iris apfel

The case of Iris Apfel – the 102-year-old unbeatable icon

Style icon Iris Apfel is 102 years old and still going strong. What has moved this lady to make the most out of life at such an age? Read the story of the queen of fashion and design -who proves age is just a number- below.

Cover image: courtesy of H&M

Iris Apfel

“More is more and less is a bore” are words to live by, according to Apfel. Despite her high age, she is always ‘vertical’ and vivid. Iris Apfel grew up in Queens, New York. As an only child, she often had to entertain herself. She did so by playing with old fabrics at her grandparents’ home. At a young age, she became obsessed with the colors, textures, and feel of these little pieces of fabric. It marked the start of her career. It all began when she was little, from interior design to fabric design and even fashion design.

Interior designer and prominent fashion

During the sixties, Apfel was mainly known as an interior designer with a great sense of style. She worked for nine presidents and first ladies to decorate the White House according to their taste, combined with a “touch of Apfel”. Despite her success, she couldn’t find exactly what she was looking for: her distinct taste and style led to the start of her own fabric company. So to speak, she opened Old World Weavers together with her late husband. Apfel designed fabrics and redecorated old furniture pieces with these designs. It became an instant success, and not much later, Apfel and her husband flew around the world for the styling jobs of her dreams.

Apfel collected many beautiful interior objects and gathered fashion treasures during her travels. Her prominent and stylish wardrobe, stacked with colorful designer and cheap vintage pieces, became the subject of an extensive exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2005. Since then, her big breakthrough in fashion has become a fact. Apfel knows the art of mixing like no other: she is eager to combine a vintage Dior coat with plastic jewelry and cheap shoes. That’s her true secret. Everything she does is centralized around her famous “more is more and less is a bore”-mantra. It’s visible in her interior, wardrobe, and way of life. Despite her age, she has tons of energy and manages to look like a child in a candy store when she visits vintage markets.

Iris Apfel’s signature style

She wears her big, round-shaped owl glasses, together with a hodgepodge of colors and different kinds of fabrics, wherever she goes. This eccentric style isn’t only part of her outfits – her apartment has a similar vibe. It’s stacked with all types of curiosa collected through the years. The interior mirrors Apfel’s fashion collection as well. After all, more is more, and less is a bore – which is vital to living an authentic, eccentric life.