Iris Apfels (102) iconic life

It is one of the world's greatest fashion icons: Iris Apfel. Last Friday, the flamboyant clothing designer, businesswoman, model and interior designer died at the age of 102 in Palm Beach. Her motto? 'Dare to be different'. Her looks - which often consisted of large round glasses, red lips and, above all, lots of color - were unmissable...
H&M

More than a century ago, in 1921, Iris Barrel first saw the light of day in Queens, New York. Her father's side of the family worked in the stained glass industry and her mother, born in Russia, owned a clothing store. Apfel first studied art history at NYU and then attended art school.

In 1947 she met textile merchant Carl Apfel and they tied the knot a year later. The couple owned a textile production company that specialized in textile reproductions. For example, the design team overhauled the White House no fewer than nine times. “It was actually a fairly easy job because everything always had to be as similar as possible to how it already was. Well, until Mrs. Kennedy came along. She hired a famous Parisian designer to make the house truly French-chic, and the design world went crazy. Then we had to throw everything away and start over. I really liked Mrs. Nixon.” Said Apfel about her relationship with the first ladies. The couple also decorated the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The Apfel family lived in Florida and New York and traveled all over the world together. There was no room for children in the couple's busy life. In 1992, Carl and Iris retired and found themselves in somewhat calmer waters. In 2015, after more than 60 years of marriage, Carl passed away at the age of 100. But Iris didn't stop working. In 2022, at the age of 100 – she launched her own collection together with fashion chain H&M. Sitting still was not an option and she continued to work until her death.

The fashion diva was not in the spotlight all her life. This happened in 2005, when she was already over 80. The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art had to cancel an exhibition that year and was looking for a replacement for this performance. Apfel turned out to be a success and became a star and style icon in no time. Her special clothing style proved to be an inspiration for many and in 2018 a Barbie doll was even developed, inspired by Iris. The basis for her iconic style is characterized by her credo: 'more is more'. With of course her statement glasses, black ones with large round lenses and a thick frame.

 

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