Fashion never gets old…
Iris Apfel is one 96-year-old who’s probably cooler than any of us will ever be. She’s a fashion icon who loves clothing, cars, and interior design. Her’s is a life-long story of love and dedication to everything style.
Iris was born in Queens, New York, where she grew up as an only child. Because her mother owned a fashion boutique, she was exposed to clothing and fashion at a very young age. She started exploring her own sense of color, pattern, and texture using scraps of cloth she found at her grandparents’ house. This passion for cloth would last a lifetime.
Early in her career, Iris worked for Women’s Wear Daily, a fashion magazine, as well as for a prominent interior design firm. Her unique sense of style, blending high and low fashion sense, and her witty, vibrant personality helped her become a big player in the worlds of interior design, textiles, and fashion.
In 1950, Iris and her husband started a textile company called Old World Weavers, which they ran until retirement in 1992. During that time, she did work for nine different presidents at the White House, helping her earn the nickname “First Lady of Fabric”. She and her husband also traveled all over the world searching for unique fabrics and new styles.
“I never think about my age. Maybe that’s the ticket. I never think about it. It’s just a passing thought. It’s just a number. I’ve found that work is very healthy for me. I love what I do, and I put my heart and soul into it.” – Iris Apfel
Iris was honored in 2005 with her own exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. More recently, at the age of 90, she developed her own limited-edition cosmetics collection. In 2011, she debuted a line of large, colorful jewelry on the Home Shopping Network titled “Rara Avis”. She even had a documentary about her life, simply called “Iris”, released in 2014, which was nominated for an Emmy in 2017.
Two years ago, at the age of 94, Iris appeared in a commercial for the new Citroën DS 3 car in France and the U.K., and she became the face of Blue Illusion, an Australian fashion brand. She even has a fashion line for Mattel’s famous Barbie dolls releasing in 2018.
Iris isn’t slowing down any time soon, and she embraces getting older, saying:
“I never think about my age. Maybe that’s the ticket. I never think about it. It’s just a passing thought. It’s just a number. I’ve found that work is very healthy for me. I love what I do, and I put my heart and soul into it.”
Her mantra is to think young to stay feeling young, but she also stresses that you shouldn’t pretend you’re younger than you really are. “When you’re older, trying to look years younger is foolish, and you’re not fooling anyone”.
Iris’s is a perfect #BestWithAge story, as her star is burning brighter every year. She’s an inspiring look into how seniors can stay engaged in their passions no matter what their age. Just stay true to yourself, pursue what excites you, and the rest will follow.
Photo Credit: Gabriel de la Chapelle
#BestWithAge A Blog Series About How the Human Spirit Shines Brightest with Time