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The story of Iris Apfel: the 100-year-old unbeatable queen of fashion

Iris Apfel in IRIS, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Style icon Iris Apfel is 100 years old and still going strong. What has moved this lady to make 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 photo: Iris Apfel in IRIS, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. 

Iris Apfel

“More is more and less is a bore” are words to live by, according to Apfel. Despite her high age, she is still ‘vertical’ and vividly as always. 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 young age, she became obsessed with the colors, textures and the feel of these little pieces of fabric. It marked the start of her career. From interior design, to fabric design and even fashion design: it all begun when she was only little.

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Interior designer and fashion prominent

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 fabrics 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.

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During her travels, Apfel did not only collect many beautiful interior objects, but also gathered fashion treasures. Her prominent and stylish wardrobe stacked with both colorful designer and cheap, vintage pieces became the subject of a big exhibition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, back in 2005. Since then, her big breakthrough in fashion became 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.

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Signature style

Wherever she goes, she wears her big, round shaped owl glasses, together with a hodgepodge of color and different kinds of fabrics. 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 key for living an authentic, eccentric life. Happy birthday, Iris! 

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