Remembering Fashion Designer Iris Apfel, Style Icon Who Passed Away at Age 102

Iris Apfel, an icon of the 80s, gained fame in the fashion industry for her unique style, especially her oversized cat-eye glasses.

Remembering Fashion Designer Iris Apfel, Style Icon Who Passed Away at Age 102
Remembering Fashion Designer Iris Apfel, Style Icon Who Passed Away at Age 102

Meet Iris Apfel, the style icon who just turned 102: she’s signed to the same modelling agency as Gigi Hadid, inspired a show at the Met, has fashion collabs with H&M –

The American entrepreneur and fashion designer had been active in the New York fashion scene for a long time. Considering herself a “seasoned star,” she probably never imagined that even at the age of 80, she would still be famous for her eccentric style. However, sad news was announced on March 1st as she passed away at her home in Palm Beach, Fla, at the age of 102. Stu Loeser, a spokesperson for her estate management agency, confirmed the fashion world’s loss in a statement but did not provide a specific cause of death.

Apfel frequently appeared in the pages of The New York Times, even starring in ad campaigns for Kate Spade and Coach handbags, Italian Vogue, and was honored to be the inspiration for a documentary film by renowned filmmaker Albert Maysles in 2014.

At the age of 90, Apfel collaborated with MAC Cosmetics, a renowned beauty brand known for its bold colors, and appeared in eyewear collections for Eyebobs and numerous lines of handbags, accessories, fragrances, and clothing. Additionally, the artist released a memoir titled “Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon” in 2018.

Her impressive and eclectic fashion taste earned admiration from designers like Isaac Mizrahi, Jason Wu, and Duro Olowu, further solidifying her as a timeless icon of bold sophistication. “Just because you reach a certain age doesn’t mean you have to ‘retire’ and wait for death to come,” she told Dazed magazine in London in 2012.

Before 2005, Apfel spent 42 years co-owning a textile design company with her husband, Carl Apfel, catering to upscale clients in the upper class. She became an international fashion figure at the age of 84 when items from her personal wardrobe were displayed at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Harold Koda, director of the Costume Institute, borrowed some jewelry pieces from her collection for the event. The exhibition showcased 82 ensembles and over 300 accessories under the title “Rara Avis: Selections from the Iris Barrel Apfel Collection.” It was a fusion of high fashion and Apfel’s penchant for the eclectic, blending designer garments with eccentric Chinese coats adorned with curious flea market finds and luxurious coats paired with feather boas alongside peculiar jewelry pieces.

Besides her fashion endeavors, Iris Apfel was also an interior designer. Thus, it can be said that this was the first time the Met Costume Institute honored an individual who was not a fashion designer. Her flamboyant fashion style captured the attention of the fashion world.

“Her style may seem a bit exaggerated, but everything coordinates very well,” said fashion historian Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. “She taught us that you can be creative and fabulous at any stage of life.”

It is evident that the American designer reminded audiences that at the core of fashion is a form of timeless individual creativity. Apfel often joked with reporters: “More is more, and less is a bore.” When you don’t dress like everyone else, you don’t have to think like everyone else.

Born in Queens on August 29, 1921, Iris Barrel grew up in a family where her father owned a glass and mirror shop, while her Russian mother once operated a fashion accessories store.

As a child, young Iris found solace in her mother’s clothing store, but her adolescent appearance was deemed unattractive, leading salespeople to make disparaging remarks: “Why isn’t she as slim as her mother?” Therefore, at that time, she smoked up to four packs of cigarettes a day to control her appetite.

She graduated from the School of Art at the University of Wisconsin in 1943 and landed an advertising copywriting job at Women’s Wear Daily magazine for a weekly salary of $15 after winning Vogue’s Prix de Paris writing competition. The former University of Wisconsin student decided to leave the magazine when she realized a philosophy passed down by female editors: “Too old to have children and too young to die.”

She then worked for men’s fashion illustrator Robert Goodman – who was one of her former boyfriends and paid her a weekly salary of $35. It was the highest salary Iris Apfel had ever received. But she fell in love with Carl Apfel during a vacation at a resort in Upstate New York, and he was captivated by her at first sight. And both decided to marry in 1948.

In 1950, they founded Old World Weavers, a company specializing in reproducing antique fabrics. There, Iris was the creative director, while Carl managed the company’s business and mechanics. Their clients were retired movie stars like Greta Garbo, cosmetics businesswoman Estee Lauder, etiquette expert Emily Post, and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

By 1992, they had sold the company to Stark Carpet Co. but continued to advise their former company until 2010. Unfortunately, her husband passed away in 2015 at the age of 100. Despite her age, the American designer encouraged people to make bold choices while maintaining fashion and beauty standards. “I can’t tell people how to have personal style, and no amount of money can buy style,” she told The Sunday Telegraph. “So, first, you have to know who you are.”

Iris Apfel celebra sus 102 años – Revista Para Ti

Rate this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *