Wednesday, 12 June 2024

Iris Apfel: Celebrating the Iconic Style and Influence of a Fashion Legend

Tuesday, 11 June 2024 14:03

Iris Apfel, born Iris Barrel, on August 29, 1921, is an American fashion icon, interior designer, and businesswoman renowned for her distinctive style, characterized by eclectic and bold fashion choices. Her avant-garde approach to fashion has made her a revered figure in the industry, celebrated for her fearless creativity and unapologetic individuality.

Iris Apfel

Apfel's journey into the world of fashion began in the early 1950s when she and her husband, Carl Apfel, founded the textile firm Old World Weavers, specializing in reproducing antique fabrics. Their business thrived, catering to prestigious clients including the White House under several administrations.

However, it was Apfel's personal style that truly captured the public's imagination. With her oversized glasses, layers of colorful jewelry, and penchant for mixing high fashion with flea market finds, she became a fashion icon in her own right, inspiring designers and enthusiasts alike. Her signature look, often described as "maximalist" or "artistic eccentric," defies conventional norms and celebrates self-expression.

Despite not fitting the conventional mold of a fashion model, Apfel's striking appearance and magnetic charisma propelled her into the spotlight in her later years. In 2005, at the age of 84, she was the subject of an exhibition at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, titled "Rara Avis (Rare Bird): The Irreverent Iris Apfel," further solidifying her status as a cultural phenomenon.

Apfel's influence extends beyond the realm of fashion. She has become a symbol of aging gracefully and embracing one's unique identity at any stage of life. Her approach to style transcends age, inspiring people of all generations to embrace their individuality with confidence and flair.

In addition to her contributions to fashion and design, Apfel is a sought-after lecturer and author. Her book, "Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel," offers insights into her life, style philosophy, and experiences in the industry, further cementing her legacy as a fashion icon and cultural trailblazer.

In recognition of her impact on the fashion world, Apfel has received numerous accolades, including the Women Together Special Award at the United Nations and the prestigious Women's Entrepreneurship Day Pioneer Award.

As she continues to captivate audiences with her unique charm and fearless style, Iris Apfel remains an enduring symbol of creativity, individuality, and the limitless possibilities of self-expression through fashion.

Iris Apfel is an American fashion icon celebrated for her bold and eclectic style, which defies conventional norms and celebrates individuality. Through her distinctive fashion choices, she has inspired generations to embrace their uniqueness with confidence and flair. Beyond her influence in the fashion industry, Apfel's persona embodies the idea of aging gracefully and remaining true to oneself at any stage of life. Her legacy as a cultural trailblazer extends beyond fashion, symbolizing the power of self-expression and the boundless possibilities of creativity. As she continues to captivate audiences with her charismatic presence and avant-garde style, Iris Apfel remains an enduring symbol of fearless individuality and the transformative power of personal style.

Iris Apfel has been mentioned or featured in various books, films, documentaries, and websites. Some notable mentions include:


      • "Iris" (2014): Directed by Albert Maysles, this documentary offers an intimate look into the life and career of Iris Apfel, showcasing her influence on the fashion world and her unique personal style.


        • "Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel" (2007): Authored by Eric Boman, this book explores Iris Apfel's life, style philosophy, and impact on the fashion industry.

        • "Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon" (2018): Written by Iris Apfel herself, this book delves into her life story, offering insights into her approach to style, design, and individuality.


          • Iris Apfel's official website ( showcases her latest projects, collaborations, and appearances, providing fans with updates on her activities and insights into her world.

          • Numerous fashion blogs, magazines, and online platforms frequently feature articles, interviews, and profiles of Iris Apfel, discussing her influence on fashion and design.

          Films and TV Shows:

            • Iris Apfel has made guest appearances on various television shows, including talk shows and fashion-related programs, where she shares her wisdom and unique perspective on style.

These are just a few examples of where Iris Apfel has been referenced or featured, highlighting her enduring impact on the worlds of fashion, design, and popular culture.