At 94, style icon Iris Apfel has earned the right to be a little weary of it all…
“I mean, this thing that’s in and out and you have to have this and you have to have that, in my view is quite insipid. I like everybody to look well, but I think you can’t put out all these rules and regulations saying, ‘you must do this, you must do that.’ Then everybody looks freaky!”
She made her name as the co-owner of a textile firm, Old World Weavers, which she ran with her husband of 67 years, Carl Apfel, who just passed away last August. In 2005, the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted a retrospective of her clothing called Rara Avis: The Irreverent Iris Apfel. This led to magazine covers (Dazed & Confused, Stylist), ad campaigns (MAC, Kate Spade), and an accessories line with HSN, as well as a documentary called Iris.
Her latest job is the spring ’16 campaign for Blue Illusion, an Australian-based retailer that is in the midst of a big U.S. expansion. Style Caster asked her a few questions and you can’t argue with her… not at 94!
Is there any celebrity whose style you admire today?
How about in the past?
A lot more stylish people in the past. I used to love the way Pauline de Rothschild looked—you probably don’t know who she is—or … she was the Standard Oil heiress [Millicent Rogers]. Very unusual, out-of-the-box women. They always looked marvelous and they were very, very different. There are a lot of people who are very fashionable and very good-looking and look well all the time, but that doesn’t mean they have style. I think style implies originality and thoughtfulness and an expression of one’s self, not just being a fashion plate—which is a very nice thing to be, but that’s not style. I’m not knocking it, understand that.
Why do you think that celebrities don’t have that kind of style today?
Because they haven’t got it! I mean why are some people not beautiful? It’s a matter of something from your inner self. You have to work at it—a lot of people don’t want to spend the time at it and a lot of people, if they worked on it from now until doomsday, couldn’t get it. It’s something inherent, and it’s a matter of attitude, attitude, attitude.
The Oscars are coming up: Is there anything you wish someone would wear on the red carpet?
I don’t like the red carpet because everybody always looks the same. All the beautiful starlets—first of all, they don’t dress themselves; somebody dresses them. So they’re like mannequins. It’s not original. I like people who look original and who express what they are. You see, there’s always trends, trends—it’s a showcase really for designer clothes, that’s what it is.
(Photo, Blue Illusion; via Stylecaster)