklaces are modified with respect to design and price.
Iris was always a fashion maven. “My mother worshipped at the alter of accessories and I got the bug. She always said, if you have a good, little, simple black dress and you have different accessories, you can have 27 different outfits.” So she learned early. “The fun of getting dressed is that it is a creative experience and I never know what it’s going to be.” She assiduously edits her ensembles often wearing a basic architectural type of garment that can be accessorized dramatically. In 2005, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City presented an exhibition about Apfel called Rara Avis (Rare Bird): The Irreverent Iris Apfel. It was so successful that they created a traveling version that could be viewed by other audiences.
“Composing the elements of interior and composing an ensemble are part and parcel of the same thought process” says Apfel. So she was a natural watching her father in his business working with high end mirrors that focused on interiors. This passion for interiors catapulted the careers of Iris and her husband, Carl. Serendipitously they started working with Old World Weavers in search of a certain cloth and then began to travel worldwide looking for both exotic fabrics and historically based designs that could be replicated by these foreign specialty mills. It was through this work that she was asked to consult for the White House interior for Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton.
Married 64 years, she and her almost 100 year old husband wear the same perfume called Yatagan by Caron which is hard to find so they store it in big containers in the refrigerator. They also wear similar round spectacles. An amazing couple, they have been very successful in their fabric business and, despite retirement from Old World Weavers in the 1990s, it’s clear that Iris’s fame is soaring. This radical fashion icon will be featured in an upcoming documentary by Albert Maysles while she continues to design products for various companies and has the magnanimous vision to donate more than 900 pieces from her wardrobe to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

Iris Apfel is an iconic legend with the bravado and mastery of greatness.

“You only have one trip (one life) so you might as well enjoy it”
Iris Apfel