I am in awe of people who break all social norms in order to be their authentic selves. You can’t help but to notice these people, either. One of those unforgettable people is Iris Apfel. You may not know of her but you’ve definitely seen her and her unmistakable over-sized owl-like glasses. “All the better to see you with,” she says.
I would say that fate lead Apfel to becoming the style icon she is now. Born in Queens, NY to a decorator and a fashionista, Apfel had all the humble makings of an artistic life. She studied art history and design in school. She later married and started a textile and design firm with her husband. When the Metropolitan Museum of Art displays a collection of your clothes as a tribute to your style; and when you’re given the opportunity to redesign the interior of the White House for NINE Presidential administrations, mama, you’ve made it. Rest easy.
“I can’t tell people how to have style. No amount of money can buy you style. It’s just instinctive.” The Telegraph
But at 91, you won’t find Apfel twiddling her thumbs at home. She is too busy designing jewelry, lipsticks, eyeglasses and whatever the hell else self-professed “geriatric starlets” do.
Seeing her reminds me why I’m so passionate about art. All of life is affected and inspired by it. With style that is often theatrical at the least, Apfel says you’ll rarely see her in a dress. Exaggerated baubles, exotic boas and minks; you name it, she has worn it. Her style, seemingly erratic, has proven to be just what designers seek for inspiration.
“I consider fashion a form of art. Of course, a lot of people put effort into looking awful, but there are also people making bad art. It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.”
“I don’t like trends anyway—I like tradition.” Into The Glass
“Understated jewellery is not for me. It’s too itsy-bitsy. My husband is lucky as I’ve never had a yen for real jewels.'” The Telegraph
“I mix everything up. A museum curator once said to me that there is a great jazz component to the way I do things because good jazz is improvisation and draws elements from all different cultures. And that’s the way I do everything – the way I dress and decorate.” The Telegraph
When I read interviews from people like Iris Apfel, it only confirms what I already know. Style is something money cannot buy. Much like class. You either have it, or you don’t.
“To all the ladies in the place with style and grace…” Here here, Iris. She is the quintessential embodiment of beauty.
Random: In true New Yorker fashion, she isn’t one to hold her tongue. This is probably one of the funniest quotes I’ve ever read.
“Now when I walk down Fifth Avenue in the summertime I just want to throw up. It seems that the fatter and uglier people are, the fewer clothes they wear. The shorts and flip-flops and tight jeans on butts that go from here to Poughkeepsie.” The Telegraph
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7