At 93, Iris Apfel is proving that style is eternal. Ahead of Albert Maysles documentary release of Iris this April, MOJEH.com sheds light on one of the industry’s most eccentric dressers.
BBy Christopher Prince
“You’re not pretty, and you’ll never be pretty, but it doesn’t matter, you have something much better. You have style.” – so said ‘the original’ Mrs. Loman. These were words that resonated with a young Iris Apfel who transformed herself from wardrobe dweller to street style maverick over the course of nine decades. This April 29th marks the release of Iris, a documentary filmed by Albert Maysles who worked on the now infamous Gimmie Shelter and Grey Gardens alongside Apfel’s late brother, David.
Apfel has been the subject of interest for quite some time. Eric Boman’s 2009 tome, Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel, features over 90 photographs of Apfel styled in much of her personal wardrobe. The exhibition, Rare Bird of Fashion: Iris Apfel, was commissioned by Apfel herself after she donated her extensive 600-piece collection (full with vintage Dior, Alexander McQueen and Karl Lagerfeld) to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.
A resident of New York, Apfel first rose to prominence in the 1950’s when she and husband, Carl, co-founded the Old World Weaver – a textile company that outfitted the many restorations of the White House over the tenure of nine presidents. Just like her style, Iris’ marriage with Carl has stood the test of time, still going strong after 67 years. Much of what Apfel sources is vintage, whether scouring in New York’s many flea markets or archived from decades prior, Apfel’s incredibly keen sartorial eye has garnered a cult street style following.
Iris not only provides a colourful portrait of a woman consumed by fashion, but also a charming insight into the undiscovered life of an incredibly well known subject. “What’s better to be happy than well dressed?” touts Apfel. Her philosophy on life is a pretty straight forward one. Without Apfel we wouldn’t be witnessing a kickstart of senior supermodels – a topic particularly relevant to this season with the debut of Joan Didion as the face of Céline, Joni Mitchell at Saint Laurent Paris and Iris herself fronting Kate Spade’s SS15 campaign alongside supermodel of the moment, Karlie Kloss. Her collaboration with Mac showcased the kook of Apfel to the masses with a limited edition three-piece collection featuring Apfel’s siganture red lipstick, green eyeshadow and scarlet nail polish.